How to Practice Drum Rudiments
Drum rudiments are the basic components of drumming. Just as studying anatomy reveals the mechanics of the body, studying rudiments helps to understand and exercise the fundamentals of drumming. If you have been playing the drums for some time, you probably already use these patterns. Boiling them down and focusing your practice will lead to rapid improvement.
The Standard 26 American Drum Rudiments
Use the demonstration videos below to familiarize yourself with each rudiment. Practice them at your own pace, always prioritizing relaxed control over speed. Practicing rudiments is a form of kinesthetic learning. Consider that your mind is teaching the rudiments to your body. This requires patience. Once your body learns the rudiments, speed will come naturally.
Video Reference Guide
- Double Stroke Roll
- Five Stroke Roll
- Seven Stroke Roll
- Flam Accent
- Flam Paradiddle
- The Drag
- Single Drag Tap
- Double Drag Tap
- Double Paradiddle
- Single Ratamacue
- Triple Ratamacue
- Single Stroke Roll
- Nine Stroke Roll
- Ten Stroke Roll
- Eleven Stroke Roll
- Thirteen Stroke Roll
- Fifteen Stroke Roll
- Flam Tap
- Single Paradiddle
- Drag Paradiddle #1
- Drag Paradiddle #2
- Flam Paradiddle-diddle
- Lesson 25
- Double Ratamacue
A brief introduction to the two basic ways to practice each rudiment:
2. Steadily at your fastest relaxed controlled speed
Sample Practice Routine:
- Choose three rudiments to focus on each week.
- Spend 9 minutes per day practicing them.
- Break down the 9 minutes into 3 minutes/rudiment.
- Break down the 3 minutes on each rudiment into:
- 1 1/2 minutes practicing waves from slow-fast-slow.
- 1 1/2 minutes practicing steadily at your fastest relaxed controlled speed.
Sample Practice Routine Applied:
- Double Stroke Roll 1 1/2 minutes slow-fast-slow.
- Double Stroke Roll 1 1/2 minutes steady tempo.
- Five Stroke Roll 1 1/2 minutes slow-fast-slow.
- Five Stroke Roll 1 1/2 minutes steady tempo.
- Seven Stroke Roll 1 1/2 minutes slow-fast-slow.
- Seven Stroke Roll 1 1/2 minutes stead tempo.
Creatively apply each rudiment.
If you are playing a drumset, try splitting your hands up between two surfaces—for example play the rudiment with your right hand on the floor tom and left hand on the snare drum, or with your right hand on the hi-hat and left hand on the snare drum. Creativity is key. Try anything. If you like it, remember it. If you don’t, move on. In this way you will develop your own style and voice. Before deciding if you like a given application, make sure you are playing it accurately.
There are many paths for more in-depth study of rudiments. Two of my personal favorites are a book called The All American Drummer (150 Rudimental Solos) by Charley Wilcoxon and The Rudimental Ritual by Alan Dawson which can be found in a book titled The Drummer’s Complete Vocabulary as taught by Alan Dawson by John Ramsey.
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