How to Use Quintuplets to Learn to Play Drum Rolls Ending on Either Hand

Playing drums of any kind means that the drummer or percussionist needs to develop their ambidexterity which is the ability to do things well with either hand. In timpani playing we often have to start rolls with one hand and end them on the other hand.

If we don’t practice this technique we either won’t play in rhythm or we’ll sound stiff and unmusical.

Here’s a simple thing to practice:
With your metronome on 60 to the quarter note play 4 sixteenths and a quarter note in one bar, then quintuplet sixteenth notes and a quarter note. Quintuplet sixteenth notes divide the beat by 5 equal notes instead of 4 so when you start the quintuplets with your right hand you will land on the quarter note with your left hand.

Quintuplet Drum Roll Exercise 1

quintuplet drum roll exercise 1

Watch Me Demonstrate this Quintuplet Drum Roll Exercise on Timpani

In this next exercise you will play 8 sixteenth notes followed by a quintuplet and end on a quarter note. This is an important lesson that teaches us that rolls can move in and out of an exact rhythm while staying in tempo.

Start slowly and then increase your speed. It won’t sound too much like a roll at first but it’s important to learn how to change from 4 to 5 subdivisions of the beat without changing tempo.

How to Use Your Metronome to Practice Quintuplet Drum Rolls


quintuplet drum roll exercise 2

Remember: Practice Makes Perfect! Practice these quintuplet roll exercises to perfect your drum rolls!

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