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Singles & Doubles - The Best Exercise For Developing Control

Updated: 7 days ago

Hi guys, my name is Andrea Gatti, and I'm the drum and percussion instructor at Drum Arts. I have been playing and teaching for many years. I love to see my students and others growing in their passion. In this video and article, I teach this classic exercise developed on singles and doubles since I believe it's the best exercise for developing control. Singles and doubles are the foundation of drumming; mastering them is a must if we want to have a good technique. I have added a little of my own creativity to this exercise and have made two other versions which you will see in the video. At the end, there is also a bonus exercise. So stay with me and enjoy the learning journey. ;)


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Singles & Doubles - Why are they so important?

Singles and doubles are incredibly important since they are the pillars on which drumming is built. Think of any rudiment -- it is made of a combination of singles and doubles. Think of any sticking -- they are made with a combination of singles and doubles. Think of any fill we play on the kit -- it will be a combination of those. That is why I believe that this is the best exercise to develop control. Mastering these two types of rolls will allow us to be fluent in any kind of technical issue we may encounter.

Download the PDF here

Singles and Doubles
Download PDF • 42KB

Tips to develop control

  1. Double-up speed: Although I do not show this in my video, doubling up parts of the exercise we execute puts us on the spot. In this way, we will develop good control since we continue changing the subdivision (therefore speed) of our execution. Like in the examples I give, execute two measures of singles and two of doubles. Play a version where the singles become 32nd notes and one where the doubles become 32nd notes.

  2. Inverting the "double stroke roll": Another good variation is to invert the doubles. So instead of doing two notes with each hand, we will execute the doubles starting with a single. You will obtain this following sticking: RLLR RLLR RLLR RLLR. The double executed with the right hand will be played between the first and the last sixteenth notes. This will allow you to alternate the starting hand. (See the video and PDF).

  3. Mix the exercises: Once we have developed good control we can combine the two previous versions creating a third version.

  4. Play on top of a "foot ostinato": Our final goal must always be playing on the kit. Sometimes as drummers, we are so worried about our stick technique that we can forget that the result has to be fluid on our kit and also express our ideas. By adding a foot ostinato we challenge our coordination as well as our hand technique. The first step could be just playing eight notes between the kick and the hi-hat pedal. As a second step, we could do a samba or a baion like I do in the video.


Recommended material for developing control of singles and doubles

If there is one book that I would recommend to work on singles and doubles it is "Stick Control" by George Lawrence Stone. This book is an encyclopedia of combinations of sticking and rolls. George Stone was one the most influential teachers at the beginning of the last century. He taught and influenced drummers such as Joe Morello, Gene Krupa, and so on. The applications of this book are infinite!


Final Thoughts

I truly believe that "Singles and Doubles" is the best exercise to develop control of our hands.

I encourage my students to practice these exercises in all the combinations, and I also encourage them to be creative and make their own variations.

If you would like to share your progress with us, ask a question, or if you have created your own variation, please leave a message or comment below. We appreciate your contribution and would like to know your thoughts!

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We look forward to hearing from you!


Andrea Gatti

To learn more about starting to develop your coordination click here:

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Mar 22

Thank you. You are very clear in your explanation thank you. Would you also apply it around the kit?

Replying to

You are welcome, I appreciate your encouragement. Sure, why not? I think it's a great idea. Anytime we learn something, I believe it's great to also apply it on the kit ;)

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