drum rudiments for beginners - title

Drum Rudiments For Beginners – Start Here

Rudiments are the foundation for building and playing any drum groove under the sun. They are miniature studies in a specific concept which will help you with sticking, dynamics, subdivisions, and more.

There are forty rudiments in total, ranging from fairly straightforward to very challenging. If you’re new to rudiments, it is best to start with the basics and work your way up from there. Here we will explore some ideal drum rudiments for beginners.

Read here for in depth information on rudiments.

Note that many players overlook the rudiments, perhaps not knowing what they are, or dismissing them as un-necessary. Make sure you do not make this mistake. Incorporate rudiments into your drumming practice routine to see steady improvement in your skills over time.

Equipment

One great advantage to practicing rudiments is that you don’t even need to be at the drum set. In fact, you don’t even need to own one! Simply get yourself a good practice pad, a pair of sticks, and a metronome.

This can be a great way to get into drumming with these items alone, by seeing if you have the patience to make progress while investing very little money.

Where to begin

Single stroke roll

Find yourself a quiet space and set aside a fixed length of time. You can apply the principles of this drumming practice routine – simply apply all the stages specifically to learning the rudiments.

The most obvious rudiment to begin with is the single stroke roll. Technically simple, it will help you build confidence and speed if approached correctly.

Set the practice pad in front of you at a comfortable height and set the metronome to a nice low setting. I suggest 60 BPM and playing quarter notes as a starting point.

Depending on your ability, change the tempo to suit, there’s no harm in going slower to begin. In fact it will help your time keeping abilities if played accurately.

All you’re going to be doing is alternating between right and left hand one after another at a fixed tempo. That’s it. You’ll be aiming to produce an even tone between strokes without any difference in volume – you will work on dynamics such as accents in more advanced rudiments. For now, stay focused.

drum rudiments for beginners - single stroke roll RLRL

Play at a comfortable tempo for a couple of minutes, ensuring that you’re not making any mistakes. Do the same again, starting with the other hand.

drum rudiments for beginners - single stroke roll LRLR

Then push the tempo up slightly until you find the edge of your comfort zone, and slightly beyond. Continue playing here for a couple of minutes and then bring the tempo back down so you finish with confidence.

As you progress, you may want to switch back and forth between bars of quarter notes and eighth notes.

Single stroke four

This little gem is great for developing little bursts of speed around the drum set. It’s a bit trickier than the single stroke roll, in the sense it uses three sixteenth note triplets followed by an eighth note.

Make sure you practice this one starting with both hands. You’ll probably find that you can achieve higher tempos with the single stroke four because of the pause between sets. As you increase the speed, make sure you’re consistent in volume between hands.

drum rudiments for beginners - single stroke four RLRL

drum rudiments for beginners - single stroke four LRLR

Double stroke roll

This rudiment sounds easy in theory but getting a consistent tone can be challenging. It’s simply played as two strokes with one hand, followed by two strokes with the other, forming a continuous roll.

drum rudiments for beginners - double stroke roll

As you get this rudiment under control, it is fantastic for moving around the drum set, incorporating the bass drum, making for nice little fills.

Single paradiddle

As far as drum rudiments for beginners go, I would say the single paradiddle is a nice challenge and definitely one to master because of its many possible applications around the drum set. But for now, keep it simple by playing only on the practice pad.

Start with your dominant hand at a slow speed, again I recommend 60 BPM to start, and work your way up and to the edge of your comfort zone and slightly beyond, and back down again.

Starting with the right hand:

drum rudiments for beginners - paradiddle RLRR

And the left hand:

drum rudiments for beginners - paradiddle LRLL

Resources

When you’re ready to challenge yourself further, there are hundreds of places to read all about rudiments online. Here’s a couple that I recommend:

Vic Firth’s Drum Rudiment Page

Vic Firth offers clear notation and play along challenges for all 40 rudiments, varying in speed from ‘bronze’ to ‘diamond’ level. You can also download a free PDF for quick reference.

40 Drum Rudiments

If you find videos helpful, 40 Drum Rudiments has a free video lesson for each rudiment, as well as examples of how they can be applied to drum grooves.

Here’s a clip of the single stroke roll video from the site to give you a taste:

Conclusion

With 40 rudiments to build a solid foundation for your drumming, these four drum rudiments for beginners are simply my suggestion for a starting point.

They are basic enough to give you confidence at the beginning but can be used in so many different ways. You can move them around the drum kit, between hands and feet, cymbals and toms, and wherever your imagination takes you. They are simply some of the building blocks you can use as you build your skill from the ground up.

Are you just starting out? What are your favourite rudiments? Please do leave a comment below, I would love to hear from you.

4 thoughts on “Drum Rudiments For Beginners – Start Here”

  1. Wahoo!! What a thorough and useful post. I am looking for online a guide like this to learn how to start a professional drumming career. And thank God, your website will be my to go as I found all points well explained and comprehensive.
    I think starting with the single stroke roll rudiment will help me have confidence and I will start there. Website bookmarked!

    Reply
  2. Very useful information here on this post. Thank you for sharing this with us, John!
    I’ve never tried or thought about playing drums, I’ve always been the guitar type to be honest, but I use to sing sometimes with one of my friends who is incredibly attracted by drums (he’s a beginner) so I ve just sent your website to him, I’m sure he’ll enjoy it.

    Reply
  3. Cheers Alex, I’m sure your friend will benefit from some of these drum rudiments for beginners. Rudiments make a huge difference when learned and practiced properly.

    Reply

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