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Rudimental Drumming

A little time with a pad and sticks is time well spent. It’s relaxing and fun all at the same time. Recently, I was looking for a change of pace in the practice routine and decided to take a trip back to the basics by brushing up on my rudimental technique. Previous knowledge flowed back to me with ease as I played through the pages of “The All American Drummer” by Wilcoxon and “14 Modern Contest Solos” by Pratt. Solos from Charlie Wilcoxon, John Pratt and Mitch Markovich all felt great on my hands as I played for hours. Reviewing this material lead me to search out less-familiar titles and came across many old and new sources of material for all rudimental percussionists.

The “N.A.R.D Drum Solos” is a collection of solos contributed by members of the former National Association of Rudimental Drummers. The N.A.R.D is responsible for establishing the 26 essential rudiments for drumming in 1933. Many of the contributers of this collection went on to become familiar names within the drumming world.

The I.A.R.P collection of drum solos presents many new technical challenges to the rudimental vocabulary. The International Association of Rudimental Percussionists was formed in 1990 by David R. Vose. This collection of solos was submitted by the members of the I.A.R.P. Some of the members submitted stylistically traditional pieces while others composed with a more contemporary approach. There is something for everyone in the collection!

Two collections of modern solos became favorites around the pad in short time. “Violent Ice” and “Ziggadabuzz” provide a wealth of new material for the rudimental percussionist. Some of the biggest names in the drum corps and rudimental percussion world have contributed material to these collections. These contributors include: Neil Sylvia, Edward Freytag, J.J. Pipitone, Jeff Moore, Charlie Poole, Mike McIntosh, Jeff Queen, Nick Angelis and countless others.

The most interesting thing I found on my search for new material was a book by Joe Tompkins. “Nine French-American Rudimental Solos” combines the French and American styles of rudimental percussion. The new style came about after exploration of Guy Lefevre’s “Le Tambour- Technique Superieure”. The French use of syncopated accents within groupings and reliance on combinations of ternary rhythms creates and interesting juxtaposition when combined with the balance and solidity of American rudimental percussion.

Rudimental drumming is what you make of it. You can look at it as an unmusical form of percussion with limited purpose or you could look at it as a valuable tool in you’re bank of knowledge. It is a form of drumming that can be taken and molded into what you want it to be. The applications and benefits from this aspect of percussion are never ending and ultimately rewarding.

{ 4 comments… add one }
  • Mark Beecher January 4, 2009, 7:20 pm

    Hey Steve … Mark Beecher here!

    Happy New Year!!

    Just wanted to let you know that N.A.R.D. IS BACK!! I am the new president of The National Association of Rudimental Drummers and it has been approved by Ludwig Drums & Bill Ludwig III, though it is currently privately funded by me.
    Please check out our website … http://nard.us.com

    Former members are also encouraged to join. Lots of Official N.A.R.D. merchandise: t-shirts, hats, mugs, clocks, tote bags and more!

    Hope all is well. BTW … just helped Andy Reamer move Drummer’s Service from Blue Ball to Pittsburgh this past Friday, 1/2/09. Quite an undertaking. Your name came up a few times (only good things 😉

    Many thanks, Steve!
    God Bless,

    Mark Beecher
    President of N.A.R.D.
    N.A.R.D. #8406
    Professor of Music – Percussion
    Drexel University
    Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts & Design
    Performing Arts Department
    2018 MacAlister Hall
    3141 Chestnut Street
    Philadelphia, PA 19104
    Drexel e-mail: meb26@drexel.edu
    Personal e-mail: mbdrums@aol.com
    Endorser for:
    Evans Drumheads
    Ludwig Drums
    Vic Firth Drumsticks

  • Andrew Mroch March 18, 2013, 9:43 am

    Does anyone know if the older IARP publications can be found anywhere. I had them years ago but they didn’t make it home from college.

  • Donald L Johnson May 8, 2013, 12:29 pm

    In December, 1942, I arrived at the U.S. Navy School of Music. Our percussion instructor was Louis Goucher, Chief Musician. His goal for each of his students, was to become proficent with the NARD rudiments, and to be tested for the NARD, and to become a member.
    I am still a drummer, playing with the AlKaly Shrine Band of Pueblo, Colorado.

  • Lynn Goucher July 16, 2014, 1:35 pm

    Hi! I would like to connect with Donald Johnson because he mentions my great uncle, Louis Goucher, chief musician in the Navy . uncle Louis was my great uncle and I would like to learn more about him. I am a jazz violinist but never got to meet him. Can you please connect me with Mr. Johnson? Lynn

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