How to Improve Drumming Technique: Splitting up Rudiments

How to Improve Drumming Technique. Jazz music drum set.

Whether you are a new drummer wanting to take your playing up to the intermediate level or an intermediate player wanting to take your drumming to the advanced levels, learning to split up rudiments between your hands and feet is an excellent way to do that.

And the great part is you can make it as simple or as advanced as you would like. There’s something here for every skill level!

The goal of splitting up rudiments between your hands and feet is to strengthen the mental connection you have with your drum set.

For instance, take the single stroke roll. It’s the most basic of all the drum rudiments. Practicing singles around the kit with our hands is great, especially if you are a new player, but there is so much more we can do with it.

By splitting that rudiment up between our hands and feet, we can use it to challenge our bodies in ways that playing with only our hands can never do.

Before we dive into this in more detail, I want to clarify that if you are absolutely brand new to drumming, you probably shouldn’t worry about this quite yet. You’re going to have enough to worry about just learning the basics.

But for those of you who have been playing anywhere from a couple of weeks to infinity, this is for you.

Circling back to the single stroke roll mentioned earlier, there is so much we can do with it. There are so many combinations around the kit to be discovered. Oh, and if you don’t have a double bass pedal, just use your hi-hat pedal instead.

Drum notation legend below.

Drum notation legend

Let’s start with exercise 1:

How to improve drumming technique: Splitting up rudiments. Single stroke roll exercise 1

Right hand: snare

Left foot: bass/hi-hat pedal

Right hand: floor tom

Left hand: snare

Rinse and repeat

Practice this at whatever tempo is comfortable for you, but work at it until the tempo and volume remain constant as you switch between your feet and hands. Don’t worry, it’s not going to happen the first day, or probably the tenth day either. But if you practice it on a consistent basis, you’ll get there, I promise.

Another thing I highly encourage is to take this exercise and make it your own. Try leading with the left hand or substitute one drum for another. Go crazy!

You hear that?

That’s the sound of improvement!


Here is another rudiment split for beginners. I highly recommend switching lead hand between your right and left.

How to improve drumming technique: Splitting up rudiments. Single stroke roll exercise 2.


This is a great exercise that incorporates all three toms, the snare drum, and a bunch of bass drum. It gets you moving around the kit. It’s a great challenge for beginner drummers.

How to improve drumming technique: Splitting up rudiments. Single stroke roll exercise 3.


I like this exercise because I feel it makes you play out of your comfort zone by the motion required to play it correctly!

How to improve drumming technique: Splitting up rudiments. Single stroke role exercise 5.


Stepping up the difficulty a little, we have exercise 5. Notice that as you go around the toms clockwise, the pattern has you leading with your left hand which probably wouldn’t be optimal in a musical setting, but it will help your coordination on the drums. And that’s what these exercises are all about.

How to improve drumming technique: Splitting up rudiments. Single stroke roll exercise 6.


This next exercise is going to ramp up the difficulty level, but don’t let the complex look intimidate you. Just take it slow and you’ll tackle it in no time.

Notice this pattern leads with the left hand and also notice the second half veers away from the alternating pattern and instead has you swap between your right foot and your right hand as you make your way from the lowest tom to the highest tom.

How to improve drumming technique: Splitting up rudiments. Single stroke roll exercise 4.

And those are just six examples of what you can come up with by splitting rudiments up between your hands and feet. I don’t know about you but this is the stuff I love practicing because it is such a challenge!

I can’t wait to share ideas about splitting double stroke rolls, paradiddles, and much more.

Until then, I hope this post was insightful and was of some use to all of you. Until next time, keep being awesome.

What to do next?

If you are brand new to music, music production or are interested in learning to play the drums, you can check out my article: How to Hold Drumsticks

You might also want to check out this article: Acoustic Vs. Electronic Drums – Which One is Right for You?

If you are looking at buying your first drum set or any other musical instrument for that matter, take a look at Zzounds. They have a variety of acoustic drum sets and electronic drum sets for purchase.

Photo of author


Andrew has been a life long lover of music. Although starting his musical journey on the guitar, (we won't talk about his skills on that particular instrument) he found his true passion was for drumming and making music to share with others. He also enjoys writing blog posts about off the wall subjects that are very much real—such as Bigfoot, UFOs, and what's up with European mayonnaise. Why is it sweet???
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
Verified by MonsterInsights