The study of rudiments is actually the pursuit of independence. The more rudimental variations one learns, the more coordinative the hands become. Historically, rudiments have predominantly been used in the marching arenas, drum corps, fife corps, parade bands, pipe bands, and marching bands. Drum set artists have been interested in rudiments since the early days of trap drumming, instinctively knowing that rudiments help develop coordination and movement around the set.

The Beast

At the end of chapter one of Bobby Rock’s drumset book Metalmorphosis is a one measure lick Bobby named “The Monster”. A couple of pages are used to break down the lick limb-by-limb, isolating different combinations of what any two limbs are playing, developing the independence necessary to play “The Monster” as a whole. I would daresay not many players, if any, could sight read “The Monster” at first glance.


A Handy Guide To Developing Independence

The following 15 measures represent all combinations of 16th notes with rests. This article will explain how to use this chart to improve rhythmic independence for the drumset.

Step 1. Start With The Hands

The Magnificent Seven

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).

12 Variations of 3/4 Linear Independence Against 4/4 Ostinato Patterns

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?

Ex1: Bass Drum and HiHat Repeat the 3/4 Linear Pattern Against 4/4 Ride and Snare Ostinatos

The Rudimental Electronic Percussion Artists

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.

Rudimental Multi-Tenors: Developing Movement Between The Drums

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.

Types of Double Bass Independence*

[This paper could alternately have been titled "Types of Drum Set Independence". In fact, some examples in this paper include the hi-hat rather than a second bass drum to show that development of the feet through each independence type is not restricted to double bass. Double bass however offers a wider scope of practical examples for each of the types discussed, especially for the last type rudimental.]

Thoughts on the Lakeland DCI Show - What I Saw and Why (July 9 2016)

The stadium was of a small religious college, 22 rows of new concrete and fresh aluminum backside stands good for high school football games.  The college did not seek this drum corps show.  It was contacted by DCI.  Patrons were former Florida corps and high school band members.  Local students were a no-show.  Some volunteered to collect the $10 parking fee.  The stands were half full.  I parking-lotted, took pictures and watched drumlines warm-up.



What is Rudimental Drumming

[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.

EARL STURTZE AND I: Reflections on Modern Rudimental Drumming

I have been drumming almost every day since I was 12 years old.
My first drum teacher used the ”Sturtze Drum instructor”, which was first published in 1956. I am on my fourth copy of his book.

Emotion in Motion

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.

Rudiments in Russia

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.

Why I joined N.A.R.D.

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.

"Game Changers" - One At A Time

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.

Tenor Techniques

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.

Tenor Playing Compared to Snare Playing in an Individual Competition Setting

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.

Developing Flam Coordination and Flexibility

(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.)

Breaking Down the Double Stroke Roll

(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.)

Does Rudimental Drumming Matter?

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.

Why I believe Matched Grip is Superior

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.

Thoughts on Rudimental Snare Drum Contests

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.

Advanced Rudimental Training Tips

Rudimental drumming is very physical, arguably the most physical of all musical expressions, requiring practitioners of the art to train for the purposes of developing endurance, coordination, and speed to the highest degree. Competitive rudimental drumming is about displaying skills, therefore muscle development becomes very important for competition. Competitive rudimental drummers should consider themselves athletes; training becomes mandatory.

The Marching Industry Cult

Pageantry competitions are built upon Erhard Seminar Training, a 1970’s sales tool by former scientologist Warner Erhard.

Recapturing Our Artform

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.

Opening and Closing the Long Roll

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.

The beauty of this rudiment (also called the Double Stroke Open Roll) is two-fold: motion (style) and execution (articulation).

My Favorite Rudimental Books and Solos


1.) Playing by Patterns - James E. Bell, copyright 1971. 37 pages