4 On 4 Off

This is an advanced version of a the classic 2 On 2 Off timing exercise. A simple hi-hat and snare drum pattern will play for four measures alternating with four measures of silence. The goal is to hold a consistent beat and come out on time after the silent measures. Start simple.

This is a timing game I play with my students—First they have to consistently lock the hi-hat and snare pattern exactly as played on the track. If they can come out on time from the silent measures four times in a row (32 measures) then they can add one bass drum or snare drum hit to a one measure beat. So maybe after 32 measures if they can lock it down, they add a bass drum on beat one every measure. If they can lock that down four times in a row and come out on time, then they can add another hit of their choice. If they miss one time, they stick with the beat they were on and start the repetitions over. The goal is to be accurate four times in a row. This prevents the student taking random shots at timing and adjusting to get back on every time, over playing.

If you are consistently locking and playing freely with 4 On 4 Off, then the goal is to find grey areas, tempos you aren’t as comfortable with, and work those areas. If you are solid at all of these tempos, challenge yourself to play more difficult phrases, solo and play double time.

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Interactive, Goal Oriented