“Repetition is the mother of learning” therefore yet again, I still don’t think we, as drummers, take practicing our feet as seriously as we should.
I hope you’ve had enough time to practice all the exercises from Part 1 and Part 2. This is the third time we are getting together to tackle the uneasy task of making our feet a second pair of hands.
Last two times we were focusing on developing doubles with each foot individually and in the second part we started using both. Now it is time to make our feet that much more comfortable playing double stroke rolls.
Playing doubles with your feet is just like pedaling a bike; it gets easier once you get started. Sustaining the pedaling motion, whether it’s on the bike or on the double bass pedal, is physically much easier then suddenly stopping and starting immediately after so that you can stop and start again with the other foot leading, am I right? I thought so, and that’s why we will do just that.
But what exercise has that? Look no further than the 40 Essential Snare Drum Rudiments’ double stroke open rolls rudiments.
I always try to practice rudiments so I can combine L and R foot lead into one exercise, as apposed to starting the second exercise with L, because let’s be honest—we never make it that far, right?
As I demonstrate in the video, I am practicing each double stroke roll rudiment in two tempos and switching leads when possible without disturbing the natural flow too much. In some cases I am also shortening the accented note at the end of the roll to restore the sense of continuity.
Just like when you were learning doubles with your hands on the snare drum, it is very important to practice all of these exercises very slowly at first to expose your muscles to the right motion and technique. Create good muscle memory to use later at faster tempos, or when creating multilayered composition when independence plays an important role. Bad habit, unfortunately, is also a muscle memory “gone wrong.”
Remember this still is just the beginning. Spending a lot of time exposing your muscle to these motion patterns is a must and mastering today’s lesson will be much needed in Part IV. Do not underestimate any of these steps. We are building the foundation that we will rely on next time and the time after. Have fun!
Libor Hadrava is an author, educator and professional musician based in Burlington, USA, Find him online here.