A traditional pipe band consists of two corps and only uses 4 instruments. The pipe corps play bagpipes and produce the melody for the ensemble. The drum corps, which consists of a bass , tenor and snare drums provide the “light and shade” for the band performance.
Instruction will be provided free of charge though learners of each instrument will be required to purchase their own practice instruments and tuition materials. A bit of advice, there are many cheap items on eBay so it’s very easy to waste money on something that will be of no use to you at all. You do not need anything at all to attend your first night at the rehearsal hall other than an inquisitive mind.
Great Highland Bagpipes
To learn to play the bagpipes, apart from patience and enthusiasm learners will need to purchase a practice chanter and a tutor. On your first night, we’ll show a good quality chanter and give you as much information and guidance as we can before you embark on your learning journey.
Snare drummers learn to play on a practice pad and pipe band drum sticks. The pads tend not to vary from other types of drumming but the sticks certainly do. We will show you our preferred practice pad and a range of sticks to help you choose which may suit you best.
Tenor drummers learn to play using a set of tenor beaters and a practice pad. As well as providing depth to our sound, tenors also provide a visual element to our performance. As well as looking good to the public, more importantly tenors assist the bass drummer to keep tempo in the band. Bass and tenors are often referred to as the mid-section.
Some people are daunted by the thought of learning to read music but really they shouldn’t. Whilst it is undoubtedly true that you will be taught how to read music, you only need to be at a level to remind you how a tune goes. There are only 9 notes on a bagpipe chanter which doesn’t even take up one stave in music.
Drummers have it even easier in that they use a single line with dots above and below to indicate right or left hand. Compared to learning a new language, pipe band music really is very easy to get to grips with and understand.
Unlike most other types of marching band, we never ever perform from sheet music. Everything we play is committed to memory so whilst music is a great tool to assist learning, it’s by no means the only one we have in our toolbox. With more videos on Youtube than you can count and with the free tuition we provide, if you can whistle a tune or tap along to to one, you are already well on the way in your musical journey. Our job is just to help you develop it.