Here’s a surprisingly tricky exercise to help you develop your independence in 5/4. It’s based on the very first exercise from John Riley’s ‘The Art of Bop Drumming’ book – essential reading for any drummer. I’ve adapted John’s original 4 beat phrases into 5′s.
John hosted the first drum clinic i ever attended, in Bath, back in 2003, and I was immediately attracted to his methodical style of tutoring. The methods from his three books and DVD have remained stalwarts of my practice regime ever since.
Start with the 5/4 swing pattern at the top of the page. Now play the two bar snare comping phrases underneath. Keep the left hand pattern soft and make sure it swings. After you’ve completed all 8 exercises, move the comping phrases to the kick, then afterwards the left foot hi-hat.
After you’ve mastered the 8th note comping phrases, start working through the triplet phrases below. These will be busier so start slowly and make sure you keep it swinging.