Mastering the Groove: 3 Essential Jazz Drumming Skills

Apr 21 / Von Baron
While there are many different approaches to Jazz drumming, there are certain techniques that are essential for any aspiring Jazz drummer to master.

In this article, I'll explore some of the most important Jazz drumming techniques, including rudiments, stick control, and coordination.

Drumming Rudiments

Drumming rudiments are a set of basic hand patterns that form the foundation of drum set playing. While they may seem challenging at first, rudiments are crucial for developing speed, precision, and control on the drums.

There are many different rudiments, but some of the most important for Jazz drumming include single stroke roll, double stroke roll, paradiddle, and the flam.

The single stroke roll is the most basic rudiment and involves alternating strokes between the right and left hands. The double stroke roll involves two strokes with each hand, while the paradiddle alternates between single and double strokes.

The flam is where one hand plays very close to the drum head while the other is higher and plays an accent note. The close hand plays a split second before the accent hand creating a "flamming" sound. 

Check out the stickings below. R = Right Hand and L = Left Hand. A small r or l is a light tap on the drum.

  1. Single Strokes: RLRL...
  2. Double Strokes: RRLL...
  3. Paradiddles: RLRR LRLL
  4. Flams: lR rL

Practicing rudiments helps to develop muscle memory and build speed and control. Jazz drummers often incorporate rudiments into their playing to add complexity and variety to their drum fills and drum solos.

Join my Brushes Mastery Course to master the 17 essential rudiments for Jazz drumming.  They work work great for both drum brushes and sticks!

Stick Control

Stick control is the ability to manipulate the drumsticks with precision across the drum set. Jazz drumming requires a high level of stick control, as it involves intricate rhythms and complex patterns at various dynamic levels.

One popular exercise for improving stick control is the Moeller Technique. This technique uses a combination of wrist and forearm motions to create a relaxed, fluid drumming motion.

By incorporating the Moeller technique into your playing, you can improve your speed, accuracy, and endurance. Learn the Moeller Technique in my Intro To Jazz Drumming Course

Stick Control, the classic book by Ted Reed, is also a great place to start in learning different combinations of right and left-handed stickings. 

Coordination (Drum Set Independence)

Coordination or drum set independence, is another essential part of Jazz drumming. Jazz drummers need to be able to coordinate their limbs to create complex rhythms and patterns around the drums.

Developing coordination requires practice and patience, but there are several exercises that can help. In my Intro To Jazz Drumming Course, I teach you 10 great coordination-building exercises.

When you're ready to go deeper, join my Jazz Drumming Patterns Course. You'll learn to play the rhythms of your favorite Jazz drummers like Max Roach, Philly Joe Jones and Tony Williams.

Another way to develop Jazz drum set independence, is playing along to Jazz recordings. By listening to and playing along with Jazz recordings, drummers can learn how great drummers use their coordination skills to play with other musicians. You'll also learn the language of Jazz and Jazz drumming.
Enroll in my Intro to Jazz Drumming course and learn 10 killer coordination exercises!
Groove like the greats - Max Roach, Philly Joe Jones, and Tony Williams - with my Jazz Drumming Patterns course! 


So work on those drumming rudiments, develop your stick control, and improve your drum set independence. While it may take some time and practice, the end result is well worth the effort.

So grab your drumsticks and get practicing – the exciting world of Jazz drumming awaits! Keep swinging my friend!
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