The Drums – Learning Paradiddles

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 30,884
    Expert drummer Wes Crawford breaks down a more advanced technique called the paradiddle on the 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.

    Wes Crawford: Hello! I am Wes Crawford.

    Now, that we have learned our single-stroke roll and our double-stroke roll and we have those techniques that we know about and we have learned our basic two beat and some rock beats, lets expand the hand patterns and show eventually that they can be used in beats too.

    If we combine the single strokes and the double strokes into a single exercise or pattern, thats called a Paradiddle. So, a Paradiddle is two single strokes followed by a double-stroke. If you think of a language whereby two single strokes are called Paras and a double-stroke is called a Diddle youll see how this works, its says itself.

    Paradiddle, ParadiddleSo, you want to practice this combination of singles and doubles into a single exercise. Listen on two different sounds and youll see why this can be valuable.

    So forth to get that same pattern using single strokes and to get the same sound look what youd have to do.

    Much easier if you can learn this pattern and you dont have all this motion going on. So, paradiddles are valuable.

    I say, Paradiddles because they are of different types. If you remember this language role where paras are two single strokes or strokes with opposite hands and diddles are two strokes with the same hand we can do a double paradiddle. A double paradiddle is actually a double paradiddle, so we will gopara para diddle, para para diddleAlways say these lines as you play them and youll connect it more efficiently into the brain down through the muscles on to the drum.

    So, well go para para diddle over-and-over.

    para para diddle, para para diddleAs move to a second drum so you could hear the pattern better. We can also do the triple paradiddle. Its a same thing, same concept.

    We are now going para para para diddle, para para para diddleParas are single strokes, right-left, right-left, right-left, right-right, left-right, left-right, left-right, left-left.

    para para para diddlePractice these slow to fast, to slow also.

    The final paradiddle in the paradiddles group is the paradiddle diddle. Remember diddles are double strokes. So, paradiddle diddle would be para diddle diddle, para diddle diddle or rightleft, right-right, left-left. Rightleft, right-right, left-left. Para diddle diddleSo, thats four paradiddle types. You might want to review all of those and say them as you play them.

    We can combine those into longer chains. So, see drummers find these discrete packets of coordination and then can chain them into longer patterns, and thats how we sometimes learn long patterns of coordination.