A Case for Rudiments

If you’re like me, a working drummer who went to college for music and does nothing other than drum, rudiments are probably something you’ve grown to appreciate to some capacity. But not all of us are there yet.

Some of us see the rudiments and immediately have negative thoughts towards them. Some of us keep saying we’ll get around to learning them later. Some of us just don’t understand how to apply them or maybe can’t see the end game in spending hours and hours honing just one pattern.

These reasons are ok. I understand them. However, I’d like to present to you a much better understanding of why we should learn and work on rudiments in a fun and creative way as opposed to making them “homework” or “chores” or “mystery filled answers to every drum related question.”

What are Rudiments?

Think of the rudiments as vocabulary. Remember in 6th grade when your teacher would give you a list of words to spell and define? You’d write them over and over with definitions in hopes of expanding your language vocabulary. By learning the words, we were learning more than just the word itself. We were learning how letters and sounds work and how they can come together to create sentences, paragraphs, phrases and stories. The more we understand these words, the easier it is to share our own stories in a fun and creative way.

The rudiments are much like this for drummers. Replace letters with stroke types and wrist movements, rhythms, and timing. The patterns make up words. Combine the patterns to make phases and paragraphs. Add in some creativity and the possibilities are literally limitless. The better we understand these concepts, the better we will be able to express ourselves musically through our grooves, chops, fills and solos.

I’ve attached the 40 Standard Rudiments below but find yourself a copy at pas.org or vicfirth.com. (If you get in touch, there’s odds I will also be able to send you a poster!)

How do we approach the Rudiments for success?

After looking at that, some of you might be a little overwhelmed. That’s ok!!

Our goal isn’t to learn all of them right off the bat. That’s far too much information for your brain to absorb without years of repetition. Our goal is to learn a few of them over an extended period of time that will not only become cool licks, but help us control our muscles and make moving around the kit a little easier.

Now that we’ve slowed our thought process a little, we can pick one of the 40 and work it slowly.

This is a good segue.


I’ve taken the liberty of isolating the rudiments for you.

Each week I will put a poll up on my Twitter (@JeromyABailey) to determine which rudiment we will work on for the entire week.

After we have our results, I will put up a video teaching you all the basics of whatever rudiment we will be working on. This will include a slow explanation of the rudiment, demonstrations, and some exercises to help get you started. I will also be doing live lessons on Periscope to further answer questions and assist in your understanding of the rudiment. You will then go practice and start creating!

Throughout the week, we, myself included, will post our ideas on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Snapchat, and where ever else possible creating the largest collective postings of interesting rudiment ideas ever!

Always remember that our goal is growth. We are looking to gain one great idea as opposed to lots of undeveloped ideas. Take your time. If you’re dig on an idea, hang on to it for an extra week and work it out.

Good luck!

Feel free to get in contact with me through any and all social media at @jeromyabailey or at my website http://jeromyabailey.com.

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