I am having lots of trouble with my drumming skills. I can't play two different beats on different hands. For example if I'm playing eighth notes on the high-hat and switching off quarter notes on bass drum and snare, My hand on the high-hat will get caught up in the other beat or vice-versa. Foot independence I've got down but this for some reason I can't do.Is there an easy way I can train myself? Also I have been reading and playing music on trombone and drums for 2 1/2 years but I am fairly new to the drum set.

Hope you can help =D

2 Answers 2


I'm a guitarist, but I also play a bit of drums and piano. Not being the greatest drummer or piano player, I totally understand the fundamental problem of coordination between limbs when playing these instruments, particularly when drumming!

Firstly, it has to be said, the most important thing to do is to practise slowly; only by playing a pattern carefully, correctly and consistently will you be then able to play it well at a faster speed.

Secondly, I'm going to offer similar advice as I would to a guitar pupil, that is finding it difficult to focus upon what both hands are doing at the same time. Two things:

  • simplify the problem. If you can play small parts of the overall pattern correctly, you'll be able to combine these to then play the whole pattern.

  • treat what you're doing as a purely mechanical exercise. Yes, it's very important to play any music, on any instrument with musicality and expression, but initially you just need to get your hands and feet moving where you want them to! Once these movements start to become comfortable, relaxed, intuitive it will then be easy to think about expression and musicality.

So, how would you apply all these ideas to the pattern you describe above? This pattern is certainly a good place to start; when doing group band sessions with drum teachers, it always seems to be the beat they try to teach non-drummers to play first (and it is easy to hear this pattern as being the basis of a lot of rock and pop drum parts).

I would try two ways to build up your coordination, in order to play this pattern. These approach the problem from two different angles; trying to learn something like this often seems easier to me, if you try it in a couple of different, complimentary ways.

Approach 1:

Essentially, this pattern only has three different "events": 1. hi-hat on its own; 2. hi-hat and kick drum; 3. hi-hat and snare. First of all, make sure you can easily play each of these. This seems like such a basic step, that it might seem unnecessary, but ensuring you can do it, will make playing the whole pattern much easier. Then, work out where each of these "events" occur in the pattern you are trying to learn. Luckily, for this pattern, these occur with a regular rhythmic pattern, on every quaver (8th) of the bar. Using the numbers above, the pattern would be: 2 1 3 1 2 1 3 1 If you play this succession of combinations slowly, you should then be able to gradually increase the speed, and as you do so you should start to feel that the coordination becomes automatic, that you can do it "without thinking" (or without thinking as much!)

Approach 2:

Gradually build up the pattern instrument by instrument (or limb by limb, if you like). The hi-hat quavers run throughout this pattern; firstly ensure you are comfortable playing these evenly in a relaxed manner, then simply add the other parts of the pattern in, one-at-a-time! You could either add them in in order, first the kick on beat 1, then snare on beat 2 etc, or you could add each of the kicks, then add the snares one at a time. Again, it's important that you do this slowly, at a speed that allows you to play accurately. And, it is important to repeat the pattern with the added note multiple times, before adding in another note. This allows you to confidently learn the whole pattern.

Finally, this is the perspective of "a-guitarist-that-plays-drums-a-bit", it'll be interesting to see how drummers reply to your question!

And, most importantly of all - use a metronome!


Most new drummers have this problem. It's common, and easily overcome. The way to go about it is something you'll hear from every drum instructor you encounter. COUNT. That's it, that's all. That being said, everyone does learn differently. Meaning some people are auditory learners, some visual, some audio/visual. The exercise that the user above posted is helpful for a visual person because it does help to see beats in actual numbers while others can achieve the same effect by merely hearing it back. So it will always depend on counting, and how you use that information. And I agree a metronome helps a great deal especially if you are the auditory type. Good luck, don't give up. Everything takes everyone their own time to learn. What comes easily to one, takes hard work for another. Mostly... enjoy yourself. Play along with your favorite bands whether you get it right or not it helps to try your best to keep time because drumming is about keeping time. Like every other instrument you have to understand how music works to be able to execute it. Guitar takes syncopation, scales, and time. Drums takes learning time signatures slowly in practice. The separating between hand/hand/foot/foot comes both literally and figuratively ... in time. This may help you too? If you've never heard of him well... it's time. http://www.daveweckl.com

  • 1
    I'm not sure that this answers OP's question. Maybe you should explain how counting can be used to achieve hand independence.
    – user39614
    Apr 14, 2018 at 11:20

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