Total Drum Set Independence, Pt. 5

In our previous lesson we added eighth-note triplets with our feet to our established snare drum patterns while counting in seven sixteenth-notes.

There are many more ways to practice this approach, but I believe it’s time to look at independence from a slightly different angle.

Now we’ll begin to assign one of our snare drum patterns to our feet while playing the rest of them in time with our hands. We will also, for the first time, take our snare drum patterns and split them between two different sound sources.

In this video lesson I play each pattern on the snare drum and then divide it between my floor tom and snare drum while playing paradiddles (RLRR LRLL) with my feet. I use two hi-hats so that you can really hear the difference between the hands and feet.

It will take some time to go over all possible combinations in this new approach. To succeed and take your independence to another level play through all patterns without skipping any combinations. Failure to do so will eventually catch up with you.

Start with a RLRL pattern with your feet and practice all snare drum pattern combinations on top. Keep both hands on the snare drum at first before splitting your pattern between two sound sources – it’s a lot harder than it might seem at first. Playing a steady flow of sixteenth-notes on one sound source (the same sound characteristics regardless of pattern) will help our ears understand the different patterns. Once you split your pattern to different sound sources (different sound characteristics) that luxury is gone – it is just up to your muscle memory at that point.

Start by playing each pattern with your feet over and over again to develop muscle memory for each individual one. Once you’re comfortable, start playing each pattern on top with your hands. Spend a lot of time playing each snare drum pattern just on snare drum.

In this lesson, more than ever before, you will experience overlapping patterns, where your hands match your feet, and vice versa. Muscle memory is far more powerful than following occasional subsystems you might find in each combination of patterns.

My “Developing Absolute Independence” system is designed to work at all times regardless of patterns or logical groupings. Remember all exercises have to be in relationship to time, “the master code,” not to each other.

Since we have a new approach to independence in this lesson, we may as well add several new patterns.

Snare Drum/Feet Patterns
RLRL*
LRLR
RRLL*
LLRR
RLRR LRLL*
Bonus pattern page #5 (fifth through eighth exercise out of Stick Control book)
(RLRR LRLL RLLR LRRL RRLR LLRL RLRL LRLR)*
RLRLRR LRLRLL*
RLRRLL*
LRLLRR
RRRRLLLL
RRR LLL*

Extra combinations used at the end of the video
RLR*
RLRLR*
RLRLRLR*

[*] = Patterns used in the video, but practice all of them regardless of how similar they seem to you.

Repetition is the key to great success, therefore I will remind you that all layers of our independence exercises must be in relationship to time, “the master code,” not to each other. Only then will they come out truly independent of each other.

Please spend a lot of time on these exercises. Once you are very comfortable (then and only then) you might try to experiment with some embellishments to patterns or systems. For example, I splashed every ah out of my paradiddle in my feet but the possibilities are endless. Have fun.

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