Foot Coordination and Control
jazz drumming #idea 42
by Tim Lake
Most jazz drummers don’t play a double bass drum, but that doesn’t mean we should neglect the feet and the ability to use them in a similar way to the hands, far from it.
This is a simple idea for working on some coordination and control between the feet which can be added to your warm-up routine.
This set of exercises isolates the feet by playing through a number of basic “sticking” variations.
The hands keep time playing quarter notes, which actually makes it harder than it seems.
The elements to focus on here are the evenness of sound and spacing of the sixteenths. Make sure that the quarter notes are perfectly in unison between the hands and the feet.
Exercise A uses single strokes. Exercise B uses double strokes. C uses the paradiddle sticking. And then reverse them all, leading with the hi-hat (exercises D - F in the pdf).
Other things you can try with this are placing the hands on a different beat, or playing eighth notes instead; as well as shifting up and down through the rates - eighths to triplets to sixteenths - while maintaining the sticking pattern. (But funnily enough, I’ve found working on the sixteenths the most useful for developing better foot control.)
It is a good idea to start slow, say 60 bpm, and work up the tempo over time, all the while focusing on even notes.
Have fun. Be creative.