Four Hands Two Feet Grouping Exercise

This exercise will further develop your ability to use the left foot on the bass drum pedal to play sixteenth notes on the feet at a higher tempo. The pattern you are building up to in this lesson is in 4/4 but made up of groups of six notes, making it Syncopated. You will start by learning the absolute basic grouping for the exercise, which is six notes played on the hands as singles followed by two on the feet as singles, in the time signature of 6/8 then progress to the full pattern in 4/4.

As in all double kick exercises, make sure your left foot is falling exactly where it should and that it is playing at the same dynamic level as the right foot. Use this exercise to develop technique and speed before moving on to applying it as a fill.

Eighth Notes In 6/8

The grouping that makes up the final pattern contains six notes so to demonstrate you will learn it in 6/8 first. I'll start by giving the exercise as quavers to encourage you to start slowly.

An exercise in different groupings for double kick.

Before progressing make sure you can play this exercise at at least 130bpm.

Sixteenth Notes In 6/8

Next you will double the note values to sixteenths, giving you two occurances of the pattern within one bar.

An exercise in different groupings for double kick.

This gives you the basic grouping for the final syncopated pattern in 4/4. This will be referred back to as the 'original pattern' in the next two exercises.

One Bar Syncopated 4/4 Exercise

This first 4/4 exercise will be made up of one bar of sixteenth notes. The first thing you need to do with an exercise like this is work out how many times you can play the original pattern in the bar and wether there are any notes left over. We are currently dealing with semi quavers so we will be comparing how many 16th notes the pattern lasts (six) to how many 16ths you can fit in a bar of 4/4 (16). To work out wether the pattern fits nicely in the bar divide the full bar number by the number representing the pattern (16 / 6) which gives you 2.6. The number isn't whole so this doesn't fit nicely. That answer tells you that you can play the pattern in full twice then there will be a section of the bar left over. 0.6 isn't a very helpful number for working out how many sixteenth notes are left in the bar after playing the pattern twice so we'll work that out a slightly different way. Playing the pattern twice covers twelve 16th notes (6 * 2). Sixteen (the number of 16ths in the bar) minus twelve gives four, meaning after playing the pattern twice you have four spare semi quavers to play around with. Isn't time signature maths fun!!

So we have now established that this exercise will be made up of two of the groupings from the previous exercise followed by four sixteenth notes to fill the bar. As this exercise is focusing on double kick I have made these last four notes two hands followed by two feet. Feel free to change these around. Phrase markings have been included to highlight where the original pattern falls within the bar.

An exercise in different groupings for double kick.

Two Bar Syncopated 4/4 Exercise

Next you will be extending the pattern over two bars. Again, we need to do a bit of maths to work out how this fits and we'll follow the same process as in the previous exercise. We are tring to fit a six note pattern into a space thirty two, so start by dividing 32 by 6, which is 5.3. That means it can be played five full times with some left over. Times six by five, which is thirty, then take that answer away from the full bar number to find what is left. That means subtract thirty from thirty two, which gives 2. So you can play the pattern five times in full and you will have two sixteenth notes, or one eighth note, to play with at the end. In this version of the exercise I have placed an eighth note at the end to break up the part when it is repeated.

Be careful with your timing in this exercise, with it being syncopated over two bars it is quite easy to loose your place.

An exercise in different groupings for double kick.

A Variations On The Two Bar Syncopated 4/4 Exercise

A very common variation of this exercise is to play the original pattern four times followed by two groups of four. That would look liks this.

An exercise in different groupings for double kick.


  1. Using the 2 minute rule, aim to get the exercises up to a tempo of around 140bpm.
  2. Try working out a four bar version of the exericse.
  3. Orchestrate the exercises to create fills.


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