I want to start dropping exercises and ideas here, particularly those that respond to emails or messages I receive on social media as, I hope, the answers will benefit more than just the person asking the question. So here goes.
I play a lot of ghost notes. Before I get into an exercise for you, let me step back a little and quickly tell you what a ghost notes is. If you've ever listened to TesseracT's music, you've heard ghost notes either consciously or subconsciously. They're very quiet notes that I typically play with my left hand on the snare drum, that lead into or out of an accent note. For me, they help to make an otherwise plan beat 'groove'. They make complex beats groove too! They create the feel and the vibe, and they're also a great way to help keep time, once you get used to the basics of course.
Now, I'm going to assume that most of you know what I'm talking about, for simplicity sake so I won't go into more detail here about what a ghost note is. Comment and tell me if I'm jumping ahead too far though!
To be honest, at this stage, I'm not sat down practicing this ghost note pattern that I'm about to recommend, mainly because I've already spent ages with it and it is now automatic for me. But that's not to say that it's not useful for others - If the hand patterns, coordination or dynamics cause you any resistance, then it's a good exercise for you to play with. That is always the sign, by the way. If you're stuck against a creative wall, wondering what to practice or what to write - just start playing. Just turn up. Just put in the time and the idea will present itself. Don't get hung up on the notion that what you're creating is no good, it simply takes time and consistent attempts. If you're trying to find a new idea or technique to practice, start with something you can already do and jam until it becomes something that you struggle to do well - make a note of that idea and evolve from there. That's all I've ever done.
This is two exercises in one, based on a pattern I took from Deception: Concealing Fate Part 2. It's designed to help you build control and speed with your left hand.
At the bottom of this blog, you'll find a link to download audio loops and the MIDI for this exercise, in case like me, you struggle to read music and prefer to learn musically / by ear.
So, start out around 60 bpm and focus on really getting those left hand ghost notes to sit consistently. Increase the speed in 10 bpm increments until the velocity/dynamics of the ghost notes is consistent.
The second exercise here is to place the right hand on the off-beat, as that can often cause the right hand to misbehave, as you try to do something your body doesn't naturally want to do. This is a good thing though - resistance in practice means it's working.
Let me know what you think and if you like this, exercises 1 to 3 are currently available in my 1-to-1 lessons on Patreon. This isn't intended as a sale - I'm going to keep dropping content here, I just wanted to explain why this is lesson 4.