By Eric Kamm Published October 3, 2009
Welcome to the second segment of my lesson designed to develop both the speed and endurance of your single stroke roll while letting you compare your speed to that of the legendary Buddy Rich, who was capable of maintaining single strokes at speeds of up to about 950 beats per minute (bpm). If you missed part 1 of this lesson, please check that out first before working on this.
Lst month I had you practice each hand separately, which will make it much easier for you to put both hands together this month. Practice each exercise as shown in the written notation by starting with your right hand first. Then reverse the sticking and play each exercise starting with your left hand. Begin at a comfortable tempo and increase your speed only after you can play each exercise for at least one full minute without stopping and without developing tension in your fingers, wrists, or arms. A good starting point for your metronome tempo when playing both hands would be the top speed that were able to attain when playing last month's lesson with a single hand.
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, lower the metronome tempo and find one that allows you to play for a full 60-seconds. Practice starting your single stroke roll both with the right hand and with the left hand. If you are not able to play these exercises at the same tempos with either hand, practice more on your weaker side. I also suggest that you access my free lessons on Developing Your Weak Hand, which can be found here on drummagazine.com. Ultimately, your hands should both be equal in terms of speed, power, precision, and endurance.
Set a metronome tempo of half-note equal 158 and try to play exercise #2 at that speed. If you can play it smoothly and cleanly without getting tense, then congratulations! Your single stroke roll speed is equal to that of Buddy's! If you can't, don't feel bad. There's a reason that Buddy was considered one of the world's greatest drummers! With the proper kind of practice, you should eventually be successful. If you have no problem keeping up with Buddy's single stroke speed, then kick your metronome up to 167 and play exercise #2. If you can make that, double congratulations! You are capable of playing at speeds of over 1,000 bpm - actually 1002 to be exact! Here's how to figure out the simple formula using Buddy's top speed as an example: Multiply the metronome tempo of 158 by 6 (which is the number of strokes you will be playing between each metronome click) and that equals the total beats per minute that you are playing. In this case 158 X 6 = 948 bpm, which happens to be Buddy's top speed. Have fun with it but remember, if you find yourself becoming tense when playing at a particular tempo, slow down the metronome and work on it regularly. Eventually, you will be able to increase your speed while playing with no tension. If you are having trouble with tension, visit my Web site at http://www.TensionFreeDrumming.com.
Next month we'll practice adding accents to your single stroke roll, something that Buddy Rich had mastered!
Until next time: Have fun and stay loose!
Tiger Bill Meligari