The names of most drum rudiments are based on the way they sound, on the way they’re played or on their number of strokes. “Lesson 25” doesn’t have a special meaning, nor does it tell us anything about the drum rudiment.
In this video, Lionel Duperron teaches you how to play lesson 25 and how to apply it to the drum set for coming up with creative drum beats and drum fills.
In 1936, members of the National Association of Rudimental Drummers (N.A.R.D.) put together a list of 26 drum rudiments known as the 26 Standard American Drum Rudiments. The 26 drum rudiments were chosen amongst the drum rudiments featured in the six most important method books published throughout the 19th century and early 20th century. One of those books was Gardiner A. Strube’s Drum and Fife Instructor (1869). The book contained a set of twenty-five lessons – each of which dedicated to a specific drum rudiment. The pattern taught in the 25th lesson was chosen as one of the 26 drum rudiments. Since it lacked an official name, N.A.R.D. decided to name it lesson 25.
We now have 40 official drum rudiments!
Taking a look at the sheet music below you can see that the structure of lesson 25 is based around a three-note alternating 16th note single stroke roll. Make sure you learn how to play the drag ruff and the single stroke roll before going any further. Lesson 25 doesn’t alternate, so practice it leading with both hands. Focus on playing evenly spaced 16th notes and consistent sounding drag ruffs.
Exercise #1 is a 16th note drum beat. Start by playing lesson 25 on the hi-hat for all 4 counts. When that feels solid, alternate the leading hand every other 2 counts. Then, move the last stroke on counts 1 and 2 to the snare, and the last stroke on counts 3 and 4 to the hi-tom. Once you can play those strokes effortlessly, move the right hand to the ride cymbal, so you can play its bow on counts 3 and 4. Finally, add the bass drum on all quarter notes.
Exercise #2 is another 16th note drum beat. Play lesson 25 on the hi-hat for all 4 counts. When that feels comfortable to you, move the last stroke on counts 2 and 4 to the snare drum. As soon as you get that under your belt, add the bass drum on all quarter notes. Adding the 8th note bass drum strokes one-by-one will ensure you play a very solid and evenly spaced bass drum pattern. Add more 8th notes in when you feel comfortable playing the ones you’ve already added beforehand. If you’re not getting it at first, don’t get frustrated. It’s hard to work on limb independence. Just keep at it, and with time it will become a lot easier.
Exercise #3 is a 16th note drum fill featuring four lesson 25s. All grace notes are executed on the snare drum. The primary stroke and the two single strokes are moved around the toms on each count – one stroke per tom. The leading hand alternates every other 2 counts. Practice this drum fill at a slow speed, so you don’t end up clicking the sticks or hitting one hand unintentionally when going from the mid-tom to the hi-tom on counts 1 and 2.
Exercise #4 is another 16th note drum fill. The grace notes are played on the snare drum with the leading hand alternating every other 2 counts. The right hand plays the floor tom, and the left hand the snare drum on counts 1 and 2. The left hand plays the high tom on the last two counts, and the right hand plays the mid tom on count 3 and the snare drum on count 4.
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