The single paradiddle (FIGURE 6-9) combines the single stroke roll with the double stroke roll. Its name, not surprisingly, also stems from onomatopoeia. If you say paradiddle out loud, you will hear the relationship between the word and the sound of the rudiment.
You will notice that the paradiddle uses a single-stroke sticking on the first half of the pattern and a double-stroke sticking on the second half of the pattern. The cycle is eight notes long and accents appear on the first and fifth notes. This rudiment uses a snap-tap-bounce-bounce technique. The snap is made with the wrists, the opposing hand makes the tap, and the bounce-bounce is the result of a proper grip and fulcrum. You should practice this rudiment using both the open-closed-open approach and the step method. FIGURE 6-5has been rewritten with a single paradiddle substitution to create FIGURE 6-10.
FIGURE 6-9 Single paradiddle
FIGURE 6-10 Single paradiddle using step method
Combining What You Know
Once you gain proficiency with the big three rudiments, try combining them together in a single exercise. Following, you will see that a four-bar exercise has been written. It begins with singles, then moves to doubles, and then to two measures of single paradiddles. You will notice that the accents have been omitted from the single paradiddle. This is done to create a consistency of sound. Try to make the sixteenths notes sound as even and flowing as possible. In other words, the listener should not notice a change in sticking. This exercise should sound like you're hitting the drum with one hand. FIGURE 6-11is very difficult and should be focused on only after you've gained considerable progress with each individual rudiment.
Once you feel comfortable with FIGURE 6-11, try changing the sticking order. Maybe you will play one measure of paradiddles, one measure of single strokes, and two measures of double strokes. There are a number of permutations at your disposal. You decide!
FIGURE 6-11 Rudimental combination
Open-Closed-Open versus Step
Some instructors have abandoned the traditional open-closed-open approach to teaching the big three rudiments. Instead, they ask their students to use the so-called step method. Often this method is accompanied by strict practice with a metronome. Some teachers contend that the open-closed-open method encourages rushing and dragging and that this will have a negative effect on a student's overall sense of time.
Never practice on a soft surface such as a pillow. Many teachers and books advocate this approach, claiming that pillow practice strengthens your hands and fingers. This method also promotes overexertion, forced and wasted motion, and stiff playing. You're not in training to be a “pillower.” Practice on drums or well-designed pads.
The step method is, undoubtedly, more practical. It promotes rhythmical understanding, and good timekeeping. However, what its promoters don't tell you is that the open-closed-open method allows the student to momentarily set aside issues of time and concentrate on technique alone. In this sense, history has shown the open-closed-open approach to be both efficient and effective. The important thing is to know its role. The open-closed-open method should be used only as an approach to building technique. It should not be confused with issues pertaining to timekeeping.
Once you learn how to control wrist snaps, bounces, and fingers, you should regularly practice both the open-closed-open method and the step method. This way you will benefit from both schools of thought.
In summary, always consider yourself a student of rudiments. All serious drummers practice and review rudiments, just as all pianists, guitarists, and other pitched instrumentalists run scales. This applies to professionals and amateurs alike.