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Below are the Sticking Variations in Groups of Seven from Joe Morello’s Master Studies II book (page 74 and 75). Joe and I had been playing around with the 4 group sticking combinations from George Stone’s Stick Control book (page 5) in groups of 5, but then the idea of playing them in groups of seven came up because we wanted something even more challenging.

My advice is to count out loud (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7) with each group while tapping your foot at the beginning of each group. After you feel comfortable with the 4-note patterns set the metronome to 50 BPM and play a group of seven between each click of the metronome.

The trick here is learning to think of two things at the same time. If you can play the 4-note patterns with relative ease, then you can start to devote your thinking to the groups of seven. Watch the video I have provided to get you started. You’ll see that this is a great exercise in coordination, concentration, and confidence!


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Sam Ruttenberg Sam Ruttenberg is an active performer, educator, clinician and author. He received a Bachelors degree from the University of Miami, a Masters degree from the Juilliard School, and endorses Sabian, Vic Firth, Remo, and Taye drums. Sam has published articles in various drumming magazines, transcribed Joe Morello’s book “Master Studies II”, and has published his own book entitled “Drum Tips” (HoneyRock 2009), which is designed to help drummers develop better technique and coordination through increased musicianship. Sam has designed and patented the Vic Firth HingeStix®.

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