how to count for drums


Knowing where you are in the song is essential to playing well. This means you need to count when you are keeping time for the band.  By counting you will always come down on the 'one' with the rest of the band. I guarantee it.

When you practice these exercises you need to COUNT OUT LOUD. I if you count, count during fills at the end of song phrases, you’ll always come down on the one with the band.  The following exercises are examples of different time measures and how the quarter note and the triplets notes are counted across different time-signature measures such as  3/4  5/4  17/8 etc. 

This is an example of how to count out triplets against quarter notes.  

The Figure is counted as:  ONE TA ta TA TWO  TA ta TA
The Snare & Bass drum together on the One & Three
TA = Snare. 
Ta = Bass Drum  

Broken down the rhythm looks like this.

ONE              TA                    TA                  TWO                  TA                      TA
One   ta   ta   Two   ta   ta    Three   ta   ta        One     ta     ta      Two    ta     ta    Three   ta   ta   
ONE                      TWO                             THREE                       FOUR

This Figure is like putting a square into a circle there is a little compromise in the beat.

When you practice The Rudiments and sticking exercises you should be counting and preferably counting out loud.  Gene Krupa did, Buddy Rich and Louis Bellson all those guys are great drummers who set the stage for even greater drumming. They all would count out loud.
Not really loud, but just to themselves. 

I've observed them up-close playing and soloing – you can see videos of them soloing via the Internet.  Buddy and Louis I’ve met and watched solo up close.  They all count out loud.   You know what did Louie Armstrong say “If you can say it, you can play it, if  you can’t say it you can’t play it”, this is a real simple principle of music and musicianship.

As an exercise go through and write out the counting’s for each of the different notation breakdowns.  (Hint: 1,2 1,2, 1,2,3,  or 123,123,12  or  123,1234  on the following pages.  I’ve done the first one as an example.  When doing this your are gong to discover a couple of things about counting. Download PDF Counting Exercise continue.....

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