How to Practice Drum Rudiments


Let me start by saying there are many different ways you can practice drum rudiments. You could split them up between different drums, you could accent different notes in the rudiment, or you could even practice them standing on your head!

You can even play paradiddles using single strokes but effectively play a paradiddle between two different drums. I’m not really sure it could be called a true paradiddle.

And yeah, I realize what I just said is very confusing. Let’s move on.

For now, I’m going to stick to the basics and focus on four things you can do if you are a beginner and wondering about how to practice drum rudiments.

How to practice drum rudiments – get yourself a practice pad

If you have a set of drums already, you obviously won’t need to get yourself a practice pad because you have everything you need.

However, if you are brand new and don’t have a drum set yet and want to start learning the drums right now, getting a practice pad is a must.

For those of you who do have a drum set but no practice pad, I’d still recommend investing in one. They’re super nice to have when you’ve got a few minutes to kill and feel like getting some rudiment practice in.

Or even when you’re watching television, why not be productive and kill two birds with one stone? They are so much quieter than the full kit.

You could be watching Jeopardy and working on your double stroke rolls. It’s a win-win.

How to practice drum rudiments. Practice pad.

If you don’t have a music shop close to you, you can head over to zZounds and check out their inventory of practice pads.

Some practice pads come with stands and others do not, so make sure you do your due diligence before purchasing one. If you are fine without a stand and are happy using a foldable chair to set the pad on, you’ll likely be able to save some money there.

How to practice drum rudiments – make sure you have a metronome

This is one of the most important steps in becoming a rock-solid drummer. Playing along to a metronome. It’s super important that you take time during your practice routine to play along with a metronome. It’s how you build your inner clock.

Metronomes come in all shapes and sizes. If you have an electronic kit you probably already have one that’s programmed in.

If you don’t have a metronome, you can buy one online. Again, you can check out zZounds and see if they have anything that catches your eye.

How to practice drum rudiments. Metronome.

The reason metronomes are so important while practicing your rudiments is that they let you know when you are dragging or when you are rushing.

They’ll force you to learn to play smoothly and in time. If you don’t have a well-built-up inner clock you won’t be as accurate as you should be.

I realize playing rudiments to a metronome isn’t what you signed up for when you decided to learn to play the drums, but it is an important aspect of becoming a good drummer. And who knows, maybe you’ll find it to be cathartic after all.

How to practice drum rudiments – practice rudiments at different tempos

Make sure when you are learning a new rudiment to keep the tempo slow. Being able to play the rudiment accurately and consistently is more important than speed. Speed will naturally come with time.

A good tempo to start with is usually around 60 BPM. If you are not so new to drums, this tempo might feel slow to you so feel free to speed it up.

All I’m saying is don’t go trying to impress everyone with how fast you are unless you really can accurately and consistently perform your rudiments.

It’s best to increase the tempo in increments as you get more comfortable performing the sticking necessary for the different rudiments.

Perhaps start at 60 BPM and then increase it to 90 BPM. If that feels comfortable to you, crank it up a little more.

The bottom line is, make sure you practice at different tempos. As an example, you could play single stroke rolls for five minutes at 100 BPM, and then switch to double stroke rolls for five minutes at 60 BPM.

The options are limitless.

How to practice drum rudiments. Snare drum.

How to practice drum rudiments – switch lead hands

This is an area that I feel gets overlooked, especially by beginner drummers, and that is to alternate your lead hand as you work through your rudiment practice. A drummer needs to be able to lead with either hand regardless of whether they are right or left-handed.

Being fully ambidextrous on the drumset is what every drummer should be aspiring for. By doing something as simple as alternating lead hands each time you play a paradiddle you will be making progress towards that goal.

Following this rule means one possible sticking pattern for the single stroke four would like the following: R-L-R-L, L-R-L-R, R-L-R-L, L-R-L-R, etc.

It doesn’t need to be something you do all the time, it’s just something that should be practiced regularly.

And you can change it up and essentially mix and match when you alternate hands. I’ll give you some example sticking ideas for a few different rudiments below.

Single stroke roll: R-L-L-R-R-L-L-R, L-R-R-L-L-R-R-L, R-L-R-L-L-R-L-R

Double stroke roll: R-R-L-L-L-L-R-R, L-L-R-R-R-R-L-L, L-L-R-R-L-L-L-L-R-R-L-L

paradiddle: L-R-L-L-L-R-L-L, R-L-R-R-R-L-R-R

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: What is a DAW? – What Does DAW stand for?

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.

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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???
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