Strictly Technique

1,000 Ways to Practice a Single Page

Part 1: Introducing the Method

by Libor Hadrava

I’ve always wanted a system for practicing different subjects that I can take with me anywhere without having to lug around a heavy stack of books. My students often forgot materials for their lessons, so we ended up using any written rhythms that I could find to work from. I applied the rhythms to whatever that particular student was supposed to practice, and it didn’t take long to realize that concepts such as snare or bass drum technique, rudiments, independence, counting, odd time signatures, phrasing, and more could be practiced from just one page. I started collecting these applications, and I now have more than one thousand different ways to practice a single sheet of music. In this lesson I’ll share some of my ideas, variations, and approaches. Let’s take a look at the page of rhythm we’ll be using.

Let’s start on a snare drum or practice pad. We’ll play straight 16th notes while reading the rhythm from the page as accents. As we read through the figures, we’ll accent the corresponding notes inside the flow of 16th notes. Here’s the rhythm we’ll use.

And here’s how to apply the figures to 16th notes.

Now let’s try altering the sticking. Practicing these exercises might trigger many new musical ideas. Although there are several options, we’ll start by reading the rhythms with double strokes.

Next let’s try using paradiddles.

Once you’re comfortable with these stickings, try moving the accents to the toms while leaving unaccented notes on the snare drum. Have fun!


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 liborhadrava.com.