It’s sometimes impossible to know if you’re buying the right thing when you start a new hobby, especially if you come across items that look to be an absolute bargain on eBay. The choice can be daunting.
If at all unsure, it is much better to come along to practice before you spend a penny so you can get a better idea of what you’re maybe letting yourself in for.
You will need one from the very start of your pipe band career. I believe that a metronome is nearly as important as having the 9 fingers you need to play the bagpipes!!
There are many perfectly good ones kicking around but I’d recommend an App one that you download to your Smartphone. My personal preference is one called Tempo produced by frozenape. You can download for Android and Apple and it’s worth the small spend for the added functionality it offers.
Don’t feel compelled to spend on my say so straight away as any basic metronome will suffice for the first few lessons.
We use an instrument called a practice chanter to learn and practice on. It’s pretty much the bit you blow into and the bit you put your fingers on with everything else including the bag removed! It is, contrary to popular belief, nothing like a recorder nor the hardest instrument on the planet to learn ….
There are three sizes on the market; child, standard and long. Personally, I’d recommend a long chanter as it has the same finger spacing as a full size bagpipe chanter and saves you a little familiarisation work later.
They are however a bit more expensive and a standard one is every bit as good for starting out. Unless you’re a very small child, don’t buy a child one. To give you a better idea, I started to learn when I was seven and a half on a standard length chanter and I was not a big kid by any stretch of the imagination. A reasonable chanter with will cost you from around £45 upwards. We also use the College of Piping Tutor Book 1 (The green book) which is readily available online from a wide number of outlets including Amazon and Ebay.
To be a drummer is a much simpler affair. All you really need is a pair of sticks and a practice pad. The drum sticks are generally a bit heavier than kit drum sticks and have a different shape. We also use practice pads which replicate the feel of playing on a batter head.
At the moment we’re using Kilpatrick Drum pads and suggesting KP2 Pipe Band drum sticks which can be purchased directly from Jim Kilpatricks online store.
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