How to Play a Paradiddle


The para- diddle is the most important rudiment of them all because contained within this short 4 note rudiment are the two essential building blocks of snare drumming technique

  • Practice your para-diddles so that you can play them in your sleep or at least whenever you want to.
  • Practice your para-diddles going from slow to fast to slow with everything even sounding.
  • Practice your Para-diddles with good high wrist strokes so that you will develop your wrist muscles in your grip.
  • Practice your Para diddles when you’re listening you to your favorite song on the radio.

If you practice with music you will learn to play musically whenever you play and that’s the most important thing to do.

Check out this video lesson where I explain how to play the paradiddle: the most important drum rudiment of them all

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  1. I was sent to this sight to learn rhythm for my right hand better.. was told that a paradiddle is the best way to learn.. I play guitar and my right hand seems to have a problem losing the beat . would you recommend this to practice and learn beats?>

    • Thanks for your question. I think that it’s a great idea for a guitarist to learn a little percussion. Practicing Paradiddles helps with a percussionists ambidexterity and playing drums or percussion helps many other instrumentalists with their rhythm. I have a video lesson called “How to Practice Without getting Bored” and I encourage drummers to practice their rudiments along with music instead of a metronome just to add some interest and to help with “groove”. You could try that with your guitar. Don’t worry about the notes or if you are playing the proper chord to your favorite song or not; simply strum or tap the body of your guitar as if you were strumming along with the beat of the music. I’ve seen many a guitarist use their guitar as a percussion instrument, so why not learn some drumming rudiments that you can play with your hands and fingers. It will help your rhythm, groove and dexterity.

      • Paul M Mouradian says:

        Hi Andrew, regarding the paraddidle how can you develop speed with this rudiment playing pianissimo. e.g. when does the rebound rather individual taps come into play in playing very soft dynamics at a fast speed say mm 160?

        I liked your explanation of the paraddidle as with all your videos


        • Hi Paul and thanks for the question. I don’t think I can pin point exactly at what mm marking on the metronome I switch from strokes to bounces, but I know that it does happen and can happen at varying speeds.
          Try this-Instead of trying to stroke faster and faster try to bounce slower and slower. So, start with an open double stroke roll (RRLLRRLL etc) and gradually slow down your bounces, but make sure that you don’t switch to individual strokes. Then, when you are bouncing as slowly as you are able to do so, match that speed with double strokes. This is what I call the “bridge” between strokes and bounces or between bounces and strokes in keeping with the exercise.
          Playing softly will come with practice and I think once you are comfortable with the concept of bouncing slowly you’ll be able to perform rolls and paradiddles at a variety of dynamic levels.
          I call this concept “Playing fast technique slowly”. In other words, do what you do naturally when you are playing at a fast tempo like bouncing the sticks for a roll at slower speeds. This concept works on many different levels and with many techniques that we as percussionists utilize not only on the snare drum, but on timpani, mallets, etc…This concept works when someone has built up a certain level of proficiency with their technique of course. It doesn’t really work with a complete beginner, but for someone who has developed a bounce roll and is trying to get to that next level of speed and consistency I think this works pretty well.
          Hope that helps!

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