Rudiments concentrate on smoothly executing rhythmical patterns of varying complexity and challenge with strict timing. The point of doing them is that your hand, arm and brain will recall the movement and acquire 'muscle memory'. [misnomer acknowledged]
Any player of any instrument will rely on developing this in fine tuning their playing. The 'memory' is only acquired through repetition and is therefore best achieved in a methodic and consistent manner. For most drum styles these types of exercises reflect the every day rhythmical language hence the title 'rudiments'. You will find that you are doing many of these in your playing already. The rudiments given here are largely drawn from snare drumming with up and down replacing left and right. They are consistent with the way that many forms of drumming are learned. Here are the official 26 snare rudiments although there are hundreds of variations
Striking the drum
For the purpose of practise, these exercises are given for the bottom end of the tipper only, i.e. they do not include the top end triplet. Where triplets are indicated they are to be executed through hand speed using the bottom end only. Progressing players of the top end style will find these useful in developing their style and in understanding what they hear other players are doing.
During practise, the player should strive to make unaccented strokes to be of equal sound and volume, accents should also be consistent in sound and volume.
The notation of the strokes is very straightforward. Accents are given in some examples however during practise you should try to work with accenting each stroke in turn.
- Slow practise = fast progress
- Practising builds stamina (& develops calusses)
- Practise Rudiments, forwards, backwards, upside down, Inside Out and any other varistion you can conceive of
- Try to practise to a regular schedule - 10 minutes twice a day is better than 2 hrs in one weekly session.
- Spend the first few minutes warming up with single strokes and reviewing the last rudiments you practised.
- A metronome is a very useful tool to use when practising, it is very difficult to keep strict tempo as the metronome will demonstrate.
- Make one stroke per metronome beat to start off with. (thanks Craig :)
- The KEY to making the most rapid progress is that the player should practise slowly but with attention to each stroke being executed cleanly and with strict timing.
- When the player can execute the rudiment flawlessly at a given tempo 20 times in a row then s/he can increase the tempo by 5bpm