Of all the rudiments the drummer should practice, the single stroke roll is one of the most important. The single stroke roll is the most common rudiment played by all sorts or percussionists and drummers. Even non drummers play the single stroke roll on their laps or in the shower, it is just that common. So then why should we take the time to practice it then? Well, as drummers, we have to master this rudiment, not just know it. So let’s take the time to learn the best ways to practice the single stroke roll.
For those who haven’t figure it out yet, the single stroke roll is basically left, right, left right … Basically alternating your sticking one stroke at a time. Let’s look at what this looks like on paper. For easier viewing, I will use your left hand on the tom, and the right hand on the snare. This way you will be able to distinguish the left from right. If you cannot read sheet music, clikc on this link for a quick lesson on drum notation. Here is what it looks like:
Now it is very important to practice this rudiment regularly. It will help you develop stick control, speed, and endurance. The main essentials for a good drummer. When you get better at this, you will really notice an improvement on your overall drumming in general. Below are a few practice tips to help you master this rudiment a lot quicker than most!
The first thing you should do is practice this rudiment on a practice pad. There are many reasons for this. One, a pad will force you to stick to your rudiment studies. A full drum set will distract you, and you will end up playing more than you should. 2, a practice pad is a lot easier on the ears. Meaning you can play all night without disturbing your neighborhood. And three, a practice pad is portable, meaning you can practice where ever you go!
The next thing you should always do when practice the single stroke roll is practice with a metronome! Practicing the single stroke roll on a metronome will force you to stay on time. Drummers will tend to slow down when they get tired, so keep a click track going when you practice. A metronome will also help you track your progress. This means you will be able to see if you are actually improving by noting how fast you can play the rudiment for.
The last trick you can do in order to develop your single stroke roll is practicing with thicker sticks. This will cause you to use more strength to hit your stick on the pad, thus working out your muscles better. This is a great technique for practicing. Also, try practicing you rudiments on a pillow or blanket. This will take away any bounce from the drum or pad, causing you to work harder for each stroke. This will increase your muscle development immensely!
These are just a few steps you can take to develop your single stroke roll. These exact tips can be used for other drum rudiments like the double stroke roll and the paradiddle as well. Make sure you take the time to master this rudiment!