RD.com Articles
Thoughts on the Lakeland DCI Show - What I Saw and Why (July 9 2016)
Thursday, August 25, 2016
posted by Ken Mazur
Lakeland Florida DCI Show Review - Ken Mazur
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The Beast
Thursday, November 19, 2015
posted by Rick Beckham
How to create a 4-way independence drumset "Beast".
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DEVELOPING 4-LIMB INDEPENDENCE WITH RUDIMENTS: PARADIDDLES
Wednesday, January 14, 2015
posted by Rick Beckham
This article will explore ways to increase 4-limb independence using rudiments in different 2-limb combinations while the other two limbs independently play simple rhythms.
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A Handy Guide To Developing Independence
Thursday, July 18, 2013
posted by Rick Beckham


Developing 4-Limb Independence by using only a 15-measure rhythm chart.

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What is Rudimental Drumming?
Saturday, January 26, 2013
posted by Rick Beckham

So many diverse groups and styles lay claim to the term “rudimental drumming”. Most people associate the term with parade or field drumming, marching groups. Even those groups have evolved since the introduction of drums on the battlefield in the 16th century, splintering from the early days of playing simple command beats into many branches of styles. Today the types of marching units that utilize drums range from ancient Swiss, the earliest practitioners of field drumming, to ancient fife, which is mostly the style from the American Revolutionary period, to modern fife, which breaks from the ancient fife solid tempo of 110 and allows a faster beat of 120, to pipe band drumming, which relies more on buzz rolls and has the unique “dead” stroke, to marching bands and drum and bugle corps that are as diverse themselves as the number of musical idioms (military style, corps style, scramble style, show band, street swagger, orchestral, Broadway production oriented, jazz, etc). With the large number of assorted, and sometimes contrasting, field groups present today, the goal of this paper is to define the term rudimental drumming in such a way that the definition will satisfy not just the variety of drumming with marching units, but all types of drumming.
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The Two Half-Brains of Drum Corps
Saturday, January 26, 2013
posted by Rick Beckham

There is a theory in psychology that people are either left-brain or right-brain dominant, meaning that each person has a preferred mode of thinking. Left-brain people are more objective, rational, logical, analytical, and mathematically oriented. Right-brain people are more intuitive, creative, subjective, and emotional. Left-brain people tend to see the individual parts while right-brain people see the whole picture.
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How Socialism Ruined Drum Corps and Band Competitions in North America
Monday, August 04, 2014
posted by Ken Mazur

Destructive socialist educational policies in America have crept into the competitive marching activities, gradually replacing objective criteria with subjective criteria that rewards the design staff rather than the kids who are on the field competing.

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Earl Sturtze and I: Reflections on Modern Rudimental Drumming
Monday, January 27, 2014
posted by Jerome Mershon

In this article Jerome discusses a number of “Principles” that have developed & guided him for over 60 years and their relation to “The Earl Sturtze Drum Instructor”.
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The Magnificent Seven
Saturday, August 17, 2013
posted by Mark Gibson

Any trap-set drummer who cites just one influence is too much of a copycat IMO; especially in the broad field of Rock Music. Like cooking, a pinch-here and dash-there hopefully makes your style somewhat unique. Although my list of admired drummers is long, I point to seven who shaped my approach over the years. Seven is a good number for me; it's also the age I began drumming (48 yrs ago).
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12 Variations of 3/4 Linear Independence Against 4/4 Ostinato Patterns
Saturday, March 09, 2013
posted by Rick Beckham

The following twelve examples will test your 4-limb coordination. Each example pits 2 limbs playing a repeated 3/4 linear pattern against the other 2 limbs playing ostinato beats. Can you play all twelve?
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Spelling Bee
Sunday, March 03, 2013
posted by Ken Mazur

What would you do if your child entered a spelling bee, spelled every word correctly…and lost? What if the judges couldn’t spell and decided to award placement based on the color of their clothes? Would that be fair? Would you be upset? What if parents spent large sums of money on clothing and accessories to influence the spelling judges? This tragic scenario is happening in high school marching band competitions all over the country.

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The Rudimental Electronic Percussion Artists
Sunday, February 10, 2013
posted by Ken Mazur

To my knowledge, no one else performs solo percussion in venues as diverse as fine dining
restaurants, wine bars, weddings, golf and country clubs, dance clubs, city wide municipal festivals and
lakeside taverns.
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Rudimental Multi-Tenors: Developing Movement Between The Drums
Thursday, February 07, 2013
posted by Rick Beckham

Rudimental drumming is the study of physiological coordination between the two hands. On a snare drum, the movement of the hands is mostly limited to an up-and-down motion. Rudimental multi-tenors require coordination between the hands for playing rudiments, and include the study of movement or motion of the hands between the drums. This paper will discuss the study of movement as the primary learning tool for developing multi-tenor playing skills.
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Types of Double Bass Independence*
Tuesday, February 05, 2013
posted by Rick Beckham

Double bass drumming has evolved through three periods or types of independence; linear, autonomous, and rudimental (4-limb coordination). This paper will explain all three, providing examples that illustrate the defining characteristics of each type.
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Emotion in Motion
Tuesday, February 05, 2013
posted by Robbie Robinson

In 1979, I stepped onto a stage in Birmingham, Alabama to compete in my second DCI individual snare drum competition. Only one year prior I had competed in my first DCI I&E and taken 6th place. This was to be a different performance with a much different outcome. Just twenty four hours prior to my solo performance the Crossmen drum and bugle corps were shockingly eliminated from the DCI finals. It was a day that brought much anger to me and yet I believe, to this day, deep in my heart, that it was just the edge I needed to give the performance of a lifetime. Although the emotional part was the “icing on the cake” so to speak, there were a lot of other elements that went into the playing and performing of that solo. In the follow story I discuss my thoughts, my fears, the discoveries and developing of techniques that would bring to me the 1979 DCI individual snare drum title.
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Rudiments in Russia
Sunday, February 03, 2013
posted by Pavel Stepanov

There is a fact in the history of the European states that drum served as a first "telephone" sending information over distance. In Russia signal drums started to be used in the 17th century. It gained wide popularity during the reign of the Russian Tsar Peter the 1st. In his time signal drummer was assigned to each unit exceeding 100 people. Of course, signals were similar to those existing in Europe at that time, which later became known as rudiments.
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Why I joined N.A.R.D.
Saturday, January 26, 2013
posted by Marshall Digmon

One of my favorite pastimes as a high school freshman was rifling through the filing cabinets in the bandroom. Countless treasures were there for a young percussionist in the days before the Internet. Something that caught my eye and changed my drumming life was finding a copy of The Thirteen Essential Rudiments and The Thirteen Rudiments to Complete the Standard 26 American Drum Rudiments. After discovering these pages, I had to learn what this N.A.R.D. was and how they were in charge of deciding what counted as a rudiment. Internet searching was out of the question, at least in my small corner of the world, at this time in the early 1990s. Despite my lack of available information, I discovered that N.A.R.D. was defunct and had been for years.
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"Game Changers" - One At A Time
Saturday, January 26, 2013
posted by Paul Milano

As the quintessential “line drummer” during my days as a drum corps snare, I always marveled at those who entered individual solo contests. Though I entered a few in my earlier days of drumming, before I made it to “A” corps, I did not compete in a solo contest again until dared to do so by my young sons when I was in my 50s. It was a somewhat scary, but ultimately very fun and very satisfying experience that I recommend to all.
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Tenor Techniques
Saturday, January 26, 2013
posted by James Christian

There seems to be several techniques used by tenor players today. After trying various techniques, I have found the styles discussed below to be the most efficient.

When striking the drum, you should always keep the mallet head close to the rim. Hitting the drum directly in the center usually has a muffled, "dead" sound, and it doesn't carry as far. It also helps minimize on movement from drum to drum. However, on some drums hitting right next to the rim creates a "pingy" sound, and the sound doesn't carry very far in this situation either. So playing about 1-2 inches away from the rim is usually best. I should note that as you begin to play exercises of increasing difficulty, sometimes it can be a challenge just to hit the drums without any rim clicks. When initially learning complicated passages, make an effort to focus on the broad target (the actual drum) in order to develop muscle memory.  As you become more familiar with the basic movements, concentrate more on hitting the drum on the previously mentioned 1-2 inch zone.  This will eliminate excessive arm movement, thereby making it easier to execute.
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Tenor Playing Compared to Snare Playing in an Individual Competition Setting
Saturday, January 26, 2013
posted by James Christian

As I wrote in the previous article, there should be no difference in technique for your approach to snare drum or tenors. Especially on sweep passages, the ability to control the second note of a diddle will reap tremendous benefits. With any rudiment, the interior non-accented beats must be clearly played. Otherwise it will sound muddled.
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Developing Flam Coordination and Flexibility
Saturday, January 26, 2013
posted by Brad Halls

(Author's Note: This article first appeared in the June, 1993 edition of Percussive Notes Magazine. This edition was completed in January 2002 and contains some significant edits from the original.)

The flam and related compound rudiments are among the most challenging for many drummers to master. I think this is not so much because they are difficult (which they are), but because people don't tend to understand them well. In this article I will explain some of the techniques we use at the
Cavaliers Drum and Bugle Corps (from Rosemont, Illinois), to teach flam rudiments.
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Breaking Down the Double Stroke Roll
Saturday, January 26, 2013
posted by John Wooton

(This Article was published in the most recent issue of Percussive Notes (Vol 39 No 4), and is reprinted on the Rudimental Webpage by permission of John Wooton.)

Each year the marching percussion area hosts an individuals competition at the Percussive Arts International Convention.   There are several categories in which to compete including  snare drum, multi-tenor drums, mallet keyboards, multiple percussion, and timpani.  There is high school competition and college competition in each of those categories.  In the snare drum  category the participants are required to break down a long double stroke roll and one other undisclosed rudiment, which is chosen by the  judges at the beginning of the competition.  The  flam paradiddle is usually chosen in the college competition because it is the most difficult rudiment to control at various tempi. However, the flam paradiddle will not be discussed in  this article, but perhaps in a later issue. The only limitation rule for the roll is that it has to be done within a minute.
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Does Rudimental Drumming Matter?
Saturday, January 26, 2013
posted by Greg Griffith

Like proponents of all "well-defined" genres and idioms, "rudimental drumming" advocates often see their activity attacked as philosophically unsound or musically irrelevant because they are unable to offer a bulletproof definition of the activity. Those who would find fault with the activity's proponents, in other words, attempt to exploit tiny loopholes in the definitions of "rudimental drumming" that we offer.
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Why I believe Matched Grip is Superior
Saturday, January 26, 2013
posted by Rick Beckham

My junior high band director, Mr. Frank Adams, taught me matched grip in his beginner band. I was aware of traditional grip, watching set drummers on TV every so often, but didn't really give a hoot about one grip or the other. Eventually I started competing with other drummers, auditioning for spots in regional or state wide concert bands. The auditions usually consisted of sight reading, opening and closing a rudiment or two, and sometimes playing a prepared piece of music, either a solo of the performer's choice or a selection picked by the judges and sent to the performers in advance.
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Thoughts on Rudimental Snare Drum Contests
Saturday, January 26, 2013
posted by Rick Beckham

I've witnessed quite a few snare drum competitions during the years, beginning in 1980 continuing up to the present. Snare drum competitions are fun to compete in, especially fun to spectate, and are a microcosm of an excellent drum corps tournament. All the characteristics are there; amazing displays of skill, mounting tensions, and superb showmanship. Drumming is the most physical musical expression, requiring stamina, endurance, and muscular coordination, and it requires the most imagination to convey a musical message or emotion since the note range is limited. You can't get anymore basic examining someone's abilities with a pair of sticks. That's why, in my opinion, a rudimental snare drum contest is the epitome of assessing the percussive skills of an individual.
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Advanced Rudimental Training Tips
Saturday, January 26, 2013
posted by Rick Beckham

Rudimental drumming is very physical, perhaps the most physical of all musical expressions, requiring practitioners of the art to train for the purposes of developing endurance, coordination, and speed. Competitive rudimental drumming is more about displaying skills than making music, therefore muscle development becomes very important for competition. Competitive rudimental drummers should consider themselves athletes; training becomes mandatory. Practice sessions should be thought of as weight training where exercises are played repetitively with the goals of increasing reps over time and increasing time spent in a session. Rudimental drummers should exercise more than just one area of the hand. Exercises involving the fingers, wrist, forearms, triceps, biceps, shoulders, should be played. In fact, the whole upper body should be  developed, laterals and pecs, and the trainee should include cardiovascular exercise into the workout as well. Players who use only a portion of the arm, only play from the wrists for example, will limit skill advancement. Make sure a metronome is used whenever possible. There's a natural tendency to slow down over time as you tire; a metronome will provide a constant reminder of the tempo. Plus, the more you use a metronome the more your timing will improve.
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The Marching Industry Cult
Saturday, January 26, 2013
posted by Ken Mazur

Pageantry competitions are built upon Erhard Seminar Training, a 1970’s sales tool by former scientologist Warner Erhard. Instead of psychiatry, those seeking help for the self invested up to $300 for Erhard’s lectures in the mid 1970’s and 80’s.  Known as EST, the technique involves psychological analysis, new hopes and dreams, a regained sense of control over life, release from past mistakes and the search for a “new self” using  religious-like connotations and false discipline.  Character is totally irrelevant.  Proof of EST influence is pageantries “get with it”,  “you don’t get it”, “you need to get it” mentality – the perfect vehicle for George Hopkins “modern art experiments”, using incomprehensible mental gibberish and Larry McCormick football field show designs as “values.”.  (Erhard usually warns his audience against thinking – “just be”.  It’s all good. 
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Recapturing Our Artform
Saturday, January 26, 2013
posted by Ken Mazur

Upon listening to marching percussion clinicians and adjudication tapes of recent high school and corps competitions, I am compelled to raise many serious concerns...for the future integrity of our activities...and if there will continue to be any.
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Mazur's Laws - Rudimental Logic: Physics and Training
Saturday, January 26, 2013
posted by Ken Mazur

Moment of Inertian - Center of Gravity
All thinking, and therefor execution, depends on the use of center of growth moment of inertia and chemical reactions in muscle tissue.

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Opening and Closing the Long Roll
Tuesday, January 08, 2013
posted by Art Cappio

I am addressing this rudiment after witnessing some obvious misconceptions in performance at the recent PASIC '96 Snare Drum College Individuals Competition. This was the judges' selected rudiment to be played open-closed-open prior to the prepared solo.
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Who Took the Drum Out of Drum Corps?
Tuesday, January 08, 2013
posted by Ken Mazur

A percussionist not knowing rudiments is like a speaker trying to lecture without syllables.  The language will be primitive.  Rudimental drumming is the building block of all three percussion idioms: rudimental, drum set and orchestral.  However, because of the physical, coordinative and mental demands of the art, we "train" more than "practice".  Orchestral percussion developed as an accompaniment and tertiary art based on the single stroke roll.  Rudimental demands have always been competitive/solo and primarily based on the double stroke roll.  Drum set players have learned the techniques needed to perform consistent double stroke rudiments and are now implementing this advantage in many music avenues thinking through four limbs at a time.  Rudimental drumming is pure in that its execution involves thought patterns that can't be simplified much further, with stickings that are exact and comparable - hence, the term "rudimental". From single, double and triple strokes on one hand, come combinations by the thousands using two hands - musical mathematics - the creativity of an art form.
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My Favorite Rudimental Books and Solos
Tuesday, January 08, 2013
posted by Rick Beckham

My first rudimental book, given to me by the man who taught me how to play, Mr.  Frank J. Adams. This is an excellent book for beginners, it starts off by explaining stick grip, then moves into quarter/eighth note exercises played from wrist tap and arm stroke positions. The first 14 pages of exercises are dedicated to singles, doubles, and paradiddles. Flams begins on page 15. Most of the 26 NARD rudiments are covered, and a few swiss rudiments are thrown in for good measure. I've yet to see a better book for beginners, and it's a shame this book is no longer in print.
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