For me, 4-way independence is one of the most important things everyone should concentrate on. It allows you to free up your limbs from your mind so that you can play whatever you want on the drums. The best resource I have for this is ‘The New Breed‘ by Gary Chester. It’s something I use to practice with every day.
When starting out, for most drummers’ their lead hand and foot (usually, whichever hand you write with) are on the same side of the body. This is often our first mountain to climb as drummers, and it can be a very steep hill to get over. Which can be very frustrating when first starting out.
I’ve gone through these battles myself, and I know how frustrating this can be and I can show you how you can easily overcome it. Below you’ll find a FREE worksheet with some basic 4-way coordination exercises. There are five exercises that will get your 4-way independence going and your limbs working on different rhythms.
Once you’ve gone through these exercises and are able to play them comfortably, I highly encourage you to play them with different limb combinations. This is the same premise that you’ll find in Gary’s book that I recommended above. Simply put, you just need to repeat the same exercises on the worksheet but with your hands reversed. Your weaker hand (your non-lead hand) on the hi-hat and lead hand on the snare.
It’s always important to take these exercises slow and execute accuracy over speed. Remember to avoid flams between hands and feet. If you’re flamming, you’re not doing it right! Speed will come with time, so please exercise some patience.
You can take these exercises even further by changing the rhythms being played on any of the limbs. Try writing out some new exercises for yourself.