Dotted 8th Over Straight Quarters Hand Exercise

A variation on a previous exercise that switches the constant quavers played under a syncopated rhythm with constant crotchets.

This lesson will be based on our 3 Over 2 Hand Co Ordination Exercise Using Only 8ths Notes lesson and is really just a slight rhythmic alteration of This Lesson which had a dotted eighth note based Syncopated rhythm on one hand with straight eighth notes on the other. I highly recomend you look through at the second exercise linked previously as it will be heavily referenced on this page.

The focus on this lesson will be changing the note value of the constant rhythm to quarter notes. This may sound like quite a simple change but you might be surprised at how tricky it can be. With the eighth notes you have more to 'latch' the syncopated rhythm onto but now there will be a lot more 'space' in the exercise.

The syncopated rhythm will be exactly the same as in the exercise with constant eighths and this is shown in the lesson linked above. I will start by showing you the one bar version of this exercise and will then break down some of the movements to really make sure you are getting the timing right. Below is the one bar dotted eighth syncopated rhythm over constant quarters, remember the note on the snare is intended to be played with the left anywhere on the kit and the note on the floor tom the right anywhere on the kit:

The one bar version of this exercise

In some ways this exercise is simpler, there are lesson notes in it giving it a simpler rhythm and therefore less to think about. The co ordination challenge presented though I feel is greatly increased. Before progressing to variations on this one bar pattern I will give some broken down versions of this part. If you found the exercise above a breeze feel free to jump ahead.

Let's start with the '1 + a 2'. You start by playing both hands together followed by a left on the 'a' count, which is immediately followed by a right on the '2'. If the rhythm is throwing you, slow it right down and count all 16th notes ('1 e + a 2 e + a'). This short pattern looks like this:

The one bar version of this exercise

Once you are ok with this pattern, add in the '+' after beat 2. So on beat 2 you played the right hand on it's own, after that play a left on it's own. There will be more of a gap between the '2' and '+' count than there was between the '+' and '2'. Again, if you are struggling with the rhythm slow right down and count all 16th notes. The next step looks like this:

The one bar version of this exercise

When you're comfortable with this pattern we'll move on to the second half of the bar, the '3 e 4'. On '3' you will have the right hand played alone then on the next 16th note count (the 'e') you will play a left. This movement will be as quick as the 'a' to '2' from the previous pattern but the hands will now be reversed, so R to L. As with both steps above, if the rhythm isn't sinking it slow right down and count all 16th notes rather than just those you are playing.

The one bar version of this exercise

That's really as much breaking down as you should need. Try going back to that one bar pattern from the start of the lesson now and it should hopefully make much more sense. In the next section I will show some simple variations on this exercise.

Variation 1

I'll start by reversing the hands, so this time the right plays the syncopated rhythm and the left the crotchets.

A multi rhythmed hand co ordination exercise

Variation 2

Next you will extend the pattern over two bars, which is done by adding more of the dotted eighth note pattern in.

A multi rhythmed hand co ordination exercise

Variation 3

Then reverse the hands of the previous pattern.

A multi rhythmed hand co ordination exercise


  1. Learn all exercises at a tempo of at least 140bpm.
  2. Experiment with different orchestrations.
  3. Add feet underneath as quarter or eighth notes. This will give you three separate rhythms.
  4. Try extending the pattern over four bars.