Need help with independence


Well-known member
using page 1 of Stone Stick Control:

play all the patterns with your hands, and with your feet doing 1 and 3 on the bass, and 2 and 4 on the hat
play all the patterns with your hands, and with your feet doing 1 and 3 on the hat , and 2 and 4 on the bass

play all the patterns with your hands, and with your right foot doing 4 measures on beat one, then 4 measures on the "and" of 1, then 4 measures on beat 2 etc..down the measure
do the above with your left foot moving down the beats

play all of the Stone patterns with your feet - a la double bass - and alter the hands like the feet from the suggestions above

play Stone Pattern #1 with your hands AND feet togeher
play Stone Pattern #2 with your hands, and keep the feet on Stone 1
play Stone Pattern 3 with your hands, and keep your feet on Stone 1
play Stone Pattern 4 with your hands and keep your feet on Stone 1
**do this with all of the Patterns...and then move to Stone 2 in your feet, and repeat

Stone is so versatile


Well-known member
Im looking to play patterns freely without physical restraints or locking into my right foot or right hand, when I don’t want to.
Ok, I think I get it. You are right handed/footed and want to be ambidextrous or at least not feel like your left limbs are holding you back. That can be achieved on the drums with enough practice time which will be different for everyone.
After playing for over 40 years I’ve found in mid life that the mind is the best place to start. When I was younger I tried for many years to do triplets with the bass and toms but didn’t have the patience to really achieve a smooth sound. Fast forward 25 years of essentially no playing until very recently. My more mature self can now play those triplets with ease and almost without thinking because I simply took the time to dedicate to slowly build the simple (yet difficult) ability to do that very well.

Decide what specific thing you want to conquer/achieve (such as a difficult fill or pattern) and determine in your mind to practice it until it’s mastered. Set specific goals and limit the number so that you can really gauge your improvements. Start slowly and increase the speed as your ability improves. Then do not relent until it becomes rote.
Your post (just asking the question) indicates that you have the drive and will do fabulously.


Junior Member
I have to say that while I'm no expert in independence, the one thing that has helped me the most with my own independence has been learning jazz. I wish I had been more diligent about practicing when I was younger and taking jazz drum lessons because i'd be so much better. When you listen to people like Elvin Jones and Tony Williams and make an attempt to emulate them and do what they do some of "them" wears off on you. That's all I got.


Using the exercises in Ted Reeds Syncopation (ala page 37), these can be real brain twisters, at least for me they are...

Play paradiddles in an 8th note rate, play quarters with the hihat foot and read the pages with the bass drum. Then practice the same thing with the three remaining paradiddle inversions. Play the hands on different sound sources or both just the snare, up to you.
  1. Standard [RLRR LRLL]
  2. Inward [RLLR LRRL]
  3. Reverse [RRLR LLRL]
  4. Outward [RLRL LRLR]

Then do it all over again, but this time play the paradiddles at a 16th note rate while reading the 8th note exercises. Then do it all over with the right foot playing quarters and the left foot reading.

Then play the paradiddles with your feet at an 8th note rate, play quarters with the left hand and read the exercises with the right hand. Then switch the hands so the right plays quarters and the left reads the lines.

The thing to get from this, in my opinion, is...the Syncopation book is like a 10 dollar book, but with a bit of imagination the possibilities are most likely endless for you to come up with different ways to challenge your independence. And what's even do not need to sit at your drums to practice this stuff, you can do it anytime, anywhere, just tapping your feet and slapping your knees...all that for 10 bucks.

I wouldn't exactly recommend this if you're focusing on a particular style, not all of it is "musically" useful, but it'll certainly help your independence and if you've got the time, why not...

Odd-Arne Oseberg

Platinum Member
Still very hard to know where you're at.

There are seveal ways to work on independence. At some point there will be some overlap.

One is to start with basoic groove indenpendence which would be to learn ro play the most common bass drum rhtythms along with the most common hand ostinatos. You want to make a useful and musical exercise out of this so practice like ou would a typical groove-fill exercise where you play 3 bars fill on bar 4 and learn to chnage seamlessly to a new ostinato or BD rhythm after the fill.Eventually move o to a reading page of the same difficulty and then you step by step start using all 4 limbs and do the independant rhythms on each limb.

Another one you'd start with keeping a foot ostinato and work step by step towards playing, reading and improvising with your hands on top.

Each of the methods are copletely open ended, bt this is thew place to start and what will be most useful in most normal musical situations.

I take a long time taking students through stuff like this and we're never really done. There's no way to explain the full process in a few paragraphs in a forum.


Junior Member
1607605834829.png If you can go through this (multilingual) method, over time and excruciating efforts independence will be for you a long forgotten hurdle. (which is not at all my case I need to say)


Active member
Pick a two beat pattern, something as simple as two quarter notes. Of course you can play them with any limb by itself or alternating between hands, then alternating between feet, then combining them. Practicing right hand, right foot alternating, then left side, then left hand right foot, then left hand with the feet alternating (Lh, Lf, Lh, Rf) etc. Yes, you will then build speed on these. Now for the start of the 4 way stuff. Play the quarter notes in one hand, the other hand doing an ostinato on the HiHat (closed), and then the feet doing the 16ths between the quarter notes (playing the rests).
This is a good start. PM me if you want more.
There are so many things you can do to practice independence on the drum set. Get creative with the ways you can practice off the drum set as well.

When you're on a walk convince yourself that with each step you hit a pedal. Your right footed bass drum plays on 1 & 3, your hi-hat left foot on 2 & 4 (where a backbeat would typically be placed). Practice hand patterns, rudiments, syncopations, polyrhythms, etc. on top of that by tapping on your thighs. When it comes to independence, I think it's more about the practice of firing nerves in your limbs than actual stick and pedal technique.

On the drumset, take any 3 or 4 limb coordination challenge and break it into smaller pieces. Practice all the combinations of two limbs together before trying to incorporate a 3rd. Then practice all 3 limb combinations before SLOWLY trying to attempt the 4 limb set.

Mix with 40 mL of discipline and let simmer for 1-70 years.

Push pull stroke

Platinum Member
I find that one of the best tests to see if I really have a beat mastered is to see if I can play it lefty, right, open-handed, closed-handed, and singing along while I’m doing each of those. I like to sing James Brown’s vocals from the “Funky Drummer” while I play the actual funky drummer beat.


Platinum Member
It helps to think of it as coordination, not independence. Your limbs don't move independently as long as they're only attached to one brain.

Look at the pattern you're trying to play, figure out the rhythm for all the parts put together, and then figure out the four-way sticking for it in single limbs and unisons-- right hand, left hand, both hands, right foot, RH/RF, both feet, etc. Then practice the sticking sequence in rhythm.

If you need stuff to practice, I've posted a lot of things on my site.


Well-known member
I like to use this book occasionally. You have some jazz bass drum exercises, snare and bass drum exercises, tom exercises, all easy to read while playing a jazz ride pattern and hi hat on 2 and 4.

6$ for 44 pages.



Platinum Member
That's a good book, but you can play the same exercises just reading from Syncopation, once you know how to do them-- that's usually how they're done.


Senior Member
When you're on a walk convince yourself that with each step you hit a pedal. Your right footed bass drum plays on 1 & 3, your hi-hat left foot on 2 & 4 (where a backbeat would typically be placed).
I've married the left turn signal on more than one occasion, blocking the turn lane with a string of cars honking their horns behind me.

That said, I'll add that in addition to the patterns and coordination mention elsewhere, the next thing is constructive application to the time continuum. And you don't get that, in my opinion, unless you get a lot of practice reading rhythms on the musical staff.

And if you're wanting to play for a living, you should probably start with the common styles in western music - jazz, blues, rock, latin, country. Learn the ostinatos within those styles - buy all the books within those idioms - and apply all the patterns mentioned above to obtain "independence", which is really coordination as Todd describes.