The Wheel of Rhythm

A question that is commonly asked in our drum lessons is “How can I improve my four-way coordination?”. So in this lesson we are going to address this topic and present a great limb independence exercise that you can use to drastically improve your four-way coordination. This exercise is also a great drum warm-up! 

The concept is simple; each limb plays a different rhythm, and once the four rhythms can be played simultaneously, they are reassigned to different limbs.  

Sounds easy right? It depends on what the rhythms are! But don’t worry, in today’s lesson we will be using quite basic rhythms to introduce what we call

The Wheel of Rhythm  


Here is a diagram of the rhythms that will be played in the first example: 



Now we will have one of the studio’s students Patrick demonstrate the exercise: 


First Rotation



Great job Patrick! What a great student! 


Now we will show the other three possibilities for this given set of rhythms:


Second Rotation





Third Rotation





Fourth Rotation





Now check out this video of Patrick using this concept while playing along to Paint It Black by The Rolling Stones.


Here are the rhythms he will be using: 





Work on this concept diligently and you will see the results in your playing. As mentioned above we used simple rhythms for today’s example. But you can literally put ANY rhythms into this wheel! That’s what makes this exercise so great. 

What to do next? Work on the given examples to fully understand the concept, and then try your own ideas. Remember though that four-way coordination is difficult and that this concept will take A LOT of hard work. So work hard, be patient, be disciplined, and go for it!



Written by Mathew Higden and Brandon Goodwin




Mat Higden Bio

With 7 years of teaching under his belt, Mathew has taught people of all ages and levels as well as students with special needs. He has successfully helped prepare auditions for college and university levels. He is currently the drummer for the punk rock group Reign The Sky and also freelances around Montreal. Mathew has a Bachelors of Fine Arts in Jazz studies from Concordia University. 

Check out Reign In the Sky here:


Brandon Goodwin Bio

Brandon has performed with some of the top musicians in the world, including Grammy-award winning artists Delfeayo Marsalis and Kebbi Williams, as well as ex-Christian Scott saxophonist Braxton Cook. Brandon has worked with Canadian Blues legend Carolyn Fe, both as the drummer in her band and was co-producer on her 2018 release, Sugat Ko. He has also studied with acclaimed drummers Ari Hoenig, Dafnis Prieto and Dan Weiss. 

Brandon is the bandleader of Montreal-based jazz group B's Bees. The group can be seen at various venues around Montreal, and they have played at major jazz festivals and jazz clubs worldwide. 

Check out B's Bees here:

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