The jazz drum set students at the University Of North Florida are constantly trying to find practice exercises that not only develop jazz coordination, but also can be used musically. These triplet exercises are pretty basic, but the coordination that can be developed through consistent and musical practice is useful in many jazz applications. Each exercise can start with two measures of time.
Ex. 1 is my favorite cymbal-development pattern, which basically fills in the full triplet. I normally have beginners play only this for a week! Ex. 2 moves the fill-ins to the bass drum. Ex. 3 moves the fills between the bass drum and snare. Ex. 4 places the snare on the last two beats of each triplet (à la Tony Williams). Ex. 5 moves the pattern to the bass drum. Ex. 6 makes the triplets single strokes between the bass drum and snare. Ex. 7 substitutes the hi-hat for the bass drum. Please experiment with your own variations, with the guidelines being to play musically and to make the rhythms really swing.
DANNY GOTTLIEB has played with Pat Metheny, John McLaughlin, the NDR Big Band, and is currently a member of Gary Sinise’s Lt Dan Band (ltdanband.com). He is an associate professor of jazz studies at the University Of North Florida. dannygottlieb.org