My research is based upon an investigation into the relevance of the rudiments to today’s contemporary drummer and how from a performance practice approach these can best be approached, utilised and developed. In order to outline the project, first I’ll need to turn to the rudiments themselves in current practice.
Rudiments are used as an initial gathering of vocabulary for the snare drummers to express themselves. They are derived and developed from the marching drum background. In drumming, a rudiment is one of a number of relatively small hand patterns, which form the foundation for more extended and complex drum patterns. The term rudiment in the context of drumming means not only basic, but also fundamental. While any level of drumming may, in some sense, be broken down by analysis into a series of component rudiments, the term "drum rudiment" is most closely associated with various forms of snare drumming, also known as rudimental drumming. As a drum set player, at times through study and professional playing, I have found myself questioning the necessity and also the manner in which they are taught universally. A couple of quotations from a past and contemporary master respectively, state how essential the rudimental vocabulary is today.
First, Buddy Rich:
Not only is it important that he/she be able to read music, but they must also have a solid background in the art of drumming; that is to say, they must be well versed in all of the rudiments. 
Ari Hoeinig has stated:
Nothing has set me back more than flam paradiddles
Therefore, it is time to reassess the effectiveness of rudimental vocabulary today.
An analogy might be made to learning the piano by first learning scales and arpeggios providing a solid foundation and basic vocabulary. It is through experience in study, teaching and performance I aim to research the concept that practicing any chosen rudiment from a slow marking to fast tempo marking will not yield the most advantageous result to a student who wishes to be a musician that will progress, teach, professionally work and perform in an ensemble context.
Rather a study method using fixed tempo with incremental changes to subdivision is being compiled through literature review, practice and musical improvisation to validate the research topic.
Jazz and fusion master Tony William’s stated:
It’s all in time. Don’t do things faster; faster doesn’t get you anywhere. You have to play in time, in context. Pick a meter, play it, double it, then triple it. Do it in eighth-note triplets, sixteenth notes, sixteenth-note triplets, thirty-second notes, and thirty-second-note triplets. Don’t play arbitrarily faster or slower. It has to be in time. The goal is to play clearly. If you don’t, you’re not expressing yourself; you’re not playing something people can hear. When I first recorded myself, I realised you have to play things that are clear to you so they are clear to somebody else.
This research project is focused on the interrelationship between three themes:
· First, to analyse the current Percussive Arts Society rudiments (to which I’ll return) and gather an assessment of their current relevance to contemporary playing through literature review and transcriptions of contemporaries.
· Secondly, to find and employ a method of practice that best suits the expanding vocabulary of the current professional and student.
· And finally, to record and provide analysis of ongoing results through an improvisational manner to best suit the context of the contemporary player, demonstrating the validity of the practice approaches developed. Linking theory to practice, I examine how the areas of my research described above, feed into my role as a professional, contemporary jazz drummer.
There has been very little research done in this field to date, and by identifying and analysing the influence of past techniques and their evolution, combined with an analysis of current vocabulary within rudimental technique and it’s relationship to the drum set, the importance of this proposed PhD practice-based research project lies in its documentation and analysis to provide a more focused practice approach and method of expression in performance.
This project aims to give the current drummer a method to quickly enhance the forty rudiments laid out by the percussive arts society. The forty Percussive Arts Society International Drum Rudiments consist of the traditional 26 rudiments along with a number of drum corps, orchestral, European, and contemporary drum rudiments.
Joe Morello released the snare drum book Master Studies in 1983 which was the first to mention the table of time, incremental changes to subdivision, concept. In it, he moves from the most basic subdivision through to thirty-second notes. Morello states that the student should practice this approach of moving through subdivision with a metronome to improve the single stroke roll. This approach was encountered in personal studies and was seen used by other lecturers at degree level. The approach is again revisited in Morello’s follow up Master Studies II from 2006. Once again, the approach of utilising subdivisional increments over a fixed repetition on basic rudiments is used to increase speed.
Through a literature review of rudimental and drum set books, I have found two other publications which use the table of time approach that expand upon Morello’s concept. The preliminary exercise chapters in The UnReel drum book from 2003 by Marc Atkinson and Randy Waldman takes this idea and expands upon it. It utilises the table of time, referred in the book as Rhythm Scales. The scales are used not just on the single stroke, but also the paradiddle and flam accent.
In 2009’s Mastering the Tables of Time -- Introducing the Standard Timetable: A Comprehensive Drum set Method to Improve Your Groove, Coordination, Poly Rhythmic, and Soloing Skills. David Stanoch again uses the approach of incremental changes in subdivision to a fixed tempo to improve various concepts relating to hand and four-way coordination. Although the focus is more on four-way coordination, once again the table of time is used on basic rudiments as a manner of improvement.
The current research project has found that practicing to an increase in subdivision while adhering to a constant tempo/pulse allows for a much greater awareness in:
· Polyrhythmic awareness
· Metric modulation
· A strengthening of the weaker side
The realisation from my current research has been that if such an approach was applied to all forty of the Percussive Arts Society rudiments, this would surely increase the ability of the many areas listed above that are expected from contemporary drum set playing in one practice approach as opposed to a separate approach for each area, while arming the contemporary drummer with the necessary vocabulary listed by the Percussive Arts Society.
 Rich, Buddy. Modern Interpretation of Snare Drum Rudiments (1942).
 Hoeinig, Ari. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B6HVENsEGWI