The Rock Drummer Boot Camp

Allright, let’s talk hypotheticals for a minute. Let’s say, hypothetically, that you played drums for quite a while in an uptempo band. And let’s say that the band broke up and you moved to a situation where you couldn’t play the drums at all. NOW, let’s say, hypothetically, that the band was getting back together for one night and you had to get your chops back in short order. What do you do? Well, fear not. This “hypothetical” scenario happened to me and today I’m sharing what I did to get back into playing shape. I call it “The Rock Drummer Boot Camp”.

What’s that? You still can’t play your drums without people being angry? No problem. For this exercise, all you need is a pair of sticks, a metronome, and a practice pad. If you don’t have a practice pad, then find some sort of surface that can act as one (a cushion-y chair works great for this). Once you get that together, we’re ready to go.

First, pick a mid-tempo place to start. I always start at 140 bpm, but you can adjust for your comfort. The sticking pattern is simple – since rock drumming is  almost all single strokes, that’s all we’ll be doing here. First note is played with your dominant hand – R L R L for the righties, L R L R for the lefties. Of course, feel free to switch it up if you want a challenge. Here you go (click to make big):

Rock Drummer Boot Camp

To clarify some notations: Play the first measure four times, then the other measures eight times each (except for measure five – that’s only played once). Don’t stop between measures – just keep moving. After you play the full example, bump up the speed (add 5 bpm or go up to the next “click”, depending on what type of metronome you have) and start over. Stop when either the notes become uneven or sixteenth notes start to go missing.

One final note: While you are playing, make sure your hands are relaxed and your grip is loose. Ideally, you should have as little tension as possible, especially in your hands and wrists. See you next week!

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