LoginCreate ProfileSubscribe



Technique by Sean Mitchell // November 01 2014

This week's lesson is actually a warm up I do before a show, but it can also be a very effective practice routine during those days where you know you won't get a ton of time to practice and still want to feel like you challenged yourself in some way. I am calling this routine poly-rudiments, as the exercise is based on playing two or more rudiments in succession. The great thing about this exercise is that it can be performed by drummers of all skill levels and can be customized to suit your needs. 

The poly-rudiment I tend to generally play most is a five-stroke roll followed by a double paradiddle. As with any rudimentary exercise, make sure you start with your non-dominant hand and alternate sticking. I am a right-handed player so I start the pattern left- handed; south paws will start right-handed. 

Five-stroke Roll, Double Paradiddle, Repeat 

Here are some key points to remember for this exercise: 

Beginners and intermediate drummers need to ensure they are counting their strokes aloud. Using your voice is one of the most effective ways to get your mind and your hands working together. By simply saying the pattern out loud, you will pick up the patterns faster and play them with greater ease. 

For more advanced drummers, use this as a sticking challenge and try to play these at a faster place. Make sure your sticking, strokes and accents are fluid and even. If there is tension, this will not work as effectively. 

For all skill levels, the next component is the second key element to this exercise: playing the exercise with different sizes of sticks in one setting. Start the exercise by playing with the sticks you generally use and do the routine for five minutes without stopping. Once you have completed the first five minutes, grab a larger pair of sticks that you would never play with (I recommend drum corps sticks). Repeat this exercise again for another five minutes. Once you have finished, grab a set of brushes and repeat the exercise again for another five minutes. Once you have cycled through all three sets of sticks/brushes, repeat the entire exercise again.  

As I mentioned earlier, you can customize this exercise by picking whichever rudiments you want and as many as you want. Here are a couple more­­ exercises you can try: 

Seven-stroke Roll, Paradiddle Diddle, Repeat 

Triple-stroke Roll, Flam Tap, Paradiddle, Repeat 

In regular rudimentary practice we play the same sticks and the same rudiment repeatedly to build our understanding of the drumming language and practice our stick control. The purpose of this exercise is to develop your ability to play multiple stickings more fluidly and to quickly adapt to the physical changes that are brought about with different weights of sticks and/or brushes. This is important as it will develop your ability to adapt to new concepts or playing styles and not always stay rooted in what is comfortable. 

Now go get your shed on! 







Login to view comments and join the discussion.

About the Author
Sean Mitchell

Sean Mitchell has been an active participant in the drumming industry for over 20 years. He has studied under Crash Test Dummies drummer Mitch Dorge and Drumming's Global Ambassador Dom Famularo. Sean is also a songwriter and regularly performs with his wife (and singer) Jill Mitchell. Sean proudly endorses Aquarian Drumheads.

Editor's Choice
  • For Your Ears Only

    For Your Ears Only
    Unless you have been living under a rock, you are probably well aware of the dangers we as drummers face... (more)
  • 7 Must-Have Drum Toys For 2017

    7 Must-Have Drum Toys For 2017
    Tax season is soon upon us, and for those of us getting a return it's time to start thinking about that... (more)
  • Billy Cobham

    Billy Cobham
      It is incedibly humbling to talk to someone you respect and admire. And when that person can also... (more)