Fortifying Your Time – Alternating Stair Step Exercise

Here’s a little practice routine I’ve been developing. The two consistent motifs with the exercise of course are the slew of 16th notes for 9 bars and the hi hat click always on the 1. But it gets so much better. This exercise combines so many developments in one that I absolutely love it and can’t not share it’s magnificence.

Like many others, my practice entails on most days: foot development, hand development centered around my weak hand, playing better time and feeling a four pulse inside of odd groupings. Not always verbatim this, but usually some incarnation. So as I was learning many different exercises to focus on each individual weak point in my playing, it became somewhat of a delayed
ah-hah moment to just create something that focused all these into one. And voila, this sweet thing was born on a muggy Friday morning, 9 bars long and with a full head of hair.

As you read through it, the text guides you. I won’t echo a lot of what’s obvious below. But the exercise beings with a simple two beat phrase that accordions into a 3 and 4 and 5 and 6 and closes back into itself to the 2, all while keeping the foundation consistently solid on beat 1 with the hi-hat. As always, to get the most benefit from this, starting slow and gradually moving to a faster tempo is the best practice. I noticed in the case of playing over the bar line, with the 5 especially, that my time keeping foot was adjusting to fit the 5 pulse. It’s a slight change that at faster tempos can happen without much notice. That’s why starting slow and internalizing where every note shifts along the one is the best approach!

And below is the .pdf to download or print or not download or not print or what have you!

2 – 3 – 4 – 5 – 6 Practice Stair Steps

It’s all about that 1, baby.

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