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Get Your Time Happening

Article by Jayson Brinkworth // May 16 2012
Get Your Time Happening

How many of you hear the word metronome and break out in a cold sweat (no James Brown pun intended)? The fear of practicing and working with a metronome is very common among young drummers, but in today’s music industry it is absolutely necessary to be able to work with the click, both live and in the studio.

First off, we have to understand why we are working with the metronome. We are not trying to develop perfect machine-like time that has no feel. We are working on feeling the space between the notes we are playing and being as consistent as we can from note to note. When we start taking our time very seriously, we have to exert a great amount of mental energy and concentration. This is the hurdle that is tough to get over as it requires patience and persistence.

There are many ways to work with the metronome—working on our rudiments at various tempos, practicing grooves and fills, etc. Anytime we practice with the metronome, it is a good thing, but I have a found an exercise that really cuts to the chase and sharpens our feel for space.

This exercise is made up of four parts, each with a beat and fill that moves through a variety of rhythms. The whole exercise is to be played at a slow tempo (sorry but this is the only way we really develop our internal metronome). We will set the metronome at 40 bpm and work through each one exercise separately at first.

The X at the top of each exercise is where you will hear the click. The fills in 1, 2 and 3 are all SD, T1, SD, FT. The fill in 4 is a hand/foot pattern in 1/16 triplets. Exercise 2 is in double time, so the click will be on 1 and 3.

Once you can play them all on their own at 40 bpm, try running them together. You can play 1 and 2 as an exercise; 1, 2, and 3 as an exercise; 3 and 4, and so on. The transitions between rhythms, beats and fills are the secret to developing our feel.

Also I have purposely put the triplets after the double time to really get your internal metronome gears working. When we work with the metronome, adding and subtracting notes as we go, we start to learn how each of us feels space. Also make sure as you play to pay great attention to your dynamics. Many drummers will play very loud at first, trying to attack the quarter notes. Play quiet and relax into each beat.

Also don’t get frustrated if we are sliding around a bit in the spaces; this is the path we need to be on to really work on our time. Remember the metronome is our friend, it is not the enemy. Just be patient and keep chipping away. The benefit is great feeling time that no one can take away from you. 

 

EXERCISE 1

 

EXERCISE 2

 

EXERCISE 3

 

EXERCISE 4

 




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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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