What Does My Drum Lesson Plan Look Like

Endorsed by HingeStix
Endorsed by HingeStix

As a drummer and instructor, I thought I’d memorialize some of my personal practice routines.  I

We all tend to gravitate to what we feel most comfortable doing, whether it’s singles, doubles, paradiddles, flams, flamadiddles, single stroke 4’s, or drags. But I always try to challenge myself whenever I can.  I recommend that you do the same. Don’t stick to the same pages, same exercises, or same lessons. I suggest you take a deeper dive into every page and explore your full potential.

Finally, most of what I’m documenting in this post should come as no surprise to the seasoned player. It may be considered too basic for the pros and too advanced for the beginners. But, no matter how inexperienced or seasoned you are as a drummer, it’s always a good idea to start with, and revisit the basics, from time to time. This will help you build strength, coordination, precision, 4-way INTERdependence, and speed.

The Books and the Lessons


    1. 8-On-A-Hand
      1. Set your metronome between 60 & 90 BPM at cut time and play 8 consecutive 8th notes on each, alternating hands every measure
      2. Do this exercise for up to 10 minutes every day
    2. 16-On-A-Hand
      1. As you loosen up, switch to playing 16-On-A-Han
      2. Set your metronome between 60 & 90 BPM at cut time and play 16 consecutive 8th notes on each, alternating hands every two measures
      3. Do this exercise for up to 10 minutes every day
  2. Stick Control – George Lawrence Stone
    1. Concentrate on pages 5,6,7, 14, and 34
    2. Start anywhere between 60-120 BPM and work your way up to 140+ BPM
      1. I like to mix it up a bit by randomly starting with an exercise in the middle of the page to avoid playing the same exercises day in and day out
    3. There are series of systems to apply to this book, which I will post in due time
  3. Accents and Rebounds – George Lawrence Stone
    1. It is recommended to work with a local teacher to get the most out of this book
    2. It is also not a book to just dive into. You are encouraged to complete George Lawrence Stone’s Stick Control book first before working through this book
    3. Newer editions of this book have an added graphical legend showing precise positions of the sticks for each stroke, which takes some getting used to
    4. If you’re just starting with this book, and you don’t have an instructor, I suggest the following:
      1. Start with pages 4 thru 7, working through the accented patterns. You’ll find the sticking quite familiar, however, the accents will challenge your ability
      2. Page 21 – 4 Stroke Ruffs
      3. Page 25 – Two-Beat Roll Versus Buzz – – Exercises 1 thru 8
      4. Page 26 – Two-Beat Roll Versus Buzz – – Exercises 1 thru 12
      5. Page 40 and 41 – Rolling in Mixed Rhythm Exercises 1 – 24
        1. I love these exercises because for every beat you’re either playing 8th notes, triplets, 16th notes singles or doubles, 5 stroke singles and 11 stroke rolls in each measure
  4. Progressive Steps to Syncopation – Ted Reed
    1. System 1
      1. RH swings on the ride symbol
      2. Bass drum plays the melody line
      3. Snare and HH on 2 & 4
    2. System 2
      1. RH swings on the ride cymbal
      2. Snare drum plays melody line
      3. Bass drum play 4 on the floor
      4. HH on 2 &4
    3. System 3
      1. RH swings on the ride cymbal
      2. Snare plays all 8th notes
      3. Bass drum plays all quarter notes
      4. HH on 2 & 4
    4. System 4
      1. Play triplet fills as follows:
        1. Play all unwritten notes as triplets on the snare
        2. Play all written notes on alternating toms
        3. Bass drum plays 4 on the floor
        4. HH on 2 & 4
    5. System 5
      1. Triplet swing as follows:
        1. RH swings on the ride cymbal
        2. Bass drum plays melody line
        3. Snare fills in all unwritten notes with triplets
        4. HH on 2 & 4
  5. Extreme Interdependence – Marco Minneman
    1. This book challenges your 4-way independence by building 4-way INTERdependence and introduces patterns that will frustrate even the most seasoned player.
    2. A lot of the patterns are not necessarily musical and you will not find them working their way into your playing. But rather the patterns will free your limbs up and have you playing in ways that break all known norms. You will see an immediate improvement in your playing once you begin to master the warm ups and patterns.
    3. I can’t tell you what pages to concentrate since it is purely dependent on your own skills and ability, but:
      1. Start by playing, and mastering, all warm-up exercises starting on page 20 and working through page 24
      2. Move into the patterns beginning on page 25 and then work through the book at your own pace
  6. New Breed II – Gary Chester
    1. The trick with this book is to understand the legend that dictates what limbs play what line in the chart and what melodies and patterns to substitute that you play from memory that appear throughout the book.
  7. Snare Drum Rudiments – Buddy Rich
  8. NARD
  9. Rockin’ Bass Drum – Charles Perry

My Play List

These are the tracks I play to:

  1. Steely Dan
    1. Home at Last
    2. Time Out of Mind
    3. Gaucho
    4. Cousin Dupree
  2. Allman Brothers
    1. Hot ‘lanta
    2. One Way Out
  3. Pat Metheny
    1. It’s Just Talk
    2. Slip Away
    3. Better Days Ahead
    4. Eighteen
  4. Yellow Jackets
    1. Sightseeing
    2. Wildlife
  5. Dave Weckl
    1. Beacon
  6. Weather Report
    1. Elegant People
  7. Bruce Hornsby
    1. Valley Road
  8. Grateful Dead
    1. Truckin’
    2. U.S. Blues
  9. Michael McDonald – Motown
    1. Signed Sealed Delivered
    2. Tuesday Heartbreak
  10. John Hiatt
    1. Paper Thin
    2. Slow Turning
  11. Jean Luc Ponty
    1. Once Upon a Dream
    2. ImaginaryVoyage – Part 4
  12. Tower of Power
    1. Diggin’ On James Brown
Endorsed by HingeStix
Endorsed by HingeStix
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