Rudiments form the foundation of the pipe band drumming style. The following list includes some well known and a few little known rudiments but all will help you develop your dexterity, facility and hand speed--especially if you practice them hand to hand (with both right and left hand lead). There are other types of rudiments beyond the pipe band world which can help your snare drumming--notably the P.A.S. (Percussive Arts Society) 40 Rudiments and the ever growing library of Hybrid Rudiments used in DCI corps.
When practising your rudiments, always use a metronome. The metronome not only helps you keep a steady tempo and improves subdivision skills, but it also provides a method of tracking your progress.
Rudiments are often overlooked and under appreciated as part of a drummer's education. However, as any truly great drummer will tell you, mastery of the rudiments are at the heart of their success. All great drummers practice their rudiments daily and if you want to be great someday your work starts here!
The 60 rudiments section of the site is divided into three levels: beginner, intermediate and advanced. Incorporated into each level is a system of "prerequisites"--that's a fancy word meaning "complicated things are always made up of simple things, so learn the simple things first". Because many of the level I rudiments are used as prerequisites for subsequent levels it is important to have a good grounding in beginner rudiments before advancing. To achieve the best results, the rudiments should be practiced in numerical order from 1 to 60.
By clicking on the links below you will begin your journey through the 60 rudiments of pipe band drumming. The rudiments on the site are presented in their simplest rhythmic variations and all roll rudiments are presented as individual taps and buzz strokes. Video examples are included with each rudiment to facilitate the learning process. Once you have completed all the rudiments on the website and want to learn more, you can purchase "Zero to 60: The 60 Rudiments of Pipe Band Drumming in the Five Pipe Band Styles" (available as an eBook in the Store section of the site). Zero to 60 includes over 850 lines of rudiment exercises and presents the rudiments in the context of the five styles of pipe band drumming: March (2/4, 3/4, 4/4, 5/4 and 2/4 Hornpipe), Reel (2/2 Round, 2/2 Pointed, 3/2 Waltz), Jig (6/8 and 9/8 Slip Jig), 6/8 March (6/8, 9/8 and 12/8 Marches) and Strathspey (4/4 Strathspey). To help you navigate through the Zero to 60 book I have created a "Rudiment Profile" tracking document that is available in the "subscribers" section.
The "Foundation Strokes" are the seven basic stick motions of pipe band drumming upon which every rudiment is built. Mastering your foundation strokes can greatly increase your physical awareness, dexterity and coordination giving your rudiment practice a palpable boost.
These are the first rudiments you should learn as a pipe band drummer--the basics. Your rudiment journey begins here with the introduction of singles, doubles, triplets, basic rolls and flams. In a school setting, completing the beginner rudiments list is an achievable goal for first year players.
Level II: Intermediate Rudiments
Level II introduces the majority of flam rudiments and basic drag rudiments as well as even numbered rolls. In a school setting, most students should have a solid grasp on their level II rudiments by the end of their second or third year.
Level III presents the biggest challenge. Besides building on the prerequisites from level II, most rudiments in level III incorporate difficult combinations of foundation strokes. These rudiments are complex but are required if your goal is to play in a competitive pipe band in grade 3 or above. Motivated students should be proficient in their level III rudiments by the end of their fourth year.