The Drums – Double Stroke Roll Part 1

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 35,941
    Expert drummer Wes Crawford demonstrates the double stroke roll on a drum set.

    Wes Crawford

    Wes began his professional music career after graduating with a B.S. in Psychology at Virginia Tech. Soon thereafter, he began performing drumset with the extraordinary Jazz/R&B singer Jane L. Powell, a musical association that lasted eleven years and continues as a managerial relationship. The group toured throughout North America and the Caribbean performing at festivals, universities, resorts, nightclubs, and cruise ships. They opened for such acts as Ray Charles, Melba Moore, Freddie Jackson, Lou Rawls, The Crusaders, Joan Jett, Ernie Watts, and Paula Poundstone, and occasionally performed alongside artists such as Tony Bennett, O.C. Smith, and Dorothy Moore. The 1,300 colleges and universities comprising the National Association for Campus Activities voted the group Entertainer of the Year in 1990, their highest honor, and Jazz Artist of the Year for 1990-1992. During these years of touring, Wes also recorded two albums with Ms. Powell as well as for several outside artists. Wes also conducted electronic percussion seminars at VA Tech and at the Virginia Governor’s School for the Gifted. In 1992, Wes settled with his family in the Washington, DC area as an independent artist on drumset and percussion where he currently performs and records with acts such as Shahin & Sepehr (Higher Octave/Narada world music recording artists), Cocktail Nuts (aka “C-NUTS”- Jazz versions of rock classics, on Wildchild/Mapleshade Records), mrudangam virtuoso Umayalpuram K. Shivaraman (including a clinic at PASIC 2000 and a featured performance at Baltimore Drum Day 2000), Squeeze Bayou (1998 winners of the “Best Non-Louisiana-Based Cajun Band Recording” awarded by the Cajun French Music Association), and Night Life (high-energy show band). Wes has also regularly performed and/or recorded with Aisha Kahlil (of Sweet Honey in the Rock), Eva Cassidy, Catalyst Events’ “Beatswork!,” Zydeco Crayz, Mary Ann Borelli, “Oh Susannah!”, Sugar Jones, and Armadillo recording artist Daryl Davis. His other noteworthy performances and recordings include those with the David Bach Consort (2nd place winner in the 1998 BET unsigned band video contest), Hennesy Jazz Search regional winner Jerry Gordon, and performances with Milestone recording artist Ron Holloway. Wes considers education to be an important link to the future of the percussive arts and teaches drumset privately and at Goucher College in Baltimore, MD. He also performs in public school assemblies with Mosaic, which provided the musical instruction and curriculum for the 2000 Maryland Artist/Teacher Institute. Wes serves as the Director of the annual Drumset And Percussion Camp of the Goucher Summer Arts Institute and as Vice-President of the MD/DE chapter of the Percussive Arts Society. In 2000, Wes started, a site to feature his interactive educational media such as his popular “Drumset Play-Along DVD.” His latest “A Rhythmic Murder Mystery” interactive DVD features a solo electronic drumset concert, which he also performs live. Wes holds Associate Artist relationships with Maryland Drum Company and with Trueline Drumsticks, and he occasionally works as Music Consultant for the not-for-profit Sustainable Environments for Health + Shelter.

    Hi, I am Wes Crawford, and now were going to explore the double stroke roll. Just like its name implies, were going to hit twice with each hand. Now, this is not nearly as intuitive as a single stroke roll, and you probably havent been sitting around your dinner table doing this with your knife and fork, or at your school or office, beating double strokes, but its very, very valuable. A lot of the rolls and marching bands that you hear and drum set solos are using double strokes. Double strokes are difficult to learn, they will take a while. So, this is a step where you will keep practicing, but you can go on to more steps while youre practicing this and getting better and better. Basically were going to do it again as a callisthenic, in other words, slow to fast to slow. If you play slow to fast to slow with the band youre with, youre probably going to get fired. So, its not a real life kind of thing, its something to work your technique and your stamina and your strength all up so that you could then use it musically. The double stroke roll will go right right, left left, right right, left left, all evenly, and we will go slow to fast to slow. This is a demonstration. Its important to be aware of your strokes; straight up and down, using your wrists, and that youre striking in the same place to get the same sound. So, also important with anything in drumming, to make sure youre relaxed throughout your body. One way you might want to test this is try singing a song as you do it. Try singing Yankee Doodle. If youre singing like Yankee Doodle went to town, something like that, youre probably too tense. If youre relaxed when you can do it then youre probably more relaxed throughout your body. Now, the double stroke roll, as you can see, you can go very fast and once you get this down, its much more effortless to continue to play for longer periods then it is with the single stroke roll, so theyre both very important. Theyre the foundations of Western drumming; the single stroke roll and the double stroke roll, and its how we use them that it develops our technique, and will sort of identify what direction we will go, how we want to use things in a lot of our drumming, and will allow you to play so many things.