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Secret to Four-Way Coordination: Part 2

Many drummers find four-way coordination difficult. In the first part of this article, we practiced a four-way coordination exercise for the drums. If you're having problems playing it, or with any other four-way coordination pattern, here's the secret to breaking it down into more easily digestible steps. (If you missed the first article, or would like to refresh your memory, see the Secret to Four-Way Coordination in the sidebar. I'll wait.)

Ready? Good. It's time to reveal the secret to four-way coordination.

The 15 Steps
Whenever you run into problems with four-way coordination, apply the 15 steps that follow and you'll eventually be able to play anything:

15 Steps

  1.  RH
  2.  LH
  3.  RF
  4.  LF
  5.  RH & LH
  6.  RH & RF
  7.  RH & LF
  8.  LH & RF
  9.  LH & LF
  10. RF & LF
  11. RH & LH & RF
  12. RH & LH & LF
  13. RH & RF & LF
  14. LH & RF & LF
  15. RH & LH & RF & LF

If you haven't already guessed, the key to the 15 steps is as follows:

RH = Right Hand
LH = Left Hand
RF = Right Foot
LF = Left Foot

Applying The 15 Steps
As an example, we'll apply the 15 steps to the basic coordination exercise from part 1 of this article. To review, your right foot had to play all quarter notes while your left foot played eighth notes while your left hand played eighth note triplets while your right hand played all sixteenth notes. Here's you would apply the 15 steps:

  1.  Practice playing the Right Hand part only  (all sixteenth notes)
  2.  Practice playing the Left Hand part only  (all eighth note triplets)
  3.  Practice playing the Right Foot part only  (all quarter notes)
  4.  Practice playing the Left Foot part only  (all eighth notes)
  5.  Practice playing the Right Hand and Left  Hand parts together
  6.  Practice playing the Right Hand and Right  Foot parts together
  7.  Practice playing the Right Hand and Left  Foot parts together
  8.  Practice playing the Left Hand and Right  Foot parts together
  9.  Practice playing the Left Hand and Left  Foot parts together
  10. Practice playing the Right Foot and Left  Foot parts together
  11. Practice playing the Right Hand, Left  Hand, and Right Foot parts together
  12. Practice playing the Right Hand, Left  Hand, and Left Foot parts together
  13. Practice playing the Right Hand, Right  Foot, and Left Foot parts together
  14. Practice playing the Left Hand, Right  Foot, and Left Foot parts together
  15. You should now be able to play all four  parts together.

For the 15 step table to be effective, you need to practice each step repeatedly until it becomes easy. Only then should you move on to the next step. By practicing each part using all 15 combinations, you should have little difficulty conquering any four-way coordination pattern on the drums.

Try applying the 15 Steps to the next pattern that gives you trouble and you'll see how effective it really is.

Three books I highly recommend for further study of coordination are Jim Chapin's Advanced Techniques for the Modern Drummer, Marvin Dalgren's 4-Way Coordination, and Marco Minnemann's Extreme Interdependence.

Until next time: Stay loose.

Tiger Bill Meligari

Click the link for Secret to Four-Way Coordination: Part 1



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Secret to Four-Way Coordination: Part 1
Advanced Techniques for the Modern Drummer Book & CD
Extreme Interdependence Book
4-Way Coordination Book
Four-Way Coordination Made Easy
Four-Way Jazz Chops: Lesson 1
Four-Way Jazz Chops: Lesson 2
Four-Way Rock Chops: Lesson 1
Four-Way Rock Chops: Lesson 2
Tiger Reading 101
Tiger Reading 102
Tiger Reading 103

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