I am self taught regarding drum set and have neglected training hihat foot independence. I can keep with a metronome alright so the sense of timing is not much of an issue, but when I try to open/close the hihat on 2s and 4s, everything falls apart. I can play both hands and hihat foot independently but no kick, or I can play both hands and kick independently with no hihat. What are the best techniques to fix this?

  • 3
    same way you learned everything else, slowly and painfully
    – Esther
    Jan 6 at 15:10
  • 2
    Aren't some methods slightly less slow and painful than others?
    – connor449
    Jan 6 at 15:14
  • Sure. Here's one that's more slow and painful than those that you should use: omit the snare at first, and instead hold the left hand in the hi-hat whilst snapping it shut with the foot... Jan 6 at 23:45
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    Seriously though, taking it apart is usually the way to go. For example start with only 8ths on the ride plus foot–hi-hat, then experiment with the kick – first only on 1 and 3, then try to make it independent. Once you have that dialled in, add the snare, again first only on 2 and 4 together with the hats, then try out the typical suspects ghost notes etc.. Jan 6 at 23:47
  • 1
    I tried and do hand rudiments with my feet on quarter and 8 notes while my hands keep the time Jan 7 at 11:59

I'd recommend that you include your weak foot in the regular exercises from the beginning. Don't neglect it for 20 years and only then realize how important it can be.

Even though you may never actually play double-bass, I'd recommend to practice double bass exercises for coordination. The weak foot is considered "weak" for a reason. I found that I did not have control over it. After going through some double-bass courses, my whole posture adjusted.

Also, try to lead with the weak limb (foot or hand) in order to improve the control.

Using a second bass pedal instead of hi-hat helps because there is no difference in the sound and the technique between the two feet.

  • Not a bad suggestion, but I daresay double kick technique hardly translates to hi-hat foot technique. It'll teach left-foot control, but hardly left-foot independence since in double kick playing, the feet are generally closely linked together. Apr 15 at 11:22
  • @leftaroundabout, that depends on the exercises, of course. See Marvin Dahlgren, 4-Way Coordination, for example. Apr 15 at 11:31

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