Decorating Four 16th Notes With An Extra 32nd On The 'a' Count

In this lesson you will be decorating a four sixteenth note block with 32nd notes. The way you will be doing this is by doubling up the last note of the block, giving you three slow notes followed by two quicker notes. This common movement is really useful in fill construction but is also a good way of working on hand speed and stamina.

There are multiple stickings you can use for this part and I will explore these below but let's start off with the base five note rhythm though. This is shown below as sixteenth notes first as this notation should be far more familiar to you.

The base rhythm for this part.

Spend some time familiarizing yourself with this simple movement and have a play around with some different sticking ideas.

Sticking 1

This first sticking is my preferred way of playing a part like this. The first three strokes are played as singles with the two 32nds also played as singles, giving you a double stroke movement over the final 'a' count. I like this way as it is a relaxed movement that allows the stronger quarter notes to be played with the leading hand.

A sticking concept for this movement

Sticking 2

In this version a standard single stroke movement is applied with the 32nds played as a double stroke. Again, the advantage here is that the strong quarter note counts can be played on the leading hand.

A sticking concept for this movement

Sticking 3

Here, a single stroke movement is used all the way through. This makes the sticking of the second set of sixteenths the reverse of the first. Whilst the single strokes are an easier movement, it requires more strength in the left to get those stronger notes on counts 2 and 4.

A sticking concept for this movement


  • Using the 2 minute rule, aim to get the exercises up to a tempo of around 130bpm.
  • Work out which sticking is most comfortably for you.
  • Construct fills using this rhythmic concept.


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