In this lesson, I’d like to introduce a few basic five-beat fill-ins that include some kicks.

Take a look at Exs. 1–5 and you’ll see that the kick moves forward by one sixteenth note from the first fill to the last. This leaves four hits for your hands, played with a simple single-stroke sticking. Once you get comfortable with it as written, feel free to switch to another sticking over the four sixteenth-notes, like a paradiddle or whatever you like. After you’ve worked through the fills in Exs. 1–5, play the three bars of groove in Ex. 6 and insert one of our five written fills in the fourth bar. It’s helpful to start slowly and use a metronome while practicing.


ANIKA NILLES developed her chops through lessons with Claus Hessler, Udo Dahmen, and Jost Nickel, and further refined her musicianship while earning a degree in Pop Music Design from the University of Popular Music and Music Business in Mannheim, Germany.

Drum Notation Guide