While on the road over the last month I got a lot of inspiration from this clip of Joe Morello demonstrating a sticking exercise that one dedicated reader of this blog forwarded to me a few weeks ago:
I believe this is from one of Joe's instructional DVDs (which I'm ashamed to admit that I haven't checked out yet!) but it's basically the same thing as this page (from Morello's fine book "Master Studies", just a little bit different):
This is a great exercise to develop fluidity switching between your single, double and paradiddle strokes.
Now I came up with the following while playing my drum pad in the hills of Tuscany: play the same exercise in triplets !
Here's a couple of variations:
1) Variation #1
RLR LRL RLR LRL
RRL LRR LLR RLL
RLR RLR LLR LRR
LRL RLR LRL RLR
LLR RLL RRL LRR
LRL LRL RRL RLL
2) Variation #2 (this one is twice as long and changes up the sticking between the hands a bit)
RLR LRL RLR LRL RLR LRL RLR LRL
RRL LRR LLR RLL RRL LRR LLR RLL
RLR RLR LLR LRR LRL LRL RRL RLL
A couple of things to consider:
- don't be afraid to accent the beginning of each paradiddle, especially the faster you play them
I found it interesting, in that video clip of Morello playing in particular, how he's not afraid to let the single, double and paradiddle strokes sound slightly differently from each other.
- try mixing up the order of each stick grouping
ie. play singles, doubles, paradiddles THEN doubles (and repeat)
Do this with the 4/4 version that Joe plays above as well.
Just remember though, exercises like this aren't music - they are just tools we use to make music. So don't get too caught up in the mechanics of it.
Personally, when I get home and can play my drums again after a long trip, I'm happy to forget about all the chops and drum pad stuff for awhile and practice quarter notes on my ride cymbal !