Linear Heel-Toe drum fill/flow

Before we begin – I don’t expect you to have all aspects of this lesson mastered within a week. This lesson presents several ideas that will take some time to get comfortable with, so focus on one or two aspects per week, building up to the final couple of exercises.

This lesson is going to cover a number of movements I utilize to place faster linear fills around the kit, only we’re going to limit ourselves to using three limbs: right hand, left hand, and kick.

There are a few patterns I like to move between when performing these types of fills and I’m going to show you them all in this lesson. The first: R L K K or L R K K. In the example below, you’ll see the hands are placed on the snare and a rack tom, but this is just to differentiate the left from the right sonically – please practice this across all the different voices on your kit.


Exercise 1 – Right/Left flow

The point of this exercise is to start to develop flow when switching between right and left, and when using a single pedal. The notation below shows the pattern as a 4/4 count but because I have four toms and a snare (five voices), the count I use in the exercise video is 5/4.

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Exercise 2 – Two and Four flow

This exercise takes the previous of a step further. We’re going to keep the hands playing Right then Left, but in patterns of two and four, so R L K K and R L R L K K. Don’t limit yourself to just playing this on the snare and tom – move around the kit freely.

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Exercise 3 – Combined R L / L R / R L R L / L R L R / KK Flow

For this exercise, please set up your own metronome at a comfortable speed and practice playing combinations of R L K K / L R K K / R L R L K K / L R L R K K. Four combinations, played across however many voices you have on your setup, played as freely as possible. The goal is to be able to flow around the kit without thought, so start slowly and at first, make conscious decisions to play all four of the patterns. You should be aiming to be able to comfortably change between the four patterns at your will.

Because this exercise is free-flow, I have not programmed notation into the exercise below.

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Exercise 4 – Combined HI-HAT Flow

For this exercise, please set up your own metronome at a comfortable speed and practice playing combinations of R L K K / L R K K / R L R L K K / L R L R K K – Including the closed hi-hat.

Because this exercise is free-flow, I have not programmed notation into the exercise below.

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Exercise 5 – Groove & Combined flow

For this exercise, we’re going to play 3 bars of groove followed by a bar of the fill flow we’ve been practicing. Practice starting the fill before the bar too, playing the fill for part of the bar, and playing the fill OVER the first beat of bar 1.

Because this exercise is free-flow, I have not programmed notation into the exercise below.

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