Mike Cosgrove writes, records, and tours both with Alien Ant Farm and independently. He gives drum lessons in Southern California and loves his cocoa pebbles.
In this lesson, we are going to develop what some drummers call the “windmill” stroke – so named because of the way your arms look when you’re shredding around the toms or moving from your toms to your snare.
Exs. 1-–4 whip your hands into shape by mixing together sixteenth- and thirty-second-notes. Practice each one at a moderately slow tempo, approximately 90 bpms. Get comfortable with this stroke on the snare, and it shouldn’t require too much energy to execute on your toms.
For a super-heavy-sounding windmill, try replacing one sixteenth-note on the toms with your bass drum (Exs. 5–8). Once you become relaxed and confident, play through all eight exercises without stopping, and be sure to keep time by playing quarter-notes on your hi-hat. Then mix them up as you wish!