Strictly Technique

1,000 Ways to Practice a Single Page

Part 2: More Rhythmic Interpretations

by Libor Hadrava

In Part 1 of this series, we began exploring different approaches to utilize and practice a single page of rhythm. We started on the snare with 16th-note subdivisions while accenting the rhythms on the page. In this lesson we’ll take the same approach and apply it to the drumset. Here’s the rhythm we’ll be using.

In Part 1 we read this phrase by playing constant 16th notes while accenting the written rhythm. By simply moving the accented notes to the toms and keeping the rest of the 16th notes on the snare, we can create a musical variation with a natural flow and feel. Try playing every right-hand accent on the floor tom and every left-hand accent on the rack tom.

Once that’s comfortable, improvise with different tom placements, even if it means crossing your hands.

Now we’ll make the accented tom notes sound a bit fatter by playing them together with the snare. Each right-hand tom accent will also get a left-hand snare hit, and every left-hand tom accent will get a right-hand snare hit in unison.

Now move all of the right-hand accents to the ride and all of the left-hand accents to the closed hi-hat. This creates a smooth flow of 16th notes on the snare with an accented cymbal melody.

Once you’re comfortable with Exercise 4, experiment with your own accented cymbal combinations.

Next we’ll emphasize each cymbal or hi-hat accent with a bass drum hit to make it sound a bit more colorful.

Try playing all of the accents on an open hi-hat together with the bass drum. You can close the hi-hats on the following 16th or 32nd note.

Finally, try orchestrating the unaccented 16th notes around the drumset. Play them on the snare on beat 1, then move to the rack tom on beat 2, the second rack tom on beat 3, and the floor tom on beat 4.

Libor Hadrava is the author of the book In-Depth Rhythm Studies: Advanced Metronome Functions. He also plays with Boston metal band Nascent and is an endorsing artist for Evans, Vater, Dream, Pearl, and Ultimate Ears. For more info, visit