Bill Powelson's School of Drums

DRUMS: Coordination Solutions

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We ALL struggle with coordination hang-ups. Perfecting the weak hand and getting the feet to cooperate with our mind (or vice versa), is a never ending battle. It's a musician thing. All musicians struggle with it from day-one to the grave. Trust me! The struggle NEVER ends.

But; I have great news:

  1. Our totally amazing minds know exactly and automatically how to make it happen. It's easy! Repeat, repeat, repeat. But; for Heaven's-sake; let's TRY to make it fun!
  2. Discover the FUN ways to make it happen naturally and painlessly.
  3. I'll offer solid proof! You will discover (in a second) exactly how it works. Then; you can quit worrying about it and follow my guidance towards the glorious direction of the ever increasing FUN FACTOR.
  4. Those weak, uncooperative limbs will develop own their own while you strive to boost your creativity, rather than diminish and dampen your spirit with senseless, boring drill.

Sure! We can sit and stare at the floor for 97 hours as we repeat, repeat, repeat a roll, beat or rudiment on a practice pad. That's what all the 'traditional' educators most often will recommend. But'; are they really thinking . . . or are they simply teaching what they've been robotically taught?

Could it be possible to EASILY turn the coordination development into thing that occurs rapidly and naturally as we occupy our intelligent and creative minds with habitual daily routines that are hypnotically creative, incredibly fun and a heck of a LOT more interesting? You are about to discover that the answer to that is, definitely YES!

The 'chops' (aka; coordination) will come just as quickly if we are enjoying the times of our lives, without the boredom of drill, drill, drill on a practice pad.

We all hate the boredom that comes with drill, drill, drill. Don't we? I detest it completely! I rebelled against it as a kid and I still do. If you've watched my solo vids, you'll know that my 'chops' are up there! I do NOT drill whenever there is a more fun, more creative way to develop the specific techniques that need to be developed. There are many numerous, EASY AND FUN ways to skin that vicious little beast. I want to show them to you, right now!

Listen up! This lesson will help you discover tips and tricks to build the weak hand or foot coordination naturally and virtually without boredom. You'll get it quicker, faster, easier and more efficiently than many of the other instructors may have ever dreamed.

It's true! There is no substitute for repetition! There is no substitute for the routine focus on the weak hand (or foot). We do need to train all our limbs to perform equally well. There is no avoidance of the repeats that are necessary to get the feet and hands educated in ways that Mother-Nature herself never intended. We DO have to focus on those things, but there is absolutely no reason on earth to drive our intelligent, 'creative minds' absolutely insane with boring reps, as we do it.

Repetition is a synonym for RHYTHM itself. Drumming especially is a relatively repetitious endeavor. It goes with the gig! But there are easy ways to get it and there are practice-pad drills.

I say,"Down with practice pads!" We can make it MESMERIZINGLY FUN as we grow our creativity and rhythmic sensitivities at the same time, while we build the chops (coordination) to monster levels!

The hypnotic and mesmerizing spell that IS absorbing rhythm, is most often quite repetitious. It is possible and even advisable that we should seek to habituate the FUN methods of easy development and avoid the mind-numbing, laborious and boring aspect of empty, soulless drill.

Go over the following list and adapt as much of it as possible to your 24/7/365, routine. The results will occur more rapidly this way than they will occur on a boring practice-pad while staring at the floor! PLUS; you'll have a ton of fun, the whole time:


  1. Beginners: The toughest time is when we're learning those first few beats. Begin with 8th rock beat as described in the beginning lessons of lesson menu #1. Each beat we master makes it easier to master the next.

    IMMEDIATELY, begin scouting for songs that use the 8th rock beat. You will find millions! Pick and choose your music carefully at first. Stick with slow to medium songs you feel comfortable with. But play for FUN. Let your imagination run wild as you play along with various songs you love. Be bold! Experiment! Try to toss ideas of your own into the music. Lock onto that backbeat flow and hold solid, no matter what happens.

    Your coordination and control will grow quickly! Music is the main ingredient. It's fun to play. It is (. . . or should be) the reason you've chosen drums as the instrument you want to play. No drummer works alone! It's all about playing any and all music with other musicians. That's where the FUN is (or should be), once we discover it. If it isn't fun, we should see a shrink and/or question our motivations. Why are we learning to play drums? Do we expect to build a future onstage . . . all by ourselves? No! It's all about the music. All of the music! We drummers need to learn to play each and every song that crosses our ears . . . for the rest of our days. It's what we do! The truth is; the more we play the music, the more fun playing becomes.

    As you jam with any song, you will be repeating those beat patterns hundreds of times while having a ball, experimenting creatively with the music. You ARE developing coordination as you do this! Muscles are building and developing as you have a great time, playing song after song FOR HOURS ON END. Then . . . soon after; these next tips below will push the (limb coordination) devlopment into over-drive . . .


    Gravitate immediately to the solo lessons here at the site. Read over them and take what I'll say, to heart. Start each practice session with a little solo training FROM THE HEART AND IMAGINATION. Believe me, the mind will get your hands and feet moving the way you want. All you need do is put the brain and limbs under a little pressure. You'll be forcing the mind to instruct the hands and feet to do as you dictate, WHILE you simply play creatively and have fun.

    Within ALL the solo lessons, I stress the values of SUBLIMINAL mental input. The point is this; before we can execute great solos, we need to listen to the best of the best drum-solo performers. As we listen to a great solo, an extraordinary thing will/should happen. If we focus intently, listen deeply and try to FEEL what those great drummers are playing, it sticks in the memory. It's fresh in our memory right then. The rhythms we're hearing will pop, rattle and explode within our mind for quite awhile after the recorded solo has ended. (That is . . . if nothing else distracts us).

    That's why it is important to sit down at the full kit RIGHT THEN and thrash away at our own totally unique and different solo. Those rhythms (that the greats were just playing) find their way to our own drum set. We're actually learning in a subliminal way.

    Try it! You WILL amaze yourself, if you do this on a routine basis. Don't try to copy the greats. That isn't the point at all. The idea should be to play something remotely similar; but play whatever sounds good to you. That terrific solo you've just listened to, will fester ideas within your mind. A lot of the solos you've just heard will brush-off onto you and you'll grow your own original solos from those ideas.

    Sure, some of what you'll do in the beginning may suck pretty bad . . . but some of it won't. If you'll let yourself go, and play the (fresh) ideas that are rolling around within your brain, you WILL hit licks now and then that will set fire to your soul! Some of it will sound amazingly good! As you discover those good sounding licks, repeat them again and again in different ways around the kit. Try to remember them and gradually make them YOUR favorite routines. Eventually, you will get to a point where you won't need to listen to someone else. You'll play those remembered ideas instead.

    I could go on and on for hours here, but I've already done it in the SOLO LESSONS. Visit them often. Visit them daily! Listen to my solos and or any of the other greater drummers.

    Try this! Enter "drum solo mp3 or videos" as search criteria in any search engine. You'll come away with hundreds of great drum solos. Make it a habit to listen to solos daily. Listen to everybody . . . then sit down and play immediately afterward and before becoming distracted elsewhere.

    Guess what!? You will re-invent the rudiments! As you do this strenuously and faithfully on a daily basis, for 20 to 30 minutes a day, the hands and feet coordination will develop faster, easier and more efficiently. Don't argue! Just do it!! It'll prove itself.

    That's exactly the way I perfected my own coordination and rudiments, without even realizing it. This was a routine I followed every day as a kid. (The neighbors HATED me!)

    Then one day; I was feeling quilt-ridden (concerning rudiments). I was chastising myself mentally. It felt like I was simply having TOO MUCH FUN to actually call it SERIOUS practice.

    So, I grabbed a rudiment-chart and began working my way down the list. To my own shock and dismay, I discovered that I had already mastered most of them! It was easy to play almost ALL of them and at blazing speeds! I could easily execute (all but paradiddles) without any problem. My paradiddles DID need some work. Otherwise, it was a simple matter of memorization. I needed to memorize the names that went with each rudimental pattern. Within three hours sitting with a rudiment chart, I realized I could hold my own against any of the rudiment freaks . . . and my drum solos were topping their's by a country mile! Along with the rudiments (that occurred naturally within the solos), I was also honing the dynamics, rhythmic creativity and color that makes a great solo . . . a great solo. That was the day that I realized that we don't "WORK" the drums . . . we "PLAY" them!

    So; you should do those solo jams daily, as a warm up. Make it a routine habit. But, there's still more I can tell you that will help you develop smoking chops . . . We aren't finished yet.


  4. The Classic Fills:
    Rudiments are absolutely useless if we don't understand how to use them to improve our playing. The rudiment charts and the devoted repetition mean nothing, if we aren't taught the many numerous ways they can be manipulated and used to beef-up our on-stage performances.

    There are now up to 400+ documented rudiments around the world. What started with Bill Ludwig's first 13 rudiments in 1933 has now grown to an insane 400 or more documented rudiments that are supposed to 'magically create' a monster drummer. EeeeeYuk!

    I discovered a great secret, only through teaching every day for many years. This next tip will benefit all of you in your quest for coordination perfection as you're trying to develop absolute equality in your coordinating abilities, with both hands and feet.

    As a teacher, I was vehemently opposed to boring drills. I've never done them, and I flatly refused to put my students through it. I've always thought there should be better ways to develop coordination perfection without the mind-numbing drills. Then after a few hundred daily students and a few interesting experiments, a big secret revealed itself to me one day . . .

    The rudiments (all 400+) are made up of just 6 (or 8 at the most) note-values. As we master the note-values (as fills), using specific, and very important stroke patterns, we get ALL 400+ RUDIMENTS by proxy at once and in 1/100th the time, while having a great time, just playing!

    I also discovered (as I experimented with various private students) that; as they mastered an easy to play 'half-bar' fill and as they used it routinely while jamming with songs, the fills grew to perfection almost over-night . . . without any boring drill. Most half-bar (classic note-value) fills can be developed within a few minutes of repetition. Once the student has quickly developed the ability to execute the fill steadily with a beat, we do it with a song in progress. As that takes hold, the student will naturally use it all the time whenever the opportunity arises in any song they play. As confidence builds with the half-bar fills, they soon learn to simply double what they've been doing to begin creating whole-bar fills. From there it goes ballistic! Next, they begin combining fill types with other fill types and Voila', the rudiments are reborn and re-invented in the exact same way they were invented in the first place!

    Ask yourself where the rudiments came from! They came from those who invented them . . . by playing imaginatively! . . . CASE CLOSED!

    Well, not really! There's more value to be stressed here. As those students learned the NOTE-VALUES by playing fun interesting fills, they also began to come to grips with the abstractions of the NOTE VALUE SYSTEM itself. It helped them figure it all out on their own, intuitively. Those students learned to read notation ten times faster as a result. That was a the built-in bonus for not focusing on drill, but focusing on FUN instead. . . . It works, folks.

    Master the fill lessons as they appear here within this course. Soon you'll be sight-reading notation too, as a bonus. The very BEST example is on Lesson Menu #1. It's Lesson #11. Look for the link, Rudiments, Rolls and Fills (Part 1B): SPICE UP YOUR FILLS!" . Take your time with that particular lesson. It's six or eight lessons rolled into one. But, you'll be mastering Rudiments, plus the note-values at the same time. AND . . . those particular fills are the exact fills you will be needing and using most, as you play along with recordings or work with bands. As a result, you'll get the other 396+ rudiments by proxy.


  6. Beat Variations and Syncopations: The next very best thing we can do to pull the sluggish weak hand or foot out of the mud, is to master beat variations and syncopations with both the snare and bass drum. A syncopation (for us drummers) is essentially when we drop a quick 16th-note to the snare or the bass, that falls IN-BETWEEN the steady flow of the cymbal notes, in whatever beat-structure we might be playing. Within certain margins, we can inject syncopations (syncs.) almost anywhere to spice-up the rhythms. It's a simple(?) matter of dropping a note (snare or bass) in-btween any of the steady notes in the cymbal stream.

    Actually when the numbers are tallied (see "Finite to Infinity"), there are nearly 4.3 billion variation/sync possibilities existent within each and every measure of the 8th 4/4 (rock beat) alone. All drummers collectively are currently using only about 60 to 80 of those possibilities. The remainder have rarely, (if ever) been used in this era. Some instructors refer to that sort of study as Independence, which is a good term for the final result. We learn to play different rhythms against or independently of each other, between the bass/snare and steady cymbal flow. Each limb will be doing independent rhythms opposed to each other.

    There are several lessons on this topic within the course. Tackle them as you feel you are ready. The best one is the #3 lesson on Lesson Menu #2. That lesson focuses on bass syncs. Bass syncs are the heart and soul of Funk music styles. They're used in almost every genre, from Rap to Jazz and even C&W music. Every drummer worth their salt will play a boatload of bass and snare syncs. This is the stuff that most assuredly will kick your coordinating abilities into high gear.

    Some teachers teach this material in long strings of very difficult bass and snare sync injections within an 8th 4/4 (rock) beat. They'll show page after page of varied combinations of the same patterns turned every which way. Common logic and some serious thought will prove that there really are only 5 primary bass syncs that matter the most. If the student masters those five, they will automatically learn on their own to combine them the many numerous practical ways they might be combined. I've found over the years that by stressing those five until the student has mastered them all, achieves the same result as the boring sight reading drill of trying to memorize the many combinations on line after line, page after page in a method book. By focusing tightly on the big five . . . again, we get all the rest by proxy. They're absolutely great for building coordination to polished perfection. The left (or weak) hand and the right foot will come up out of the mud almost over night as we apply that knowledge to the music we love.

    Do these things! You can become a monster drummer in a very short time if you'll make them routine.