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Similar to How can I significantly improve my hand independence on piano?, I'm wondering how I can improve the independence of my feet from my hands. I have not done much drumming but this was an obvious and major issue right from the start. My feet tend to like to fall in line with my hands, but worse is that it's extremely difficult to pedal on anything but the beat.

I figure a lot of the same advice from the hand question holds, particularly starting slow and increasing speed as I get better, but I never had the same rhythm issues with my hands (rather just de-syncing them from each other). So is there any foot-specific advice that would be useful?

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The same advice from the hand question does hold: start slowly and build up speed slowly. Please please please use a metronome and use it with discipline.

The thing is, for more inexperienced drummers, limb independence doesn't really exist. Rather, take the time to learn the specific patterns you want to learn, including those where the feet are off the beat. Make some up if you like, or just copy ones from other drummers. Learn the patterns not with independence in mind but rather as a whole unit, feet and hands working together in concert. Over time, as you master many such patterns, your muscle memory (i.e. strengthened neural connections) will allow you to play as though your feet and hands are independent, but that won't come for a good while.

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I used to play with an outstanding drummer named Gene Peterson, who you can check out at

. I asked him how he developed such outstanding independence. He said, 'I played everything with each of my hands and feet, individually, in isolation. All my limbs have played it all before, so it's no problem combining them.' What did he mean by 'everything'? His father, Nick Peterson, published a book called, 'The Rhythm Method for Safe Music'. It is a book of rhythm sight reading exercises arranged very systematically. Gene played through every exercise with his right hand, then with his left hand, then with his right foot, then with his left foot, then in combination. It certainly worked. He also plays a keyboard while playing the drums, but that's another story.

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