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Build A Drum Fill Vocabulary

As you already know, most music we learn in the beginning is in 4/4 time. That means of course that there are 4 beats in each bar of music. That’s why we count to 4. There are many other time signatures to explore however and 6/8 time is a great place for a beginner to start. In 6/8 each bar has six 1/8th notes in it. We count each one as its own beat “1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6”. That’s what you will count when you practice these 6/8 fills. What really sets it apart from 4/4 time is that your 1/8th notes will be grouped into 3s. This is done so that we can see each bar split in half.

You may have learned some groove patterns in 6/8 already, but if you haven’t yet, don’t sweat it. I’ll show you a simple one that you can use with the fills in this lesson. We’ll try a basic example and then the first fill from the PDF together. When you’ve mastered those, then it’s time to learn the rest of the 6/8 fills on the PDF worksheet. This will give you a pretty good understanding of 1/8th note rhythms that are possible in a bar of 6/8 time.

 

Download PDF: 6/8 Fills #1

These fills will help you to break up the 1/8th note rhythm and make your fills more musically interesting. There are 12 fills in total. For each fill you practice, you must count out loud and watch your sticks to make sure your timing and sticking is correct and accurate.

  • In 6/8 time there are six 1/8th notes in each bar. We'll try this simple fill together in the first example.

  • In the first example, we'll play this simple fill in the 4th bar of a musical phrase.

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  • PDF Fill #1. The first step is to loop the fill in this 2-bar exercise. This will help you familiarize with the rhythm and timing of the fill.

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  • After learning fill #1, play this fill in the 4th bar of a musical phrase.

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The recommended tempo range is 90 and 120
Tempo: 90 bpm
Subdivision



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