I used to march in the Newark High School Marching Band. Yup! A band dork! I played in the drumline. My freshman year I played Quads, my Sophomore, Junior, and Senior year I played snare drum. I remember coming up from middle school and knowing very little about the drums, and music in general really. I struggled reading sheet music and I barely knew how to do a drum roll.
The first thing I learned the summer before my freshman year "at band camp" was the importance of the percussion rudiments. A rudiment is a simple pattern set of stick combination that are meant to practice stick control. Think of it as the vocabulary for drummers. In order for a non drummer to appreciate the importance of rudiments, just watch this video of the Blue Devils warming up. Be sure to pay close attention to their sticks and hand movements (link):
This is an example of rudiments at their best!
My favorite rudiment is the paradiddle, hands down. It is nothing more than RLRR LRLL RLRR LRLL RLRR LRLL, over and over. In high school, I understood the importance of rudiments, but didn't really "appreciate" them. I just knew I had to know them. However, as a drummer sitting behind a drumset, my knowledge of rudiments has really given me the ability to play complex grooves with very little effort. The faster you play them, the groovier they sound. It is also true that the faster you play them, the easier they are to play honestly. I remember the process of learning them and recall how difficult they were to learn. Not only that, but when I would have to also march to a steady beat, my sticks would just get tied up.
Anyway, I saw that video today from the drumfunny twitter feed and it too me back about 12 years.