Jazz Drummer’s Workshop

Rhythmic Conversions

Part 2: Getting Creative Around the Kit

by Steve Fidyk

In this lesson, we’ll focus on variations of the converted triplet phrases from Part 1 [May 2016]. When practicing new material, I find it beneficial to explore as many different combinations as possible. By doing so, I’m more apt to apply this information in the real world outside of the practice room. 


In the following variations, we’ll build off of the first exercise in Part 1. Once you have control of each variation, I encourage you to apply them to the additional two-measure phrases that we previously covered.

When we converted Example 1 from Part 1 to triplets, we ended up with a two-measure phrase with accents that outline a half-note triplet.

Rhythmic Conversions 1

This variation for movement around the drums places the accents on the toms and the unaccented 8th-note triplets on the snare.

Rhythmic Conversions 2

Once that is under control, try placing the accents on the snare and the unaccented 8th-note triplets on the toms.

Rhythmic Conversions 3

Now try using a double-stroke-roll sticking. This helps alter the phrasing and feel without changing the rhythmic content.

Rhythmic Conversions 4

For coordination practice, alternate the accented 8th notes between the hi-hat and bass drum as you voice your left hand around the drumset.

Rhythmic Conversions 5

For other variations, you can use bass drum substitutions. Try moving each accent to the bass drum as you move the unaccented 8th notes around the kit.

Rhythmic Conversions 6

Next, try playing the hi-hat in tandem with the bass drum.

Rhythmic Conversions 7

As you did with the material from Part 1, try applying these ideas to other accented-8th-note reading material. I also encourage you to write your own two-measure patterns, convert them to triplets, and get creative moving them around the drumset. Next time we’ll use the half-note triplet as a device to superimpose a new tempo over the existing pulse.

Steve Fidyk has performed with Terell Stafford, Tim Warfield, Dick Oatts, Doc Severinsen, Wayne Bergeron, Phil Wilson, and Maureen McGovern, and he’s a member of the jazz studies faculty at Temple University in Philadelphia. For more info, including how to sign up for lessons via Skype, visit stevefidyk.com.