Coordination is basically about two things, smoothness and alignment. Smoothness, meaning being capable of playing series of notes in a very relaxed, accurate and flowing manner. Alignment, which essentially means avoiding unwanted flams: anytime two or more notes are executed simultaneously, they perfectly line up.
These are the fundamentals upon which to build everything else, since we play drums with all four limbs, unlike what happens with most musical instruments.
We won’t be able to groove if we have troubles in this area of drum technique.
Coordination between the four limbs can happen in two modes: linear and unison. These two modalities are directly related to the skills we mentioned above, so that’’s what we want to develop.
In order to help you do this I decided to put together a mini course, easy to follow, quick to practice and effective in boosting your coordination skills.
Click here to download it now:
And here is the YouTube video. We are going to focus on four studies, each of which improves a specific aspect of this subject. The first two are mainly linear studies while the other two cases are unison workouts.
1- Coordination Cells. We can work on any combination of notes between hands and feet. Here we have two common examples: the first one is made of two notes played with the hands and two with the Bass Drum, while in the second one we find four notes with the hands and two with the right foot.
We are going to study these cells with one of the most powerful techniques we can apply to any exercise: using different subdivisions. Specifically we are going to go over a rhythmic progression, playing the same cell through 8th notes, triplets, 16ths, and sextuplets. You can start without the left foot and add it later on.
2- Power Groupings. In these examples we take linear groupings to the next level, combining them in more advanced ways which will also help us develop our Bass Drum technique.
3- 4 Limbs Unisons. This looks like a really dumb exercise. Until you try to play it ;). I was shocked the first time I recorded myself playing simple unisons between all limbs. Try not to flam this one!
4- Groove Alignments. This last study focuses on perfecting our hand/foot alignment, in a groove context. If we can stay centered while playing these examples, our beats will quickly get a lot more solid and strong.
I love shortcuts, and I always try to find ways to distill the best workouts for each topic I cover, following the famous 80/20 principle.
These are definitely among the 20 percent of practices that will give you 80 percent of the results as far as coordination goes.
They are quite challenging to play well, but the payoff is that you will instantly be more balanced, accurate and relaxed in your playing. As a result your grooves will sound effortless and your time feel will become a lot smoother.
As usual, try all dynamics, from very soft to very loud, and switch between heel up and down as necessary. Be patient, and have fun!
If you want to go deeper and master coordination and independence I have created a whole 140 page method dedicated just to this important area of drumming. It includes hundreds of exercises like these and more than 3 hours of accompanying videos.
Learn more by clicking here: