LAUNCH – Scottish Drumming Certificate

cert7You can now gain qualifications in Scottish drumming through the official Pipe Band Drumming Certificate course. Starting from the very beginning, you will be guided through the online course with comprehensive work books – including practical and theory. Once you are ready, you will then sit your examination in person or via Skpe. You can go through each level as quickly or as leisurely as you choose, there are no time restraints whatsoever. If you would like more help then one-on-one Skype tuition is available – please just let us know.

If you want to ensure that you are learning correctly and to measure your progress then achieving a graded certificate will give you the depth of knowledge you require. Examiners will award a fail, pass, merit or excellence for each level based on your performance.

Simply purchase the level of certificate you would like to attain. You can purchase Levels 1 -5 individually, or as a package.  Once you purchase the Scottish Drumming Certificate you will receive an email with your download link providing you with instant access to the program.

Have an amazing Christmas and here’s to a great year in 2016.


Scottish drumming – rudiments Vs drum scores

It’s the age old question – what’s more important, rudiment development or learning new and challenging music? I think every pipe band drumming teacher faces the same dilemma on a regular basis.  I mean, if you don’t enforce the rudiment execution, then the scottish snare drum student wont be able to handle a pipe band drum score.  However, if you hand them out a piece of music without the rudiment knowledge and skill, then they wont be able to progress or play it well.

During my travels teaching pipe band drumming in North America, New Zealand and Australia I met several drummers who had been drumming for 6 months to a year. They knew 5 or 6 drum scores and had competed with a pipe band! To me, I found it quite shocking to be honest.  I mean, these players were literally coerced into learning the music so that the band had enough drummers to compete.  I totally understand the predicament these pipe bands are in. However, would it not be better to take a year or two off from competitions, and build the ranks through education and non-competitive performances?

Provided the situation allows you – I suggest that rudiment development is the key to short term and long term success in scottish snare drumming.  In fact, I would go as far as saying that rudiment practice is a lifelong journey that every pipe band drummer must follow.  Talking with many of the worlds top pipe band drummers, they say that they spend 60-95% of their practice time on rudiments, execution and technique development.

I personally practice more rudiments than drum scores. In fact, I can honestly say that 80% of my practice is purely on rudiments.  I generally lock the pipe band drum scores in my head and then practice them when I am out for a walk – mentally rather than physically.  Nowadays, more and more people are realising that scottish drumming, and bagpiping are very mentally challenging – not just physically or technically.

If you are ever asking yourself why you have to practice rudiments so much – remind yourself that your drum scores will flow much better for doing so. And in doing so, you will develop the correct technique to execute the score to a greater level.

n.b. Pipe Band drummers – rudiments are king.


Get your hands on the Worlds best-selling pipe band drumming book.

Pipe Band Drumming – do we ever stop learning …

Pipe band drumming workshops and scottish drumming clinics are always a great source of inspiration for the attendees AND the instructors.  I have been fortunate enough to have been on both sides of the table.  I recall as a young pipe band drummer going along to scottish drumming schools or clinics.  It was the most amazing opportunity for me to pick the brains of the tutors and learn what I could to improve my playing.

As a young pipe band snare drummer, I didn’t have the most refined technique – in fact it was pretty average (actually it wasn’t pretty at all!!) and instead, I focussed on the pipe band drum scores.  At those initial workshops, I would simply want to collect as many scores as possible and play through Hornpipes, Jigs and Reels.  Little did I realise, that to get better at the “fun” stuff, I had to improve my technique.

What is technique? Well, it’s simple really.  It’s how you hold your scottish snare drum sticks, the position of them and the balance.  And it’s also how you propel and catch each and every stroke.  It sounds like something you can cover in a 30 minute session drumming lesson but in fact it’s something that pipe band drummers must continually work at.

I recall sitting down with pipe band drumming legend, Jim Kilpatrick, three years ago.  It was the very first time I had sat one-on-one with him and it was enlightening.  Within minutes I was fully aware that I was gripping the sticks too tightly, working too hard and generally being too tense.  Jim, in his relaxed and professional teaching approach, showed me some fantastic scottish drumming technique exercises.  He made it all look so simple.  I found it very difficult!  I have shared this story before, and many people have responded – “But you have won the world pipe band championships several times before, why change what you are doing?!”.  Well, simply – I want to learn and I want to improve.

All musicians (including bagpipers and scottish drummers) should be on a mission to constantly improve.  Once you lose your appetite to learn – you may as well give up.  This past weekend in New Zealand, Jim Kilpatrick taught at the World Masters Workshop for bagpipers and pipe band drummers.  I had the fortune to sit in on one of his technique classes.  I felt my technique was more relaxed and fluid than our session a few years ago. However, I also realised how far I have to go and Jim was able to challenge me on other areas – including mental strength whilst playing.  He also admitted to the class that he is on a relentless journey to learn and improve his technique and understanding of pipe band drumming.

My greatest joy in pipe band drumming is not competing.  It is teaching. Teaching pipe band drumming to enthusiastic students is the most rewarding part of my career.  For all you pipe band drummers out there who teach, I hope you are still passionate about learning – that way, you will be sure to pass on a solid and rounded approach to your pipe band drumming students.

The journey of learning pipe band drumming continues for me … almost 20 years on!

Do you want to learn pipe band drumming? Check out the Guide to Pipe Band Drumming Books.

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!

Pipe Band Drumming Video Lessons

Learn to play the pipe band snare drum, at home on your computer or on the run with your iPhone or mobile device.  James Laughlin, World Champion snare drummer, has created informative and professional pipe band drumming video lessons, for drummers of all levels.

Purchase the whole Series, and save yourself over $38. This includes 17 Drumming Video lessons, packed full of informative and educational information, the series is presented in order to take you from the very start to mastery of the basics of Scottish drumming.

 ImageBuy the 17 Lesson Video Series now, and enjoy your HUGE DISCOUNT!


Get Your Video Lesson today!

Pipe Band Drumming eBooks – Reviews from Drummers around the World

It’s fantastic to know that people all over the World are enjoying the Guide to Pipe Band Drumming eBooks. Receiving emails and Facebook messages about personal success stories is very humbling and rewarding.  I would like to thank everyone who has purchased my eBooks – it makes all of the hours, weeks, months and years of hard work very much worth it!

Here’s a few of the reviews from the past 6 months :

Image  – “Check out James Laughlin’s new book!! I was lucky to see it it before release which means I’ve got a jump on all of you! Great mental work out for advanced drummers and has really lit a fire under my score writing. What a great tool! Thanks, James!” – Glenn Kvidhal, Leading Drummer of the LA SCOTS, USA


– “The most exciting, challenging and thorough book for pipe band drummers wanting to go to the next level. The best purchase I have made to further my drumming skills.” – John H, Canada


– “Three months with this book and I am finally getting top placings in Grade 1 solos – my goal of “professional” solos is now within sight! Thanks James!” – John D, Ireland

– “Just have had a quick overlook at your new book, and I think it is awesome. Very good for all those bands looking for scores for those typical tunes every band plays. You can find lots of Grade 1 scores on the net but in the majority of the times, bands looking for scores are not grade 1 bands so, the scores you can find on the net don’t fit their needs, and now they all have a source for good scores fitting the melody and fit to their level. And of course the mp3 help to get the score sounding exactly as you wrote it. Great job James!” – Diego Puron Celoria, Spain

– “James!!! Seriously man, this new book of Marches is insanely good! So many of the tunes that originally hooked me on pipe bands are in there (along with some that are completely new to me), and those scores that you have penned really just lift them, bringing even the most simple tunes alive. The sound bites really help too! I have been picking up these tunes quicker than ever before!

Awesome setup James, the Guide to Pipe Band Drumming books really helped my technique, now this book puts all that into practice…such great scores, beautifully phrased, they really are a joy to play!!! All we need now is your book of Hornpipes, Strathspeys, Jigs, Reels…keep them coming!” Simon Black, Northern Ireland.

– “I have been looking over the ‘Grade 4 Drum Score Collection’ by James Laughlin for a couple of weeks now. All I can say is… Simply brilliant!

As a Drum Sergeant and tutor of a successful grade 4 band in Australia, I can definitely say that this book is an essential tool for creating a winning sound in your drum corps. The scores are well written, and easy to sight read. The Mp3 sound files that accompany the book are of very high quality sound, and played at an excellent tempo.

James has carefully and meticulously compiled a large number of scores into one book, with a wide range of difficulty. A simple setting for ‘High Road to Gairloch’, through to the best setting I have ever seen composed for ‘Blue Bells of Scotland’

I highly recommend this book of Marches to any drummer/tutor wishing to expand their tune base with high quality settings!
I look forward to future editions. “ – Robert Hayward, Australia.


– “I have always wanted to learn Scottish Snare Drumming – my family’s heritage is Scottish. This eBook was amazing, and allowed me to master the basics, get onto a drum and play in a pipe band! All of this in less than a year!” – Michelle T,  USA


– “Years of bad habits – broken! James Laughlin’s Guide to Pipe Band Drumming fixed a lot of the fundamental mistakes I have been making for over 20 years. He has a very special way of presenting Scottish drumming in a simplistic and informative manner” – Patrick D, N.Ireland


– “The eBook comes with a hige amout of Audio tracks – they were so helpful as I am not a good reader of music. This book has opened so many doors for my drumming.” – Sean G, Canada

You can get your own copies of James Laughlins Pipe Band drumming Collection at

Whether you are a beginner, an experienced player or someone looking for teaching manuals – then you will find everything you need at Come2Drum.

Free Pipe Band Drumming Videos is the first every website to offer all Massed Band Drum scores with pdf sheet music and Videos.

If you are trying to learn pipe band scores then you should check out the new page with Scottish Drumming Videos!

Massed Band Drum Scores for New Zealand and the U.S.A. are currently available – more to follow shortly.

All of you Scottish Snare Drummers – enjoy!


Merry Christmas


James Laughlin


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