Improvisation Workshop: Drum Fills


Do you have trouble making up drum fills on the fly? If so, you're not alone. A lot of drummers express difficulties and even anxiety when asked to do so. This lesson provides a template for practicing and developing your improvisational skills.


Directions: The second half of each drum fill below is missing. During the second half, play the same rhythm that you played in the first half, but improvise by changing which drums you hit. For example, you could play the rhythm on the high tom, the hi-hat, or any combination of drums and cymbals. Be creative!

Optional Variation: For ever more practice with improvising drum fills, try improvising both the rhythm and the drums/cymbals for the second half of each fill.

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Publisher of, Alfred Publishing author and veteran Drum! Magazine Groove Analysis video instructor, Nate holds a Bachelor of Arts in Education from John Carroll University in Cleveland, OH and is currently undertaking a Master of Arts in Education with an emphasis in Adult Training and Development at the University of Findlay in Findlay, Ohio.