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Drummer Cafe 20th Anniversary
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How important is practicing rudiments for you?
Which ones are especially useful, and where?
Are they really helpful to everyone, or just for people who want to build their chops to insane levels?

Drum rudiments are a vital part of drumming and I highly recommend that every drummer know, understand and practice them.

The word "rudiment" means "beginning elements" or "first principles". Drum rudiments are the basic building blocks in the art of drumming.

Some players may choose to not learn or practice the rudiments, arguing that they are not useful and don't apply to their style of playing. Generally when I hear a drummer make a statement like that, it comes across as an excuse rather than a good point. Just because someone doesn't USE a particular rudiment in their playing, it doesn't mean they can't.

Although I may not use ALL the rudiments ALL the time, they are ALL valid and have many uses. Just like having a variety of words at your disposal, allowing you to express your thoughts and ideas verbally, so goes the rudiments. By learning all the rudiments, you are increasing your drum language. It's essential in developing a well-rounded technique/knowledge of the instrument.

There are numerous Swiss Army Rudiments, some of which have been adopted to increase the Standard American Rudiments from 26 to the new 40 Standard Drum Rudiments (c. 1984). The 40 Standard Drum Rudiments are available from the Percussive Arts Society, an organization I highly recommend all drummers and percussionists join.

Drum Corp enthusiasts can tell you that new rudiments are being created on a regular basis. Although they may not have become one of the "standard" rudiments, they are valid and have a purpose.

A couple of world class drummers come to mind — Steve Gadd and Billy Cobham — both known for blowing the doors wide open in the use of rudiments on the drumset. These guys took their drum corps backgrounds and allowed them to influence their styles and approaches to playing the drumkit. There are many others ... too many to list here. I would encourage you to pick up some method books and/or videos put out by these two drumming giants.

So practice ALL the rudiments and try to find new and interesting ways to apply them in your playing; even create some of your own. Who knows, maybe in a few years we'll be talking about YOU and how your playing has influenced all of us ... and the world of drumming!


Bart Elliott Bart Elliott is a degreed professional musician and founder of the Drummer Cafe. His 35+ years in the music industry, over 100 albums to his credit, as well as his understanding of contemporary and classical music, makes him a complete and skilled master musician. A highly sought after drummer and percussionist, both live and in the studio, Bart is widely known as a top music educator and gifted teacher, appearing as a guest artist and clinician throughout the USA.



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