How Can I Apply These Books to the Kit?


Senior Member
Stick Control, Syncopation and Four Way Coordination

So I am looking for ways to apply these books to the kit. I've been focusing pad time on Stick Control and Syncopation but when it comes time to triplets(especially), I feel like I am lacking the groove completely. They turn into uneven spaced notes and do not flow as they should.

So I am thinking a good solution to this and a way to improve overall- is to bring these concepts to the kit.

But I am at a bit of a loss as to how to go about this, especially in a solid way for a beginner.

Would it be effective to play 8th notes with my left foot on the hi-hat, keeping time. Setting up beat one with my bass and playing the books instructions as 8th notes?

Forgive my inexperienced way of breaking this down, I do understand the basic concept of sub-division, but have little practical knowledge of application.

Thanks for Any Suggestions!


If you're having trouble making triplets in particular flow there are various ways to make it happen. The best I've found is to actually count them to yourself:

'One trip-let, two trip-let, three trip-let...' etc. This works best with a steady pulse against you, so a metronome whilst playing crotchets (8ths) on the hats would be a good way to start.

Verbalising the concepts is often a good way to make it work. For quintuplets, I say 'University' to myself against the hi-hat and that works. You can expand that too, for instance 'University Challenge' for septuplets and 'University Challenge Paxman' for nontuplets (others that aren't British might not quite understand that one!).

In terms of applying stick control, a commonly cited method is to try and replace the hands with feet or different voices. E.g. the right hand on a small tom and the left on a snare and then playing the patterns. Or playing a steady pulse on the hi hat whilst doing the exercises. Or even substituting one hand for the hi hat and playing a steady pulse with the missing hand. It just takes a little imagination. Once you find yourself doing this your vocabulary will increase very quickly.


Senior Member
Thank you for your reply Mediocre

I will try your tips on the kit tomorrow for sure!

As far as counting triplets, I have used the technique of "singing" the counts, ie "one-trip-let, two" et cetera I just apparently have not been able to get the feel down yet. Still feels like regular quarter notes.

Anyhow, I'll keep at it, thank you for your input.

Max Mentzer

Junior Member
get a metronome that can count triplet subdivisions. I use tempo advanced from frozen ape its an ipod app thats cheap and one of the best metronomes ive found...

on another note if your looking for ways to apply those books to the kit buy the drummers complete vocabulary as taught by alan dawson that book has an extensive amount of material for syncopation, rudimental ritual, you know huge berklee stuff. also use stick control by adding foot astinatos to the exercises.


Senior Member
Thanks for the reply Max, I appreciate the book suggestion.

As far as metronome that counts triplets, I have one that does this and I do use it. However, I feel I lose my concept of feel when I'm using the triplet counts.

But as I type this, I realize I could probably make better use of keeping time with my foot while I play the triplets via the metronome.

Thanks for all the help guys


Platinum Member
Check out the thread in this same section about Syncopation, there's a bunch of cool ways to interpret it around the kit. The basic concept is to play some ostinato or style with your limbs and play the exercises over that. For example you could play a bossa nova or the jazz ride pattern, or simply start with the basic rock groove, 8th notes on the cymbal, quarter notes on the hihat and you play the short notes on the snare and long notes on the bass drum.

This exercise helps with reading, creativity and coordination all in one.

PS- Short notes are 8th notes and long notes are everything else, quarter notes, dotted 8ths, ect.


Senior Member
I'm sure this is just one of those things that I need to iron out of my muscle memory.

But I am having a really tough time playing straight 8's on one voice and playing triplets over that. Whether its 8th notes with my foot, head or hand, I cannot lead with triplets over this.

Does anyone have any good ways of practicing this?

At the moment, I just have my metronome set to 50, 8th's - I've tried keeping steady on this straight 8 pattern with both my foot and off hand, all while playing triplets and as soon as I start in on the trips my offhand/foot follows and looses the 8th notes.

Again, I'm sure I just need to keep working at this and its probably one of those "how do I separate my right hand from foot?" concepts but I figured I'd check out if anyone had any good ways of learning to dissolve this dependence.