Joe Morello

Functional Drumming Exercises

For the more than 15 years I've been teaching and coaching drum students, I've noticed that there are several technical hurdles we must overcome to play the beats and drum parts that we love. 

Time and again, I have transcribed and shown many of my students drum beats that they wanted to play, only to watch them become frustrated at how long it takes them to learn the coordination necessary to master the beat.  

At times, I too have felt the frustration of finding a beat that I can intellectually understand, but can't technically play.

Functional Drumming Exercises give us a solid foundation on which to build our drumming technique.  Done properly, these exercises will increase our ability and speed to learn more complex rhythms and beats!

The core idea and hope behind Functional Drumming is:  by learning and practicing a set of basic coordination patterns we can establish a solid foundation from which we can more easily play beats and rhythms that are difficult, or time consuming to learn. 

Put another way, functional drumming exercises provide the building blocks with which we can learn and create more complex patterns.  

Typically, most drum students will start with the rudiments, and progress to basic drum set beats, learning a song or two along the way.  I still think that's a great way to learn and to be introduced to the world of drumming.  

However, I believe we should also supplement our teaching of rudiments with functional drumming exercises that focus our attention on our hands and feet, not merely just the hands.

We often spend too much time developing our hands, and then when we begin learning drum set beats, we find it extremely difficult to synchronize our feet.  

Because we haven't spent the time to develop the coordination between our hands and feet, our playing suffers and we become frustrated with our playing.

I've created a simple exercise worksheet that I would love to give to you for free.  If you are interested, click below to sign up for my mailing list and receive your free Functional Drumming Worksheet!