This 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. Starting with your non dominant hand play each rudiment on both the right and left hands in succession then repeat. Try to do each exercise a minimum of 5 times through. The great thing about this exercise is that it can be performed by drummers of all skill levels and you can also create your own groupings to play with.

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.  

Five-stroke Rolls, Double Paradiddles, Repeat 

Seven-stroke Rolls, Paradiddle Diddles, Repeat 

Triple-stroke Rolls, Flam Taps, Paradiddles, Repeat 

Further Study

Utilize brushes, mallets & rutes. 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 doing this exercise with multiple types of sticks or brushes is to quickly adapt to the physical and technical 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 to not always stay rooted in what is comfortable. 

Do these exercises using your feet. We all know how imperative four way coordination is to drummers. This exercise can really give you a work out both physically and mentally. Use this as a double kick warm up or try these exercises between the kick and hi hat. You never know what sorts of grooves or ideas may be inspired by thinking outside the box.

Sean Mitchell is a drummer/artist, songwriter and the creator of Drum Geek.


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