Drum Exercises: Coordinating Your Non-Dominant Hand and Foot

Any drummer knows that playing drums takes more physical skill and practice than playing any other instrument. That’s because drumming requires you to play two different patterns with your hands and two other patterns with your feet. Thus, one of the most important skills a drummer should develop is hand-foot coordination. Since strengthening your non-dominant hand and foot is more difficult than boosting your dominant hand-foot coordination, completing specific drum exercises that focus on your weak limbs is crucial. To help you with this aspect, the following six tips reveal the best techniques you should use to boost your non-dominant hand-foot synchronization.

1. Hand-Foot Coordination Completing specific exercises that target your non-dominant hand and foot can be quite difficult, especially because they train not only the respective limbs, but also your brain. Forcing your non-dominant hand and foot to perform unfamiliar tasks requires your brain to draw new neural pathways, which rejuvenates the non-dominant brain hemisphere. Although this process typically takes a lot of time, you’ll be able to stimulate the cognitive and creative functions of your brain’s non-dominant hemisphere and boost coordination within several weeks if you complete these exercises every single day.

2. Practice Quarter Notes There are particular drum exercises, tips and techniques you may choose to follow when practicing the drums. For instance, you can start practicing quarter notes, which divide the full notes into four parts, with your non-dominant foot. To get the best out of this technique, you should keep the rhythm for eight counts at once. It’s advisable to incorporate the stick of your non-dominant hand occasionally. If you lose your rhythm, exclude your non-dominant hand and continue practicing quarter notes with your non-dominant foot.

3. Practice Eighth Notes Another thing you can do is to add in eighth notes with your other foot. As their name suggests, eighth notes break full notes into eight parts. If you can’t use your non-dominant foot and hand properly after introducing your dominant foot, you should stop training your dominant foot and reintroduce it only when you’re ready.

4. Practice Sixteenth Notes After you’re able to play quarter notes and eighth notes with your feet properly, you should introduce your dominant hand and play sixteenth notes with it. As soon as you master this technique, you can also introduce your non-dominant hand. This exercise is commonly referred to as four-way coordination.

5. Correct Problems Whenever you run into problems while doing the aforementioned drum exercises, you should stop and start practicing each sequence repeatedly until it becomes natural. Only then, you’re ready to move to the next level. Some of the best sequences you can exercise include playing left-hand parts only, left-foot parts only, and left-hand and left-foot parts together. By introducing the right hand and right foot alternately, you’ll learn to play all four parts together.

6. Gain More Interdependence A great tip to develop even more interdependence is to play the first round with your non-dominant hand and foot, the second round with your feet, the third round with

your hands, and the last round with your hands and feet together. Try to repeat this exercise a few times a day, and the coordination between your non-dominant and dominant hands and feet will improve seriously within one month. One more exercise you can use to boost your non-dominant hand-foot synchronization is to repeat the right hand/left hand/bass drum scheme in sets of four, with your non-dominant foot keeping the time on two and four.

Improving your non-dominant hand-foot control and coordination is important if you want to play the drums like a pro. The aforementioned drum exercises can help you develop the skills you need to play the drums perfectly, but you should keep in mind that the best way to approach your synchronization issues is to break them down into small areas and work on them separately. This will help you find the most appropriate solutions for the non-dominant hand-foot coordination problems you have.



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