Beginner Drumming Independence – Drumming Hand And Feet Coordination Tips

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One of the most essential skills for any drummer is the ability to coordinate their hands and feet, or drumming independence. While some drummers are gifted with great coordination. Others have to work a little harder to achieve it. The ability to play independent rhythms using a combination of limbs is what drumming development is all about. The ability to play complex rhythms is a process of building independence. And coordinating the limbs is something all drummers of all levels need to work on. Over the long term.

One of the first things you learn when you start playing the drums. Is that your hands and feet need to move independently from one another. This can be a difficult concept for beginners to grasp at first. But it’s important to begin the development of independence early. If you want to become a skilled drummer.

In this article, we’ll look at why independence between your hands and feet is important. We’ll also look at the ultimate aim of coordination. And we’ll look at the difference between practice and playing. I will then provide a progressive shopping list. Exercises you can use to develop your coordination.

Independence is an important aspect of drumming because each limb has a different job to do. In general, your hands are responsible for playing the snare drum and hi-hat. At least whilst playing basic and more advanced beats. While your feet operate the bass drum and hi-hat pedals. If you want to play drums well, you need to be able to move each limb independently of the other.

The Beginning of Drumming Independence

Once you’re able to play the basic beats and fills on the drums. The first step to developing drumming independence between your hands and feet. Is by realizing that there is integration. By playing along with the music, using basic beats, and focusing primarily on keeping good time. You begin to open your mind to be able to focus on what you are doing and the space between what you are playing. Or what the drummer on the music you’re listening to.

At this point, you may have ideas pop into your head. Ideas you may have heard other drummers play. Or an inclination of an idea that isn’t yet fully formed in your mind. And that’s the important part. You must first program the coordination and ideas into your mind. Your memory can then recall them. Think about it. You can’t recall what you don’t know. I know that’s obvious. But when many beginner drummers play there is a natural instinct to play complex beats. ASAP.

This is due in most part to the way some teachers teach drums.

They teach you to play a basic beat. And then they add a little more advanced idea. Then another and another. And so the beginner never gets time to stick with only the basics and then come to master them. Before they move on to more complex things. And because these more advanced additions happen in fast succession. (within a few hours or days). The drummer never masters them before playing more complex rhythms.

This at first seems fine. And in a way it is fine. But the problem comes when after 10 or 20 years that same drummer is a good drummer. Only a good drummer! As opposed to being a great drummer. Or an exceptionally great drummer.

And don’t get me wrong. Early on I realized that I wasn’t going to be a master technician. Somewhat due to the pond I was swimming in at the time. More advanced contemporary music had not passed by me so I didn’t even know it existed, yet.

Don’t Rush Your Coordination Development

So, the point is, that you should not be in too much of a rush to get advanced too fast. Every advanced drummer will tell you that they are just beginners. Because they always want to improve. Some call this being humble. I call it being a master. You, better than anyone else know whether you should move on to more advanced things. Only you can make the call.

All I am saying is don’t make that call too soon. Unless you are ready for it.

The Ultimate Goal of Coordinated Drumming Independence

Another part of developing coordination, which is an extension of what we have said already. Is listening to music. As you listen to songs, pay attention to what each of the drummers’ limbs is doing. And try to replicate it within your mind before trying it out on your own drum set. This will not only help you develop independence. It will also improve your timing and feel for rhythm.

And the most important factor. It will help you improve your mind and listening ability. In other words. Don’t listen to the music itself. Listen to the parts of the music. Divide it up and focus on the drums. Then focus only on the snare drum, then the bass drum followed by the hi-hats or ride cymbal. Learn to separate each in your mind and listen to each individually. Of course, you do this with your focus and where you put your attention.

As you do this, you create space within the music as your concentrated focus opens it up in your mind. (our ears). Then place yourself into that image and imagine what you would play. But don’t… and this is important. Don’t try to play something that you can’t play yet. Play what’s currently programmed into your memory.

From this point, it’s time to start building coordination. And as you begin the building process. Keep what we have covered in mind and keep practicing it over many years as you develop your focus. And as you develop your ears, your mind, and your coordinated drumming independence.

Now, let’s take a look at some basic development coordination tips.

How to Build Drumming Coordination Between Hands and Feet

As we begin to turn the focus on developing coordination. We also need to be clear about the process. And know the difference between practicing and playing the drums. Let’s take a brief look.

The Difference Between Playing And Practice

Every drummer must learn the difference between playing drums and practicing drums. Practicing drums, in the beginning, is a numbers game. Drumming Practice is a non-sexy scientific exercise in precision. Behind every art (playing the drums brilliantly) is a science (practicing brilliantly). Which is akin to practicing with self-discipline as your guide.

When you play the drums you count yourself in and play. When you practice the drums, you count yourself into a pre-selected tempo. Based on an estimation of your ability to play the thing you are about to practice. If you have a low expectation of your abilities then your metronome will be set to a slow tempo.

And here’s the kicker. If you have a high expectation of your abilities your metronome will be set slower.

Wait, what?

I said slower. Yes, the better you are the more advanced your ear. And the more you are able to work on the finer things within your playing. The sound of your kit, the movement of your limbs, the way you hit each drum or cymbal, and the space between all that.

Okay, so maybe I am exaggerating a little but guess what. I’m not exaggerating at all. The more precise you can play something when it is played slowly, the more precise it will be when you speed it up. And the more it will groove when added to your arsenal of dynamic drumming skills.

But being more practical. Start slow and speed up over time when you feel ready. But bear what I said in mind as you do that. And then return to the slower tempo many times into the future of your drumming mastery plan.

So let’s go over it again.

  1. Start Slow

When you’re first starting out, it’s important to go slow and focus on each individual stroke. Once you have the strokes down, you can start to increase the speed. Focusing on each individual stroke will help your brain to better connect your hands and feet. And it’ll also help you build muscle memory. 60BPM is a good starting place. But set the metronome slower if you need to.

  1. Use a Metronome

A metronome is a great tool for drummers of all levels. But it’s especially helpful when you’re working on coordination. Set the metronome to a slow tempo and play/practice along with it. Gradually increasing the tempo as you get more comfortable. Playing with a metronome not only helps you connect your hands and feet, but it’ll also force you to stay in time. And it will force you to play at a tempo that you are capable of keeping.

  1. Practice Rudiments

As you no doubt already know. Rudiments are basic drumming patterns that every drummer should know. Practicing rudiments is a great way to improve your hand coordination. And eventually your hand-foot coordination. Because they often involve complex patterns that require coordination between hands and feet. Not just the hands.

But take note that every more advanced coordination exercise you play. Will be constructed in one way or another of rudiments of one kind or another.

Plus, they’re really fun to play!


Developing independence between your hands and feet takes time. And it takes practice. But it’s an important skill for all drummers to build and master. By going through a few coordination books and spending time developing independence. And by slowly increasing the tempo of your metronome. Or by paying close attention to what each limb is doing while listening to music. You can begin to improve your drumming independence.

Drumming Coordination Independence Shopping List

I have put together a few books that will get you started. I have included 3 of each style Rock and Jazz styles. With a few additional advanced resources. But you should go through each in the order given. The first in each set is coordination related to playing the basic beats. Along with the fills. The second in each group builds on that and begins to develop the limbs independently. The third is a more advanced version of the second book.

Rock Style Coordination Exercise Books

The Rock Drumming Foundation book is a good place to start. But it only covers the six basic rock beats and how to play them. It is a beginner’s book to build a solid foundation so you can build independence upon that foundation.

It’s your Rock Drumming Handbook for becoming a more fluid rock drummer.

So, if you like playing clean, tight, and solid drumming other musicians want to play with. Then you’ll love this basic Rock Drumming Foundation Course.

Click The Image To Find Out More.



The Rock Drumming Development book begins to build coordination focusing on each limb. And using the six drum beats from the Rock Drumming Foundation book.

So, if you would like to play more creatively on the drums. Gain more facility within your drumming. And develop a greater balance that lets you play smooth flowing grooves. Then you’ll love this first step in the development process.

The Rock Drumming Development Course book takes the beats used in the previous book. And builds independence from the ground up.

Click The Image To Find Out More.




The 4-Way Coordination book helps the drummer build greater hand dexterity.

However, with the introduction of modern drumming techniques. It has become necessary to gain complete independence of both the hands and feet. With various rhythmic exercises in easy-to-read notation. 4-Way Coordination guides the drummer from simple patterns to advanced polyrhythms. Through the study of this book, the student will gain invaluable listening skills. And techniques that will provide insight into drumming in all styles.

This book does include jazz-style exercises. So should be viewed as an integrating factor between both rock and jazz style drumming. Click The Image To Find Out More.



Jazz Style Coordination Exercise Books

The Jazz Drumming Foundation book is a good place to start learning jazz drumming. It only covers the three basic jazz beats and how to play them. It is a beginner’s book to build a solid foundation of Jazz Drumming skills. So you can build your drumming independence upon that foundation.

It’s your Beginners Jazz Drumming Handbook for becoming a more fluid jazz drummer.

So, if you like playing swinging Jazz Drumming other musicians want to play to. Then you’ll love this Jazz Drumming Foundation Course.

Click The Image To Find Out More.



The Jazz Drumming Development book begins to build coordination focusing on each limb. and using the three drum beats from the Jazz Drumming Foundation book.

So, if you would like to play more creatively on the drums. Gain more facility within your jazz-style drumming. And develop a greater balance that lets you play smooth flowing grooves. Then you’ll love this first step in the development process.

The Jazz Drumming Development Course book takes the beats used in the previous book and builds independence from the ground up.

Click The Image To Find Out More.




The Studio/Jazz Drum Cookbook helps the drummer build greater independence between the limbs.

The contemporary drum set player faces significant challenges in terms of control and manual dexterity, especially within the Jazz genre. Today’s drummers are expected to possess a level of limb coordination that was once deemed unattainable not too long ago.

This text presents an effective method of dealing with the mastery of drum set coordination. By breaking it down into four sections. 1) Ride Cymbal – Right hand; 2) Snare Drum – Left hand; 3) Bass Drum – Right foot; 4) Hi-hat – Left foot.

The author clearly states his goals in writing this book. “It is my sincere wish that the materials presented in this text. Will be of considerable help in developing a musical approach to the coordination skills demanded of today’s drummer.” John Pickering. Click The Image To Find Out More.


Well, there you have it. These books represent a fantastic beginning to learning to play the drums. And then developing your independence within the areas mentioned. And as I said, I have included a more advanced title if you want to nail your independence and coordination.

The New Breed takes Drumming Independence to the next level.

But be warned, this really is next-level stuff.

Renowned for his prolific career as a studio drummer during the ’60s and ’70s, Gary Chester left an indelible mark by playing on countless hit records. Esteemed drummers like Kenny Aronoff, Danny Gottlieb, and Dave Weckl have embraced and recommended his systems. Beyond a typical drum book, his system is designed to equip you with the necessary skills to excel in today’s studio demands.

These systems are not designed to be played strictly as exercises, but used as tools to develop new musical ideas that can be applied to any and all musical styles.

Through utilizing this book, you’ll enhance your abilities in reading music, focusing, coordinating, leading with both hands, and being attuned to the metronome’s pulse.

You can get The New Breed Here and The New Breed II Here.

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If you have any coordination tips queries or questions. Add a comment below and pass on your experiences to other drummers.

Thanks again for listening.

The Drum Coach.


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