Leaving space is like another note in itself really. Space is extremely important. It is definitely a bad idea to get into the habit or playing every 16th note.
The beauty of drumming is that the spaces one person creates can be filled by another and it means that 2 simple patterns when played together are more than the sum of their 2 parts.
What follows are some patterns to get you used to creating space. When first trying this is will be useful to play "ghost notes" whenever you want to play a space.
You may do this by softly touching the drum or even better stopping your hand from hitting the drum. The idea of "ghosting" is to keep your hand moving at a constant speed and either hit (using various notes) or not the drum.
This does raise the issue of "handing" (which hands you use to play which notes)*.
1) Try the below which leave a 16th note space, while saying 1 e & a and tapping your foot on the beat:
T T T -
2) T - - -
Then shift the beat and complete the exercise for (- T - -), (- - T -), (- - - T)
If you're getting the hang of this try alternating between 2 of the patterns or playing all 4 at once, one after the other.
3) Now lets try some double (16th note) spaces. Keep counting 1 e & a?.. and tapping your foot.
Play this T T - -
Then shift the beat and complete the exercise for (- - T T) (T - - T) (- T T -)
Try mix it up with slaps and flams to make something interesting like F - T T
- - T T would be referred to as being on the up beat, whereas T T - - would be said to be on the down beat. The down beat is on the beat and the upbeat is half way between each beat.
It is important to be able to hold position relative to the beat without actually playing the beat.
A good example of this is the main accompaniment for lolo:
Notice the missing base under 3. Here the beat is inflected you have to be able to feel where the beat (or missing base) is. You might try 'ghosting' the missing base, if you are having some trouble.
Learn some music terminology you'll need.
More djembe exercises to develop your co-ordination, technique and sounds.
Djembe solo ideas - A concept
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