Rudiments are the roots of our drumming art form and are every bit as important to a drummer today as ever. They are essentially the alphabet of our drumming language – once a player has learned the alphabet he or she is armed and ready to freely express themselves with a large vocabulary. But there’s more there than just vocabulary:

“To all drummers, the ultimate value of rudiments lies in the physical motions (and techniques) built up within each hand that can then be used separately and completely outside of a rudiment’s context.”

Below are the twelve rudiments that I have identified as containing every hand motion you’ll ever need, as well as a series of exercises to work on each. The strategy here is to develop those twelve so that your hands are armed with all of the essential hand motions and are ready to play anything.

Remember – you are never “done” practicing your rudiments. Although you may master an individual rudiment, continued practice and dedicated training is required to continually fine tune and maintain your hand’s fitness. Playing along with the videos below on a regular basis is the perfect way to do just that! Your hands and the music will thank you!

1. Single Stroke Roll

Purple Singles 2

Purple Singles Develop faster, more consistent single strokes by just dribbling the stick and getting out of the way…. lets be lazy!

16:32 Singles 3

16/32nd Build Up You’re gonna need to think your way through this one – a challenge for both the head and the hands but well worth the work!

2. Double Stroke Roll

Inverts 1

Inverted Diddles  Even out those diddles by developed greater finger support both backwards and forwards.

Irish Spring 1

Irish Spring Open up and even out those diddles by developing a nice powerful “alley-oop” technique in those fingers.

Higga Digga 1

Higga-Digga-Burr  Fast rolls without tendonitis? Sound like a good deal… this is the best way to get there, and its all about giving your wrist a break. 

3. Triple Stroke Roll

4. Buzz Roll

Triples 1

Triple Beat  It’s time for the “alley-oop-oop” – the only way to get solid triple strokes. Still all about the free stroke baby!

Buzz 1

Buzz Roll Easy to play, but hard to play well. Possibly the most physically demanding of all the rudiments, so we use a few neat tricks.

5. Paradiddle

6. Six Stroke Roll

Paradiddle 1

Paradiddle Builder  Have you been thinking about your paradiddles as a simple sticking exercise?… Time to re-think them!

6 Stroke Roll 1

Six Stroke Roll Builder Let’s face it – rolls with accents popping out of them sound sweet. No bones. Learn how to really make them sing.

7. Flams

8. Flam Accent

Flam Builder 1

Flam Builder  Time to start re-using that moeller whip. This one is all about being relaxed and forgetting you have any muscles.

Flam Accent 1

Flam Accent One of the most important of the gateway rudiments. Let them decrescendo and develop those fingers.

9. Flam Tap

10. Inverted Flam Tap

Flam Taps 1

Flam Tap  In this one, you want to be weak. It’s all about having no chops… yep, you heard right. In fact you are going to have to try hard not to work.

Inverted Flam Tap 1

Inverted Flam Tap This one is going to teach you a technique that you will use in hundreds of ways you have never even thought of yet. Get excited.

11. Drags

12. Drag Accent

Drag 3

Drag 4-2-1  A big free stroke followed by a rebound down in finger controlled double strokes. Sounds hard? Not with Bill’s help!

Drag Accent 1

Drag Accent Only in a perfect world can you play a diddle on any accent. Make your world perfect.