This exercise works on the timing, accuracy and consistant motions of moving from alternating 16ths (the “check pattern”) into isolated hands. Practice this exercise in a “4-2-1” framework: First 4 counts per pattern, then 2 counts per pattern, then 1.

Here are a few suggestions to keep in mind:

  • Start at a slow tempo, playing relaxed rebound strokes at a full 12″ height. Practice with the play-along videos or tracks to help you to develop consistency of tempo.
  • When moving from the check pattern to the isolated hand patterns, strive to keep a consistent motion, velocity and sound out of the drum.
  • Marking time while playing the left hand syncopated rhythms are difficult, especially in the 4 count framework. If this is the case, start with the 1 count framework first and practice with a metronome until you can “play your feet” exactly in tempo (especially on the isolated left hand syncopation).  After you’ve achieved a consistent motion of the hands with the feet staying in time, move to the 2 count framework, then finally to the 4’s.
  • Cymbals: Use this exercise to establish the proper playing positions of Tap, Port and Flat, finishing off with the Dampening position. Move smoothly between each position and concentrate on holding the cymbals steady during the full 16 counts.

Including Full Battery Percussion Score and Part Booklet

Alternate Exercise for Bass Drums

• Work with a metronome to ensure a steady tempo, especially when playing along with snare and tenor syncopated rhythms.  Focus on the tempo control and clarity in the bass drum part and let the snares and tenors place their rhythms to the 16th note bass in your part.

• Listen for evenness of volume and sound quality from hand to hand. In measures with unison 16ths, make sure the left hand is not softer than the right hand.


For nearly 60 years, we at the Vic Firth Company have focused on developing and manufacturing what has become the world’s most popular drumsticks, mallets, alternative implements, and accessories… with the best durability, feel, and sound options, across the widest variety of genres and styles.

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