12/8 Subdivisions

The exercise focuses on improving your comfort level with 12/8 Afro patterns, solidifying your time and eventually expanding your possibilities in improvisation.

In the first lesson I'll be showing you a few basic ways a 12/8 pattern can be subdivided.

The first step is to take any 12/8 afro pattern you like and write it out in 6/4. 

You can do this by writing out all 12 notes of the pattern but instead of arranging them in 4 groups of 3, arrange them in 6 groups of two. 

To start out we will keep things simple. The hand pattern for this demonstration will be a basic sticking.

Another aspect of this exercise is the use of your voice. I’ve gotten a lot of value from incorporating my voice into exercises while practicing. 

To start we will sing the rhythm that's created by the sticking pattern in your right hand.Then we will use simple foot patterns to subdivide the hand pattern. The first is a dotted whole note. 

Once you have mastered this exercise singing the right hand rhythm, go back and play it again singing the right foot rhythm.

Next we will divide the hand pattern into 2 parts using dotted half notes.

Then three half notes.

Four dotted quarter notes.

and finally 6 quarter notes.


Its important to have a strong sense of both sides of these rhythms. The rhythm thats created in your right hand, and the rhythm subdivision in your right foot. This exercise is the foundation that we are going to use to expand your ability by using different hand patterns, as well as using the subdivisions created in your feet as starting points for improvisation using the rhythms scale and other jumping off points for improvisation.

I hope you enjoyed this lesson. In the next lesson I will go over how to practice this material with or without a metronome, and along with primary source recordings.

Ill have that up sometime soon. If you have any questions or comments please feel free to contact me. All my info is at my website www.andrewhalljones.com. Im also available for Skype lessons if your interested in digging deeper into any topics. Have fun practicing, and remember: Time with music is time well spent.