I’ll never forget the first time I played paradiddles (as sixteenth notes) with the quarter note at 250 bpm (beats per minute). Honestly, it was exhilarating! Since then, I have shattered that record and encourage others to do the same. Likewise, I have had students beat my record, which is always a teacher's greatest reward.
From these experiences and playing in a variety of settings, I have come to realize that there are really three rudiments that apply to just about every drumming style and the drum kit, which are the paradiddle, paradiddle-diddle, and pa-da-da (pud-duh-duh).
The key to playing these rudiments strong and fast is technique. From my experience as a drummer and percussion educator, I can attest that mastering the needed technique on each of these rudiments will allow you to play them like a boss. Here is a brief breakdown of each rudiment and a three videos you can check out on how to play each of them with power and speed.
One of the first things I show students is the paradiddle. I can get a beginning drummer playing it within 60 seconds, but I always tell them that even I (someone that has been playing for more than 20 years) can improve my paradiddle chops.
To do this, I focus on three ways of approaching the rudiment, which are accent, tap, and diddles. While the rudiment is simple singles and doubles, there is a difference in how we approach each of these strokes. To learn how to play Strong and Fast Paradiddles using this approach, check out this video.
Like the paradiddle, the paradiddle-diddle can be worked on for a lifetime, but to build power and momentum requires good technique. I like to break the paradiddle-diddle down into three basic elements, which are the accent, tap, and five-stroke roll. To learn how to apply this concept to the paradiddle-diddle check out my video on How to Play Strong & Fast Paradiddle-Diddles below.
I consider the pa-da-da a drumming secret. Honestly, it is used by just about every great drummer I have studied, but it is rarely discussed. One of the reasons might be that it is really all about accent displacement (moving the accent around) that makes this rudiment work in just about every style (rock, pop, jazz, hip-hop, etc.), which can be difficult to teach. Likewise, it requires a great deal of control to play it well. While the basic rudiment is simply RRL RRL or RLL RLL, the key is playing diddles with resolve. To master the pa-da-da take a look at my video How to Play Strong & Fast Pa Da Das.
For more info on drumming, check out John Owens Drums YouTube Channel at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCFKeJAcrLwa64AQU2XZJ9nQ.
You can also find my books about drumming at www.johnowensdrums.com.
John Owens, Ph.D. (Author, Drummer, Educator) is the author of Street Drumming: The People, History, & Grooves, 6 Essential Grooves for Drum Set (Free eBook), and Music at Home: A Parent's Guide to Raising Musically Insightful Kids, which can be found at www.johnowensdrums.com.