By Tiger Bill Published September 3, 2009
These exercises are based on a lesson that I originally developed for a drum clinic and it has become one of my most popular clinics over the years. Drummers always have lots of fun comparing their chops to that of the legendary Buddy Rich, who was capable of maintaining his single stroke roll at speeds of up to about 950 beats per minute (bpm).
Over the years I have found that it is more efficient to develop a fast and clean single stroke roll, like Buddy's, by practicing each hand separately before attempting to put them together. So that's what I want you to do this month. In the written exercise below, play only the circled notes with a single hand as you'll see me demonstrate on the video. Practice using your right hand and then your left. Start at a slow tempo, such as half note equals 100 on the metronome, and increase the speed only after you can play each of the exercises for at least one full minute without stopping and without developing tension anywhere in your fingers, wrists, or arms. This will help build your speed and endurance at the same time.
Start Slow and Aim for Perfection!
Get a notebook to keep a daily log of your top speed and notate whether or not you can hold the exercise for a full 60 seconds. Once you perfect the first exercise, move on to the second using the same metronome tempo. If you have trouble playing the continuous triplets of exercise 2 at the same tempo, simply lower the metronome tempo and find one that allows you to play for a full 60-seconds. Mark it down in your notebook. Take your time when moving up the metronome tempo and don't increase your speed until you can play each exercise cleanly for at least 60-seconds non-stop. If you find yourself becoming tense when playing at a particular speed, slow down the tempo a bit and keep practicing. If you are feeling that you are getting tense as you gain speed, visit my Web site at www.TensionFreeDrumming.com.
Next month we'll practice putting both hands together to execute a complete single stroke roll. I'll also give you the formula table that will let you measure exactly where you stand with the speed of your single stroke roll as compared to that of the late, great Buddy Rich!
For free drum lessons, and expert drumming advice, visit www.TigerBill.com.
Until next time: Have fun and stay loose!
Tiger Bill Meligari