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The Metronome

The first job of the drummer is to keep time. Without good time, nothing else will work. You cannot have a great groove unless the time is there first.

Using a metronome is one of the best ways to develop a good sense of time–and contrary to some opinions, it will not make your playing stiff, just accurate.

The marking MM on music stands for Malzel’s Metronome. MM =120 means to set the metronome to 120 and each tick will represent a quarter note. A metronome set at 60 ticks is at one beat per second, so a setting of 120 gives you two beats per second.

There are many ways to use a metronome, the first being to set the tick at each beat in the measure as described above. Accuracy can then be improved by setting it to tick every other beat and then once per measure.

For example, if working on a technique or piece of music in 4/4 time at MM =160, first the metronome would be set at 160 (every beat), then at 80 (every other beat) and then at 40 (one beat per measure). You would continue to play at 160 but would rely more on your own accuracy rather than having a tick on every beat.

The time spent working with a metronome is invaluable, and the first time you are called on to play with a “click track” in a recording situation, that value will be greatly appreciated.

Warm Up Exercises You Can Use to Improve Your Rhythm

Not only will this help you work on your timing; it can also help you keep track of your speed. Remember to start off at a slower speed, then once the warm-up is learned, increase the tempo. Pay close attention to really bring out the accented note.

The first warm up is a two bar repeating pattern.

drumming lessons

Use the following stickings as different ways to practice this exercise:

1) All right handed
2) All left handed
3) Alternating strokes
4) Both right and left hand at the same time
5) Paradiddles (for a little challenge)

The next warm up is a three bar repeating triplet pattern.

warm up tutorials

Use the following stickings as different ways to practice this exercise:

1) All right handed
2) All left handed
3) Alternating strokes
3) Both right and left hand at the same time

The last warm up is a sixteen bar repeating phrase.

full lick

Use the following stickings as different ways to practice this exercise:

1) All right handed
2) All left handed
3) Alternating right and left hands
4) Paradiddles

Until next time…keep jammin’!