Monday, July 2, 2012

Drill: 23468

Subdivision of the beat is something a lot of percussionists use, as well as musicians in general.  Most taiko players can do this at least in the simplest of ways, but it's taking that skill to the next level (and next, and next) that can be challenging.

Simply put, subdividing the beat means for each downbeat, you divide the time into equal segments.  The easiest - and most common - divisions are 2, 3, 4, 6, and 8.  ...which is the name of this drill!  5 and 7 are often unintuitive and definitely advanced, but great for practice down the road.

Using the "23468" idea, I have 5 different videos with drills that you can practice.  Ready?

Drill One is the starting drill, playing each number four times.  2222, 3333, 4444, 6666, 8888.  I hit the larger pad on the beginning of each number for clarity, but you can keep all the notes in the same place if you only have one surface or it's easier:

Drill Two is a variation on Drill One.  If you double-time drill One, it would go something like 4 4 4 4, 6 6 6 6, 8 8 8 8, 12 12 12 12, 16 16 16 16.  Drill Two is simply playing Drill One then going immediately double-time afterwards.:

Drill Three is just 22334466, but started at the double time speed above.  This just shows that you can modify where you start and where you end as you raise or lower the tempo:

Drill Four is good for hand balance.  Playing 2346, you'll switch the downbeat hand from right to left each runthrough.  Start slow at first until you get used to where the downbeat switches to.  I'm playing the downbeat on the second pad to give you an idea of what I mean:

And finally, Drill Five shows you how to mix up the patterns to keep your brain alert.  Here I'm playing 6 6 2 2 8 8 3 3 3 3 4 4, which I chose at random:

So there you have it, a drill that you can use however you want to work on subdivision.  You can use multiple drums/surfaces, you can go for speed, you can add other numbers if you feel comfortable.  As with all my drills, if you want to take this back to your group, all I ask is for acknowledgment.  Aside from that, I hope it helps!

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