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spacerx img Rudiments, Rolls and Fills (Part 1)

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What is a rudiment?
Rudiments are considered by many to be the basic building blocks of percussive rhythms. A theory exists that repetitious drill (hours and hours of drill) with various roll and stroking patterns will better prepare the hands (and feet) to execute the ideas of the mind.

The theory is true to a great extent; but, rudiment drill is painfully boring, especially for those drumming students who possess a more creative, artistic nature. I say there are better ways to tame that beast, while having an explosive great time, experimenting creatively, expressively and artistically, by jamming with music.

If you have ever watched a live drummer in concert. You may have noticed that playing beats and rolls are their two major functions. The pro drummer will normally hold a steady beat through the vocal parts of the song. Then; between verses, as a song progresses, the drummer will often let go with a roll burst around the toms, and return to the beat again at the beginning of the next verse or section of a song. Those rolls we all play are usually some form of rudiments.

In this way, the drummer will tend to 'fill' the holes, or lulls in the music. These short roll bursts have become known as 'fills'. Many different types of roll patterns will function as 'fills', including MOST of the rudiments on the various rudiment charts.

Rudiments and the 'N.A.R.D.'
In 1933 a group of drummers in Chicago Illinois formed the 'National Association of Rudimental Drummers', led by William F. Ludwig, founder of the Ludwig (and WFL) Drum company. They originated thirteen basic roll patterns to function as a guide in teaching beginning drummers. They called these rolls 'The Thirteen Essential Rudiments of Drumming'. Later, they designed an additional thirteen rudiments, which brought the total to twenty-six. The American public school system adopted these 'rudiments' as the teaching standard nationwide for elementary, high school and college drum squads. These rolls or rudiments consist of gradual, slow to rapid manipulation of the drumsticks using different stroking patterns. The rudimental idea focuses on training the hands to execute virtually any rhythm pattern that the mind might imagine.

Though rudiments are especially useful in helping the student develop coordination and control, they will often dampen the spirits of even the most ambitious students. They are mind-numbingly boring!

The good news!
Do NOT try to learn rudiments from the Rudiment Charts.

The good news is that these twenty-six rudiments are based on a few primary stroke patterns. Master those primary patterns and the rest will be very easy to learn. It is with this idea in mind that I base my methods of instruction. We will learn the rudiments, but we will have fun as we immediately learn to adapt them to our favorite songs.

In spite of what you may think, or what you may have been led to believe previously, I do NOT feel that studying rudiments from the rudiment charts, is the best approach towards mastering the rudiments. It is much too robotic and mechanical. If we immediately adapt them to music as 'fills' we are also developing deeper sensitivities for the dynamics and beat-flow of the music. As we gradually master the rudiments by USING them in song after song, while having a great, artistic and creative time, we are learning in a much more natural and fun way.

The objective is to adapt them to your playing style immediately, as fills. Then as you use them daily, habitually, and routinely, they'll develop without boredom. You'll be having fun, injecting them into the music you love. If you'll learn to use them while jamming with recordings, the rudiments will develop much, much, faster. You will master them naturally and without boredom.

The trick is to memorize them as short (half bar) roll bursts (aka; fills), to be used (or played) spontaneously, in song after song.

If you'll adapt this philosophy towards all the rudiments, I think you'll come to agree that the most practical way, is the best way. It's just common-sense!

The series of lessons beginning on the web page (link) below will launch your learning journey in that direction.

Master the Primary Rudiments The following Way:
It'll Save you tons of Time and Frustration . . .

The 16th Single Stroke 'Fill' is the most logical starting place. This has become the most often used fill pattern in modern music. You should learn it first, then follow the links to all the remaining 'rudimental fills' lessons. All these lessons are located in the, "Rudiments, Rolls and Fills: Part I" section, on LESSON MENU #1.

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