Last month we developed our weaker hand by leading with it in six-note groupings on the drumset. In this lesson we’ll further expand on those exercises by playing odd groupings within sextuplets and 16th notes while leading with our weaker hand.

To broaden the left-hand-lead concept that we worked with last month, try utilizing groupings of five notes. By combining the following orchestrations with other three- and four-note groupings within sextuplets and 16th notes, you’ll have a much larger vocabulary to choose from, and your phrases won’t seem overly planned. Here are a few examples of five-note groupings that we can utilize.

Next let’s apply the third five-note phrase from Exercise 1 within a measure of 16th-note triplets.

Here’s a five-note phrase applied to 16th notes.

We can also combine other groupings within sextuplets. The following pattern demonstrates a sequence of four-, six-, four-, six-, and four-note groupings, in that order, in a 16th-note-triplet subdivision.

Here are a few more ideas that utilize assorted groupings and orchestrations. Keep in mind that these phrases could also be played within a 16th-note subdivision. However, you may have to experiment with sticking substitutions to facilitate exiting the bar.

Playing a sequence of five, four, six, three, and six 16th-note-triplet partials highlights an accented clave pattern in our left hand on the crash cymbal. Exercise 9 demonstrates this phrase with brackets that indicate the groupings, along with a few orchestrations of the pattern.



Albe Bonacci is a Los Angeles–based drummer, educator, and clinician who’s performed with Larry Hart, Desmond Child, Diane Warren, Jack Segal, and Dave Morrison, among others. He’s also performed for television, radio, and film, and is a faculty member at Musicians Institute.