I was working the other day with a student on her snare drum roll quality. Her roll was a bit forced and choked, resulting in a very rhythmic and uncharacteristic sound.

I have used a particular exercise to help improve the single stroke roll dexterity of Percussion Methods class students. It’s a standard accelerating/decelerating exercise which emphasizes total control at all speeds.

I use this exercise with the student and had her roll each note. By requiring each note to touch the next, this is a fair representation of what happens to our roll base and the corresponding amount of buzzes per hit:


Soft Playing

Play a little closer to the edge of the drum + longer buzzes (5 or so per hit) + slower roll speed

Loud Playing

Play just off-center of the head + shorter buzzes (3 or so per hit) + faster roll speed


Here’s the exercise:

Accel/Decel Roll Exercise