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Drums & Percussion/Drum Rudiments Practice Routine


QUESTION: Dear Mike,

Sorry if this question has already been asked before. (I could find a similar question through the searches I made.) Suppose that a drummer only has 3040 minutes to practice drum rudiments (of which he is fairly familiar). What practice routine would you recommend? Which rudiments should he practice each day and how long should he spend on those rudiments? Should all 40 rudiments be practiced or are there only a select few that require maintenance?

Thanks for the help!


ANSWER: Hi Tony,
It's a great question, whether it's been asked before or not. Taking your time frame into account, I would concentrate on the basic rudiments for most of my allotted time. Singles,doubles, paradiddles and the "stroke rolls". With the rest of your time, rotate one or two other rudiments. Just go down the list. In time you can start spending a little more time on the more complicated rudiments. I do think some are more beneficial, but being proficient with all of the rudiments would be the ultimate goal.
Feel free to ask more questions.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Thanks for the reply, Mike! I really appreciate it.

(1) What practice routine do you personally use (including rudiments or not)? (2) What proportion of your time is spent doing stick control exercises, rudiments, new beats, etc.? How would it differ between beginner, intermediate, and advanced players?

Thanks again!


More good questions. My routine depends on whether I'm preparing for a gig or not. If I am, then I do a shorter version of whatever current warm ups I'm doing, then I shed what I need to for the gig. My warm up routine usually consists of some hand warm ups (singles, doubles, paradiddles and then I'll pick another couple of rudiments). Then I go through the same stuff and add my feet with a samba or second line pattern. Next I'll pick a rudiment and break it up around the whole kit. I may spend a little time reviewing a book I've gone through. Then I put my ipod on shuffle and play whatever comes up (or maybe pick something I don't know that seems challenging).
Beginners should take their time. Go slowly and work the basics (equal time on stick control and beats). Work on playing in time!!!
Then gradually go up the ladder in terms of difficulty. Always learning to groove, groove groove.
Advanced players tend to know what to work on. Always be open to exploring all kinds of music.
Best of luck and have fun!

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Mike Shapiro


I can answer questions regarding drum and percussion subjects. If you have a question about technique, rudiments, grooves, fills, styles, reading (etc.) in relation to the drum set... ask away! I'm also able to help with timpani, vibes, marimba and hand percussion. I can also answer questions regarding the purchasing of drum and percussion instruments and accessories, including vintage and current items. I can help with restoration projects or research with the history of percussion instruments, music, repertoire, manufacturers etc.


I've been playing professionally and teaching music for 25 years. I'm involved in many genres of music and have played with a wide range of musicians from Todd Rundgren to Zubin Mehta. I'm also very interested in the instruments themselves and have owned or played many interesting ones.

Professional Drum Teachers Guild

Bachelor of Music, The Juilliard School

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