Pipe Band Drumming in Australia and Canada


Pipe Band Drumming is no different to any other instrument, it requires practice, structure and guidance.

Different people learn in different ways and at different speeds. However, I feel that beginners should be given the opportunity to develop the basics in an orderly and logical pattern.  Too many students seem to go randomly from one rudiment to the next in an attempt to get onto their first, second or third drum score.

During my travels around Australia and Canada (two geographically huge countries!) I encountered some interesting situations with rural scottish pipe bands, (not all of them might I add).  The issue generally related to the number, or lack thereof, drummers.  There seems to be a shortage of scottish snare drummers in the rural areas in these big countries. However, if you look at the major cities – pipe band drumming is thriving.  


This was not always the case – the majority of rural bands used to be vibrant and had huge numbers. However, things seem to be changing or at least going through a dry spell.  It seems that pipe band drum corps’ nowadays need to be in the 7+ side drummers category as a minimum. Many of the city bands have upwards of 10 side drummers, 6 tenors and a Bass Drummer.

Many of the pipe band members in these area’s talked of their frustration and concern. Many of them couldn’t compete as they didn’t have enough drummers – lots of the bands in rural areas have dis-banded in the past 15 years.  The causes seem to be : Lack of interest in pipe band drumming in modern society, young people having “too many options” now, the big city bands attracting the young drummers when they leave small towns to attend University in the “big smoke”.

Honestly, I have to agree with a lot of these reasons. But I certainly think there is a solution.  I think the key is having a motivated and passionate drum tutor and pipe major. Scottish drumming is certainly thriving throughout the world – more so than ever, and the rural areas need be no different.

The other key ingredient – structured learning with clear goals.

Too many country bands are in a hurry to get drummers from learner level, to the drum and onto their first pipe band drum score. I hear horror stories all the time about drummers being expected to play the band’s march medley on a drum within 6 months of holding the sticks. Sometimes this is possible, with a little drummer genius – but in general, the first 6-12 months should be spent on rudiment development and perhaps grasping a basic tune. 

I understand that getting on the drum and playing tunes is the biggest motivation for the drummer, however, the instructor should make a point to reinforce the importance of the basics. Making the rudiments fun, is key! Often playing them along to dance music can be enjoyable for learners .  

I personally use a check list for all of my learners right through to the point that they are competing in Grade 2.  I use the Check List along with the Guide to Pipe Band drumming books, The Scottish Drumming Lessons (Video’s) and one-on-one pipe band drumming tuition. 

I really do hope that the rural bands in general, will thrive again and build back to where they used to be. There are some currently some FANTASTIC rural bands throughout Australia and Canada, and it would be fantastic to see many more flourish with healthy numbers.  They are such a vital part of the Scottish Pipe Band community – long may they continue.

Happy Drumming!

World Masters Pipe Band Workshop

Jim Kilpatrick, Tyler Fry, Richard Hawke, James Laughlin, Stuart Liddell, Greg Wilson, Grant Cassidy & Kyle Warren are the tutors at the World Masters Pipe Band Workshop in Christchurch, New Zealand.

This 3 day workshop, 28th Sept 2012 – 30th Sept 2012, gives participants the opportunity of a lifetime to meet and learn from tutors who have collectively won 60 World Championship titles.  Jim Kilpatrick MBE will be heading the drumming faculty, a World Solo Drumming Champion (many times over),  the current Leading Drummer of the World Champion Drum Corps, Shotts and Dykehead Pipe Band and the most decorated pipe band drummer in the World.

Not only will the participants enjoy World Class tutoring, they will also get to see all of the tutors perform in a concert along with the Canterbury Caledonian, New Zealand Champion Grade 1 Pipe Band.  To add another dimension to the 3 day workshop, Jim Kilpatrick and Tyler Fry will be hosting the first ever “Drumming For Drinks” contest – a world famous drumming event.

To register or get more information please visit the Official World Masters Pipe Band Workshop website.

Pipe Band Drumming – New Zealand Summer School 2012

Well, today kicked off the New Zealand National Summer school in Christchurch.

200+ students from all over New Zealand & Australia have travelled to Christchurch for the annual week-long piping and drumming school.

Tutors Jack Lee, Reid Maxwell, Richard Hawke, Tyler Fry, James Laughlin, Scott Birrell and many other top tutors are providing the instruction for the week.  The students will be treated to an instructor recital this evening, lots of great talent in one room should make for an awesome night.

It is very refreshing to see so many excited students ready to play drums for a whole week!!!

Come2Drum offers the Worlds most comprehensive educational package for Scottish Snare Drumming. If you want to learn Scottish Drumming, become a drummer in a pipe band or just simply challenge your personal rudiment skills, then you should check out Come2Drum.


What’s on offer?


Scottish Drumming Instruction Videos

Scottish Drumming Skype Lessons

Scottish Drumming Books

Scottish Drumming Music