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Welcome to Rockschool Drums Technical Handbook

In this book you will find printed in full all the rudiments and exercises needed to complete the Technical Exercises section
of Rockschools Drums grade exams.
This book should be read in conjunction with the relevant grade books (DebutGrade 8) published by Rockschool and the
Syllabus Guide for Drums. The Syllabus Guide can be downloaded for free from our website: www.rockschool.co.uk.
In the Rockschool grade exam system, the Technical Exercises form the core of each grade. Mastering them gives players
a valuable insight not only into the types of rudiments and exercises needed for any improvisational work they may be
required to do, but also into the other types of unseen tests they will encounter in the exam, such as the Sight Reading,
Improvisation & Interpretation and Ear Tests, and at Grade 6 or higher, the Quick Study Piece.

This book is divided and ordered by grade, starting with Debut and then progressing from Grade 1 to Grade 8. Its many
features include the following:

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At the start of the book we have included some Frequently Asked Questions which we hope will cover the enquiry topics
most commonly sent in to the Rockschool office by teachers and learners.
A grade-by-grade ordering of technical material showing all the exercises needed to complete the exam.

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Each section is introduced by a page which summarises the content found in each grade. These pages show whats new
grade-by-grade as well as showing, at a glance, the technical work required for each grade.
At Grades 68 the Technical Exercises conclude with a Stylistic Study. Candidates may choose one of the three Studies to
perform in the exam. Please note that the choice of style in the Study will dictate the style of the Quick Study Piece.

Throughout you will find tips on what the examiners are looking for as well as explanations of common musical terms.

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Any suggestions made in the book are not meant to be exhaustive, but will give guidance on some of the more pressing
sticking issues, particularly at the higher grades.

Drums Technical Handbook

We hope you find this book useful and that it will inspire you to approach the Technical Exercises in our exams without fear.
To make best use of it, you will need your kit and either a physical or a virtual metronome which can be downloaded as a
phone app for very little cost.

Grade 3

rade 3t introduces single strokes in


eighth notes, eighth-note triplets

Tempo

q=75

Single strokes

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and 16th notes. Double strokes are in

Technical Work

eighth and 16th notes and are performed


on snare and toms. The paradiddle is a

Group A

Group B

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single in 16th notes with accents on snare


and toms. Flams are again featured in

quarter notes and are joined in this grade


by drags of the same note value. The

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triplets are in eighth notes with accents

Group C

Group D

Group E

Double strokes
ex

Single paradiddle,
(accents on snare & toms)
x

Flams & drags


q

Triplets
(accents on snare & toms)
3

qqq

on snare and toms. In the fill exercise


you should play the snare as a cross stick.

q q q q q q q q q

Group F

Fill (q=80)

The fill itself might include eighth notes,


16th notes, triplets or flams with some
toms, and snare.

Drums Technical Handbook

combination of high, medium and floor

19

Grade 3 Technical Exercises

Track 4

In this section the examiner will ask you to play a selection of exercises drawn from each of the five groups shown below.
In addition there is a fill exercise which you will play using the designated backing track on the CD. You do not need to
memorise the exercises (and can use the book in the exam) but the examiner will be looking for the speed of your response.
The stickings shown (L & R) are there as a guide for right-handed drummers. Left-handed drummers should reverse the
sticking patterns. Before you start the section you will be asked whether you would like to play the exercises along with the
click or hear a single bar of click before you commence the test. Groups AE should be played at q=75.

Group A: Single Strokes

Single strokes in eighth notes, eighth-note triplets and 16th notes

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R

R L R L R L R L R L R L R L R L

R L R L R L R L R L R L R L R L

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[4]

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Group B: Double Strokes

Double strokes in eighth and 16th notes, using snare and toms

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[3]

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R
R
L
L
R
R
L
L
R
R
L
L
R
R
L
L

Group C: Paradiddles

Single paradiddle in 16th notes with accents on snare and toms

> > > > > > > > .


4
.
.

4 .

Drums Technical Handbook

20

Grade 8
quintuplet 32nd notes are performed

Technical Work
Tempo

as single strokes (there are no double

q=6590

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Single strokes

strokes in this section of the Technical

Group A

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Group B

sextuplets around the kit. The Swiss

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which also contains a pataflafla. At

this grade you must perform a triple


ratamacue, there are combined rolls and

Paradiddles
(paradiddle-diddle
alternative paradiddle-diddle)
6

qqqqqq

Triplets
(Swiss Army triplet & pataflafla)

Group D

Ratamacue
(triple)

Group E

Rolls
(seven-stroke roll phrase with
accent on toms, combined rolls)

Group F

Stylistic Study
q=80200
Rock/Metal
Funk
Jazz/Latin/Blues

accents on the toms. A Stylistic Study is


choice of three groups of styles.

Group C

the seven-stroke roll phrase features


included, which you must prepare from a

q q q q q q q q q q

exercise contains a paradiddle-diddle

Army triplet is introduced in an exercise

q q q q q q q q q q q q q q q q q q

q q q q q q q q q q q q q q q q q

Exercises at this grade). The paradiddle


and alternative paradiddle-diddle in

q q q q q q q q q q

Drums Technical Handbook

rade 8's nontuplet and double

45

Grade 8 Technical Exercises


In this section the examiner will ask you to play a selection of exercises drawn from each of the five groups shown below. In
Group E you will be asked to prepare one Stylistic Study from the three printed. The choice of Stylistic Study will determine
the style of the Quick Study Piece. You do not need to memorise the exercises (and can use the book in the exam) but the
examiner will be looking for the speed of your response.
The stickings shown (L & R) are there as a guide for right-handed drummers. Left-handed drummers should reverse the
sticking patterns. All exercises must be played to a metronome click. Groups AE should be played at the tempo shown for
each exercise.

Group A: Single Strokes

Single strokes in quarter notes, eighth notes, eighth-note triplets, 16th notes, quintuplet 16th notes, sextuplet 16th notes,
septuplet 16th notes, 32nd notes, nontuplet 32nd notes and double quintuplet 32nd notes. The tempo is q=65.

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Drums Technical Handbook

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3
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5
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>>>

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>>
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>>>

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5
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[3]
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>>
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