Today I wanted to look at mixing up subdivisions. See the drum glossary on the resources page if unsure about the term subdivisions, but basically we’re talking about the different note values that we can use to divide the beats within the bar. Also check out the note values sheet on the same page to see how to count the most common note values. Triplets are not on that sheet but they consist of three equally spaced notes which I’m counting as ‘one’ ‘trip’ ‘let’ –  ‘two’ ‘trip’ ‘let’  –  ‘three’ ‘trip’ ‘let’  –  ‘four’ ‘trip’ ‘let’.

The natural starting point when playing beats and fills is to stay comfortably within the same subdivision, for example playing sixteen sixteenth notes in the bar. But mixing it up between eighth, sixteenth notes and triplets can add an extra dimension to what we play.

In the JPEG I have begun by looking at quarter notes, eighth notes, eighth note triplets and sixteenth notes, all written at the top of the page. We then combine these subdivisions in the following exercises.

You can play these exercises on a snare, a practice pad or even the table right here, right now in front of the computer. You will need a metronome though so if you don’t already have one….BUY ONE! I’m not a metronome salesman but it is an important tool to become a great drummer with great timing. 

Set it quite slow at whatever speed is comfortable such as 60bpm and repeat each exercise several times. Once you have these feeling natural, try moving them around the kit to create fill ideas. Use the snare, toms, bass drum and even cymbals. Get creative.  Then loop them in sequence with a basic drumbeat.