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.


Speed versus Rhythm


When practicing drumming exercises (or learning them for the first time) should a drummer start them slowly and build the tempo up gradually until they can play them quickly and smoothly? Or should the rudiment be structured in a rhythmic grid to give the drummer a more contextual sense of how the rudiment fits into the phrase of a piece of music?

A pretty easy question you would think, right?!

Well, I’m not exactly sure if we could get all pipe band drummers to agree on this one. Let’s take doubles for example.  Should they be learnt slowly and built up steadily into an open roll? Or should they be learnt in crotchets, then quavers, then semi-quavers and so on. (And of course quarter notes, eighth notes, sixteenth notes etc. for all you numerical folk!)?

Personally, I was taught to start them slowly and gradually build them up in tempo.  This was fun, because as a beginner I could track my progress almost daily and then push myself to go a little faster. Although, there does comes a time where you start to make only incremental improvements as your stick position or technique physically hinders your progress.  This is where the danger comes – a student might get miffed with the rudiment side of things because they aren’t able to go any faster. So what’s the point in practicing them if they don’t see results (or at least this what a lot of students think at times perhaps?).  The other downside to this way of “mastering” rudiments is that the player gains no understanding of time or rhythm. They become a speed demon, but surely this is not a drummers key role?

The other way of approaching it is to start with a very slow tempo on the metronome and start doubles as crotchets, quavers and so on. This is a great way of understanding the value of time and how the rudiments fits into the metric equation.  This is also a good way of learning to play to a metronome (or constant beat) and allows the student to measure their progress with a metronome BPM count.  I guess the downside to this one is that the student doesn’t get the excitement of building the rudiment up steadily into the closed roll.

Frankly, I think both ways have merit. And in fact, I use both ways with students. Some students grasp to one easier than the other. But I feel it is so important for them to be able to play both.  In my Guide to Pipe Band Drumming Volume 1 – I demonstrate both.

You can choose what works for you. Or maybe you have another method? If so, please do share!

A blast from the past …

ImageI totally believe in watching videos or listening to tracks that make you feel good or act as a source of inspiration.

A clip I go back to often is the 78th Fraser Highlanders Pipe Band – Walking the Plank medley, from the 1998 World Pipe Band Championships.

Musicality, excitement, innovation, tone … it has it all.


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.

This month get $43.99 USD worth of products FREE

For all of you pipe band drummers out there, we have a special offer!  Let’s face it, everyone enjoys getting something for free – whether it’s your 11th coffee at your local Barista, or a free sample of single malt at duty free.  Well, here at Come2Drum we want to give all you pipe band drummers something to smile about.  We would like to thank you all for your ongoing support and helping Come2Drum continue to be the premier resource for scottish drumming online.

Over the years we have put together a huge number of Pipe Band drumming books, Scottish Snare drum lessons, Pipe Band drumming video lessons and scottish snare drum settings.  Now we would like to take it to the next level and offer everyone who purchases the video lesson series this month a free copy of The Guide to Pipe Band Drumming Collection – Volume 1 & 2 valued at $43.99USD.

The Guide to Pipe Band Drumming Collection is all you need to learn the basics of scottish drumming right through to the mastery of the instrument.  In fact, the current 2013 World Champion Juvenile drum corps, St. Andrews College of New Zealand, use this program from Day 1 of learning to drum.  You can check them out at the World Pipe Band Championships!

Our mission is to try and help everyone around the world access quality tuition with correct technique and a solid structure.  If you download the step-by-step pipe band drumming video lessons this September then we will send you a complimentary copy of the Guide to Pipe Band Drumming Collection valued at $43.99.

Grab your copy of the Scottish Drumming Video Lesson Series before the month is over!


Pipe Band Drumming – Understanding Rhythm

As drummer’s – our key role is to keep consistent time for the other members of our band.

Understanding basic music theory is a great tool to help drummers with their time keeping and musicality. I strongly encourage all of my students to learn the basic note values, rests and time signatures. I also ensure they work hard to tap their foot whilst they drum.

A great exercise to understand note values and in particular sub-dividing notes, is the attached exercise sheet. It’s an excerpt from my Guide to Pipe Band Drumming Book, Volume 2. Why not give this sheet a go!?


Pipe Band Drumming Rudiments and Exercises

Get your very own copy of the Guide to Pipe Band Drumming book at

What to do in the pipe band off season…?

100’s of you pipers and drummers have finally completed the 2012 Pipe Band competing season…and what a magnificent season it has been – I have personally enjoyed the great music produced by so many great pipe bands from around the World.

Now the big question we have to ask ourselves is… how long of a break will we take before getting back into the routine of band practice? The thought of “pipe band free” weekends is like a dream for you all – actually spending some time with your family, rather than your pipe band “family”.

Personally – I do enjoy the winter down time with my family and friends, and getting into other projects that have been cast aside for 6 months. However, I know there is a fine balance between having a “break” and going backwards.

The winter season consists of a few key factors that can help set up up for the season ahead :

Rest – take a month off to enjoy some other non pipe band activities and to reinvigorate yourself.

Recruitment – looking at new players to join the team and bring a new dynamic and experience with them.

Development of Technique – the winter season provides you with the time to work on individuals, hone in on technique issues and develop the corps musically.

Composition – the leaders of the band can use this time to plan the musical journey for the season ahead. This is such an important and time-consuming task. Picking the right music is extremely important – not only the skill level of the music, but also how they flow together.

Socialising – its super important to keep the team together during the off-season, planning quiz nights and fundraising events can be very productive to keep a sense of community within the band – and also a chance to raise some $$ for the band.

Does anyone else have any suggestions on how to use the off season?