The Paradiddle

Let´s start with my favourite drum rudiment.

The paradiddle is one of the most used rudiments in my playing on a daily basis.

It gives me the ability to freely move around the kit and to get some pretty awesome drumbeats going.

Let me explain how to get this one mastered slowly but surely.

First things first, all practicing is always done with a metronome specially if we are in the process of learning a new technique or rudiment or any phrasing that is new to us.

So let´start practicing.

Grab your snare drum or practice pad.

Start your metronome at a slow speed let´s say 60 Bpm quarter notes , First as you can see a paradiddle is basically 2 single strokes and then a double stroke.

After playing (r l r r) the mirror image would be (l r l l) by practicing this rudiment you actually train both hands,so both sides of your brain just as much and combining it makes it a paradiddle.

Exercise 1a.: (r l r r l r l l) - Repeat

The key thing to start learning this is NOT!!! accenting any notes yet, making it sound like a single stroke roll.

Try to get all the notes to sound exactly the same with the same amount of dynamics and distance on bounce.

You should be able to hold the speed without mistakes for at least 45 seconds as a criteria to advance up 2 to 4 Bpm it must also sound like a single stroke roll ,be tough on yourself in the long run it will give its benefits.

Once this 60 Bpm speed is mastered push up the tempo with 2 to 4 Bpm intervals.

As you progress and you fail to play a certain speed go back 4 Bpm and try again.

You will come to a magic point something i like to call the pivot point.

Always hitting that same wall getting frustrated and not being able to Physically get faster.

This is where without having technique you will not be able to play the rudiment any faster and you will always bump against this speed more or less lets say at 124 Bpm.

This is the speed you cannot overcome unless you start controlling your technique for singles and double strokes using fingercontrol.

Basically you have to master playing single strokes and double strokes independently faster than this speed as a paradiddle consists of these two strokes.

Needles to say we will look into singles and doubles in-depth in upcoming lessons.

Unless you can do this your paradiddle will sound shaky and you will be using physical force to gain speed making you lose endurance and efficiency and that all leads to loss of strength,exhaustion and finally being unable to keep playing the drums as you cramp up and make mistake after mistake.

This is because simply your body is running out of air and like all endurance sports no air = cramps and cramps = no solid drumming or performance.

Your brain will send the signals but your muscle tissue will just not be able to cope and keep up.

Lets assume you have mastered the technique necessary and things are going great at 124 Bpm and above.

Let´s start accenting.

Exercise 1b.: ( R l r r L r l l ) - Repeat

Apply the same practicing routine start slow 60 Bpm build up until you hit the wall back down 4 Bpm and try to max out slowly but surely.

Now we are going to start adding on the variants.

So lets combine 2 paradiddles together

Exercise 2a.: (r L r r l R l l) - Repeat

Exercise 2b.: (R l r r L r l l / r L r r l R l l) - Repeat

Master exercise 2a first once you have got yourself from slow to fast you can move onto exercise 2b.

Now that we are accenting the notes in exercise 2b the first part has the accents on 1 this is written with a capital R or L or > symbol above the corresponding note and Letter,in the second part the accents shifts onto 2.

Now if you look at this closely the formula is the same (r l r r l r l l) the only thing happening is that by accenting you pronounce certain notes more then others,thus this gives it another feel in the timeframe your playing.

Same process again 60 bpm all the way up to maximum speed.

I also find it handy for practice sake to write down the top speed and always come back to it a bit later and challenge myself to beat my record.

So things are going great lets shift the accent to 3 on the paradiddle so we have....

Exercise 3a.: (r l R r l r L l) - Repeat

Exercise 3b.: (R l r r L r l l r L r r l R l l / r l R r l r L l) - Repeat

Master exercise 3a first once you have got yourself from slow to fast you can move onto exercise 3b.

Same process again 60 Bpm until you get faster and faster.

Lets add the last variant in simple paradiddles so lets shift the accent to note nr 4 and now we have a full phrasing.

Exercise 4a.:(r l r R l r l L)

Exercise 4b.:

(R l r r L r l l r L r r l R l l r l R r l r L l / r l r R l r l L) - Repeat

Master exercise 4a first once you have got yourself from slow to fast you can move onto exercise 4b.

As you can see the last note of the 4th variant accents on L and the first paradiddle on R making it a double accent and the wheel turns around again and starts over.

Its important to have all 4 basic exercises under control independently before you can get upto top speed on the full phrasing and variants.

These are exercises 1a,2a,3a and 4a independently, practice these first until you are comfortable with all of them at slow and faster speeds.

Remember that the full phrasing can only be as fast as the slowest independent exercise so practice hard to get these all fluid and controlled.

The reason to practice them separately is so that your brain memorises the pattern without having to compute it and then the fun part of combining the 4 together is making an endless loop and practicing all 4 one after the other,exercise 4b.

If you master these 4 simple paradiddles just on a snare drum for now or a practice pad then in the beginning you´ll struggle but after lots of practicing it will be like second nature to you.

You will be able to pick any of the 8 exercises while your playing and apply them in a split second without having a brain freeze!!!

The options are limitless can you imagine how the full phrasing sounds if every note plays a different drum or cymbal ??

Try using them as rolls in-between sections in songs.

You can also apply the whole phrasing or variants independently in drum beats, we will get more into detail about that in another lesson.

Important is always to master the rudiment completely first.

Exercises.: 1a,2a,3a,4a before you expand onto Exercises.: 1b,2b,3b,4b it will take your focus away if you skip an exercise and it will shave a good few Bpm of you speed later on in your drumming when you apply them in rolls or beats.

So dedicate your time ,focus on mastering the movements.

Then perform all exercises without reading them from sheet music.

You will slowly feel your body getting used to it and memorising the phrasings until its child´s play to throw them out at any speed desired and any place desired.

have a great practice session.

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