Peter Erskine: Triplet Exercises For The Hi-Hat

Peter Erskine’s Hat Trips

Here are some triplet-based exercises focusing on the hi-hat. Some of these examples play easily, while others are a little trickier. You’ll get the most out of these exercises by varying the tempo. I recommend students maintain a practice journal, keeping track of tempos played and how well or how poorly a particular tempo feels. Do this both with and without a metronome. Meanwhile, you should vary the dynamics of the different voices – this brings the notes to life and turns an exercise into music. That said, I’m not certain you’ll have the opportunity to incorporate most of these examples into your day-to-day playing. For more musical approach to these, you can turn to John Riley’s Beyond Bop Drumming. However, the following exercises should prepare you for any triplet-based independence involving the feet.

Ex. 7—10 explore the swoosh sound of the hi-hat cymbals when they’re brought together and then splashed apart like a pair of concert cymbals. Don’t forget to let them ring! Experiment with this and practice slowly. Once you’re comfortable with this technique, try the triplet exercises. If you’re not seated well, you’ll experience balance problems. Remember, the drum throne is the center and your four limbs should be able to move freely, at your command. Feel free to work on any exercise minus the ride cymbal. Ultimately, though, the point is to be able to play the ride along with all of this other stuff and make it swing.