Wrapping Your Head Around Syncopated Notation
To a lot of drummers, syncopated notation (and playing the notation, for that matter) seems to be an alien concept. However, taking a step back to examine a few of the most common syncopated patterns can ease our syncopated woes. They're not as difficult to read as they may appear at first glance.
Once these patterns are mastered, they can be mixed and matched to create great rhythms. Adding bass drum strokes on beats 1, 2, 3 and 4 will hold the rhythms together. Exercises 1 through 4 below demonstrate the four, common syncopated patterns. Exercises 5 through 8 mix and match the four patterns. You can also try re-orchestrating the snare strokes to the toms to add a melodic layer to the rhythm.