Triplet Warm-Up in 3

If you have a chance, check out my feature article in the July 2013 of Drum! Magazine (the one with Brad Wilk on the cover) called “15 Steps to Becoming a More Creative Drummer.”

The following three warm-ups were written for a student who requested some additional work with eighth-note triplets and sextuplets. To increase the challenge, I wrote this in a 3/4 time signature (plus, I love playing in 3 and 6), providing some fun right- and left-hand lead possibilities. Each of these exercises involves alternating single strokes.

Ex. 1–One measure of eighth-note triplets is followed by one measure of sextuplets.

Ex. 2–One beat of eighth-note triplets is followed by one beat of sextuplets. Rhythmically, this is a two-beat phrase and could be written in 2/4.

Ex. 3–Eight-note triplets and sextuplets follow a pattern of two groupings of eighth note triplets, one grouping of sextuplets, one grouping of eighth-note triplets, and two groupings of sextuplets.

triplet warm-up in 3:4

Instructional Tips:

• If you don’t have experience with triplet rhythms, go back and practice each of these in isolation with a metronome. My book Drumcraft goes into depth explaining both eighth-note triplets and sextuplets.

• Depending on the tempo, sextuplets can be challenging to pull off (especially when leading with your weak hand). If this is the case, try placing an accent–using a whipping motion–at the first note of each six-note grouping. Allow the remaining five unaccented notes to bounce (don’t hold on too tight), and use your fingers to control the bounce.

• As long as the tempo is not too fast, this would be a good opportunity to practice your free strokes. Free strokes start high and finish high. The bounce is controlled at the apex of the bounce by squeezing your fingers. Free strokes are explained in Drumcraft along with technical photos.

Extra Challenge:

• Play four measures of a 3/4 jazz or Latin groove followed by each exercise. Use a metronome or a play-along to make sure that you’re not speeding up or slowing down.

• Play the entire page of exercises down without stopping. If you hesitate, have a significant other standing by with one of those flotation noodles, so that they can strike you with it.

• Add a foot ostinato to the exercises. The most obvious one is bass drum on beat 1 and hi-hat chicks on beats 2 and 3.