Do You Need To Know Your Rudiments?

Drums

Let's talk Rudiments. Are they important? Time to ruffle the feathers again. 

Before I make anyone upset, I just want to say that rudiments have their benefits. They serve a purpose and they are good to know, but I think they have their time and place. If you're a drum line guy you're probably going to be playing a lot of rudiments, but as a worship drummer, I don't feel it is as important to spend time digging into them. 

Our main focus as worship drummers is trying to be the most rock solid drummer that we can be. After all, our job is to be the backbone.

Paradiddle with Praise?

Now let's talk about rudiments in the worship drumming world. Quite honestly, I just don't see the need to drill these into your head. Now, as far as our hand coordination and warm-ups go, I think rudiments are great to get the blood flowing. Do I think you have to know all of your rudiments and be proficient at them to be a killer drummer? Absolutely not. I see videos all the time of drummers killing it on their rudiments and that's totally rad.  I see guys just grinding it and woodshedding these exercises over and over.  However, I've never once thought, "I'm going to do a double paradiddle fill right here in this chorus." Perhaps that's simply not my style.  But that's exactly what I wanted to talk about: our "style."

Solid Simple Style

Our main focus as worship drummers is trying to be the most rock solid drummer that we can be. After all, our job is to be the backbone. The first thing that comes to my mind when I think about being solid is simplicity. Now, I'm talking about the style of music that we mainly have on Worship Artistry and not really bringing the "gospel" style into it. That's a different story and that style tends to be a little more on the busy side.  You can definitely be a busy player and still be solid, for sure, but most of the modern worship style is based on simplicity.

Conclusion

The style of music we play determines the rudiments (if any) we practice.  When the key is style, and the style is simple, I just don't see the need for spending excess time learning rudiments.  Practice the grooves that we typically play, to a click, and master them. Once you can play those, then sure, practice some rudiments.  More quality practice is always beneficial. Ask yourself, "when am I going to use this?" and focus on the style you play most often.  

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Comments

I needed to hear this, thanks Josh.

One of our drummers is an amazing jazz drummer who gigs in cover bands. He got me started learning rudiments, but I feel so much more satisfaction actually practicing the song, and knowing I am becoming more proficient at playing a song as it was intended. So when I sit down to play, but don't practice rudiments, I always felt a bit guilty.
Thanks for the writeup brother.

Since I found worshipartistry, rudiments are no fun...

I'll have to start by saying Josh, you are a excellent teacher! I could never play with music before, but after countless hours on this site "locking in" grooves, I can honestly call myself a drummer. Was dedicating a lot time on rudiments in the past but recently fell in love with learning worship songs. All hail king Jesus!

Awesome!

Thank you so much man and I'm glad you're progressing in your playing! You just made my day! :)

Rudiments - Different Perspective

Josh,

Thanks for your instructional videos and blogs. I use Worship Artistry for my drum students and myself in our worship band and find them extremely helpful. After reading and re-reading your post, I agree with not becoming overly focused on rudiments, but would like to take a moment to offer alternative perspectives on rudiments.

Rudiments – Latin root of elementum. These are the building blocks of drumming, not just for the snare drum or drum corp (which are really cool, for example DCI), but application across the kit. This is where creativity comes into play, using the different “voices” of the kit and using rudiments as fills. Chances are we are already playing them, we just don’t realize it.

Rudiments can be broken down into single strokes, double strokes, flams, and diddles – but it is how we practice and can apply across the kit. How many times have we asked – “how can I get faster” or “more precise in my fills” – well by slowing down, breaking these apart, and practicing.

What’s in your toolbox? While for the majority of the songs we play, simplicity and playing the groove, is what we are asked to do. Understanding and practicing rudiments adds to our toolbox of drumming skills. If all I know is keeping the 4/4, 3/4 , or 6/8 groove, then I have limited my toolbox. While not going overboard, I usually work through a couple of minutes each lesson with my students understanding a new rudiment, sticking technique (and then reversing, i.e. starting the rudiment with the left hand), and applying that to the kit. Why proper technique – because bad habits are hard to break.

An analogy would be having a guitar player only practice certain chords or a baseball pitcher only knowing how to throw a fastball.

We use rudiments all the time in worship music – Travis Nunn in Jesus Messiah for example. For those a bit on the harder edge – listen to Disciple’s “Erase” – he not only incorporates rudiments, but also plays that part on a high tension marching drum to get a cool effect. Not going to enter into a discussion of what is worship music – that’s another blog post.

Creativity – using the tools. Again, this all has to fit into what the song is requiring, as the worship to our King is paramount. Let’s take one example of a really simple 4/4 groove using a single paradiddle concept: (RLRR LRLL – counting as 16th notes 1e&a…) right hand on the bell of the ride cymbal, left hand on a closed hi-hat, four quarter notes on the bass drum. Play a single paradiddle on the ride and hi-hat, bringing down beats 2 and 4 on the snare. Where do we use it, depends on how creative you and your team are and how to apply– many possibilities. Examples include how David Crowder’s band incorporates different styles into their music.

Lastly, on to simplicity and playing without allowing pride, ego, and over-playing to the detriment of the worship (again another blog post). I believe there is a time and place to creativity express through the kit, but we need to know the tools and feel comfortable using them – Psalm 33:3 Sing unto him a new song; play skillfully with a loud noise.

In His Service,

Tim

Good Words!

Hey Tim! Awesome words my friend and I totally agree. I definitely didn't want folks to think I'm all against the rudiments because I'm most certainly not. I also agree they're great building blocks and I can listen or watch drum corps for daaayyyzzz :) . My thing is that it just isn't something I really think about when I play but like you said we're more than likely playing them already. And that's just me too, so other people have their own ways of learning and things that help them for sure. Love that verse too man it's actually tattooed on my arm!! One of my favs! Thanks for the chat Tim I enjoy hearing from all you guys!!

-Josh

Bass guitar

I want to learn how to play The Bass guitar really good,can you teach me?