Strictly Technique

1,000 Ways to Practice a Single Page

Part 3: Incorporating Flams

by Libor Hadrava

Last month we applied a set of written rhythms to the drumset by accenting the figures within continual 16th notes and experimenting with different stickings. This month we’ll stick to the snare and work with flams. Here’s the rhythm.

Let’s start by focusing on each right- and left-hand flam individually in order to develop precise execution before using both of them in an exercise. Play constant 16th notes with your left hand while playing right-hand flams on each corresponding note from the rhythm in Exercise 1.

In order for the sound quality and execution of each flam to be identical regardless of where it occurs in the measure, I suggest playing the low left-hand strokes soft to moderately loud and the right-handed flams loud to very loud. Practice the following exercise with a right- and left-hand lead.

We often alternate flams in an actual musical context. Let’s practice alternating the lead hand each measure to focus on the change in stick heights.

Now try switching between a right- and left-hand lead on every beat.

Be sure to start these exercises with the opposite hand in order to practice the different flam groupings and combinations of the original rhythm. Now we’ll apply different 16th-note stickings to the flam pattern. The following exercise utilizes alternating, doubled, and paradiddle stickings.

Here’s one of my favorite flam warm-ups that should be used specifically to work on stick heights, especially at faster tempos. Practice slowly at first in order to correctly program your muscle memory. And be sure to practice each sticking as a separate exercise and as a combined warm-up that alternates between the two stickings on each repeat. 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