As a young percussionist, we all learn the rudiments. For us, the rudiments are our scales and it is how we learn about technique on a single surface (aka a snare drum). In the concert snare drum repertoire, the 4 stroke ruff doesn’t usually occur until somewhere in the Advanced Snare Drum Studies book by Mitchell Peters, Delécluse’s 12 Etudes or later in Anthony Cirone’s Portrait in Rhythm. It also shows up in the orchestral excerpts (Lieutenant Kijé). Because it is not officially part of the 40 Standard American Rudiments, it is not something we practice at a young age.

Over the years, I have found that by relating the execution of the 4 stroke ruff to other familiar rudiments (flams for instance), the student can grasp the technique required to properly play the 4 stroke ruff. Check out the video for an explanation of this process and leave a comment below if you have another way to teach this rudiment.

Level: Intermediate/Advanced

Dave Gerhart

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