How to Improve Your Paradiddle-diddles

Dc how to improve your paradiddle diddles
The Paradiddle-diddle is an extremely popular rudiment that should be mastered by every drumline member. However, a lot of rudimental drummers struggle with the ability to play Paradiddle-diddles with flow and consistent taps. In this article, you're going to learn a Paradiddle-diddle break down exercise that will help you improve those two qualities of your Paradiddle-diddles and ensure you can flow through them with ease.

The Concept of Paradiddle-diddles

When you are first learning or refining your Paradiddle-diddles, you can think of them in two ways: 1) Two single strokes followed by two double strokes 2) A Single Paradiddle followed by a double stroke Both ways are accurate, it's just a matter of personal preference. Eventually you'll get to the point where you just consider all six notes as the Paradiddle-diddle, but when you are first learning them the two examples above are great ways to simplify the concept.

The Paradiddle-diddle Break Down

 The first part of this exercise directs your focus to the motion and heights of the primary hand. If you're playing Paradiddle-diddles off the right hand, your right hand is the primary hand. If you're playing Paradiddle-diddles off the left hand, your left hand is the primary hand. The first measure of the exercise looks like this:

Notice that all you're playing is the accent at the beginning of the Paradiddle-diddle followed by the first double stroke in the Paradiddle-diddle. When you practice this measure, you should be sure to focus on the rhythmic clarity of the passage, the motion that you're making with your wrist, and the heights at which you're playing the accents and taps. After you become comfortable with the first measure, move on to the second measure shown below:


In the second measure, you simply add in the second single stroke to fill in the space between the accent and the first double stroke played by the primary hand. The most important thing to do here is not change your primary hand from what you were doing in the first measure. Maintain refined heights, great rhythmic accuracy, and proper technique. When you play the fill-in note, simply play it at tap height to keep it low and relaxed. You'll notice that this measure is simply a grouping of Single Paradiddles with an eighth note rest in between each one. After you become comfortable with the first two measures, move on to the final measure shown below:

In the final measure, you add the last double stroke to complete the Paradiddle-diddle rudiment. Make sure that when you play the full Paradiddle-diddle you keep everything that you worked on developing in the first two measures the same. The four things you should focus on in the final measure are: 1) Consistent sixteenth notes that are all evenly spaced 2) The correct sticking 3) Great definition between your accents and taps 4) Staying relaxed and letting the rudiment flow Once you are comfortable with all three measures individually and at a slow tempo, put them all together for the complete exercise as shown below:

Paradiddle-diddle Break Down Conclusion

Paradiddle-diddles are incredibly popular rudiments and you will see them quite frequently. So no matter how good you feel about your Paradiddle-diddles, it's always a good idea to break them down and work on refining them even more and at faster tempos. As with any new exercise, start slow and practice it to the best of your abilities. Once you've established a solid foundation, start bumping up the tempo every five reps or so and gradually push your limits over time. In the long run, practicing this exercise will ensure that your Paradiddle-diddles look, sound, and feel great!

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Pat McLaughlin

28 August 2013 in Education
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Pat McLaughlin

Pat McLaughlin is the founder of Drumline Chops.  He graduated from the University of North Texas with a degree in music education and is currently the percussion director at West Bloomfield High School.