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Drum Rudiments – Essence of Drumming Technique

Rudiments play a vital role in field of drumming. The word ‘Rudiment’ in drumming means basic patterns or building blocks combining which one could create a variety of music. It is hence essential for every drummer to practice and understand all the rudiments to improve one’s drumming skills and technique. rudiment_ficon2 The origin of rudiments dates back to the 16th century, used primarily by the Swiss army. An initiatory attempt by National Association of  Rudimental Drummers (NARD), an organization established to promote rudimental drumming,resulted in the first 26 essential rudiments for the snare drum. Eventually  Percussion Arts Society (PAS) , recognized the first 26 and added 14 more to form the current 40 International Drum Rudiments. Knowledge and the ability to play the rudiments fluidly helps training your fingers, wrists and hands enabling better control, speed and eventually independence. Practicing rudiments is about proper sticking and maintaining the tempo. It is very essential to observe oneself when practicing the rudiments. Preferably sitting in front of the mirror is a good exercise to observe your posture and your hand and wrist motions while practicing these patterns. rudiment_ficon6 Practice the patterns recursively and repetitively on all surfaces i.e. surfaces with/without rebound and also experiment with heavy sticks. This will develop your wrists and arms and will make you stay more flexible. The key thing to remember is to develop your endurance gradually and hence its essential to consciously start slowly, build speed, hold as long as you can and gradually decrease speed. It is always better to practice these patterns with a metronome or else just begin with counting the beats out loud, this will help you build your internal clock. So practice and experiment with all the rudiments and once you’re able to play them fluidly without a conscious thought try applying them to your playing on the drum kit. And last but not the least always be creative, these patterns are just a means to develop your technique, so combine, create and learn from your own patterns. Have fun practicing!

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"...a fundamental rhythmic pattern which, when practiced diligently, will aid in developing a basic technique for playing the drum."

-Haskel Harr, Percussive Notes in 1979

“Rudiments have long been a controversial subject among drummers and teachers, a controversy resulting from a lack of unified definition of the need and purpose for teaching rudiments.”


 “But [rudiments] do supply us with material for hand development and acquaint us with short rhythmic patterns which we may find in drum music.”


Rudiments – An Alternative Approach


by Laura L. Franklin

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