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Balancing Act

Article by Jayson Brinkworth // November 02 2009
Balancing Act

This month I have decided to base my article around some drumming exercises rather than writing about gear or some crazy concept rolling around in this head.

One thing I have noticed in all of my years teaching is that drumming is all about balance—just like life. If we are playing and ever feel like we are off balance or leaning, we need to break that down before we can progress too much further. This progress needs to happen between our hands and our feet, especially our hi-hat foot. If we are unbalanced while we play, it will show in our dynamics, tempo and inconsistent tone. I have used the following exercises for years and have found them to be very helpful.


The first step is understanding that the right and left side of our body have to get along. This is a simple exercise with our hands and feet both playing a single stroke roll. The catch is, whenever our right hand plays, our left foot plays and visa versa.

The great thing about this is you don’t even need a drumset to work on it. Once you get it moving and the hands and feet feel comfortable, move the hands around the kit and make sure the feet don’t switch.





 The next four exercises change it up a bit, but still focus on crossing our body and balance. They are based on the first six exercises from Stick Control and can be reversed for a left hand lead as well.

The first measure is 1/8 notes with our hands and feet playing together. The next measure has our feet staying on the same pattern in 1/8 notes, while our hands switch to the same pattern in 1/16 notes. Once we switch, the body begins to cross, especially in exercise 3, 4 and 5.

Go slow and make sure your hands and feet don’t switch up. Once you get all of these working on their own, try running them together as a whole exercise. You can also work them with the right hand on the ride and left on the snare—or anywhere on the kit.  Our biggest focus should be on feeling balanced while playing each exercise and dynamics should remain controlled. Go slow and have fun. 







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About the Author
Jayson  Brinkworth

Jayson Brinkworth is an accomplished drummer, percussionist, vocalist, educator and writer based out of Canada. He is co-owner of the Saskatchewan music school Music In The House, as well as the founder of both the Regina Drum Festival and The Stickman Drum Experience.

Jayson proudly endorses Yamaha drums, Sabian cymbals, Vic Firth sticks, Evans heads, Impact cases, Kickport, Flix, Future Sonics and Mountain Rhythm. Visit Jayson online at www.jaysonbrinkworth.com.

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