Sharpen Your Rhythmic Awareness and Control

Paradiddle Polyrhythm Pyramid 1The following exercise was going to be called the Paradiddle Polyrhythm Rudiment, but I felt that it was too long to be just one rudiment. Instead, it makes for a formidable polyrhythm exercise in paradiddles. As you practice, keep time with a metronome and tap quarter notes with your bass drum. If some of the polyrhythms are too difficult for you at first, skip them and come back to them later.

Note that although the exercise is written with only one repeat at the end, I suggest mastering each measure individually before attempting to connect them as a complete study.

Paradiddle Polyrhythm Pyramid 2

Paradiddle Polyrhythm Pyramid 3

You can also try different sticking patterns with the exercise, including inverted paradiddles (RLLR LRRL) and double strokes (RRLL or LLRR).

Peter Magadini has played with George Duke, Mose Allison, Chet Baker, and Diana Ross. He is also the author of the award-winning book The Musician’s Guide to Polyrhythms.