Learning to play the Great Highland Bagpipe
Bagpipe lessons at the SSPD cost $11 per week in a group situation for 45 minutes. These are available at Windsor on a Monday and Thursday between 4.30pm – 7pm. Individual lessons are $55 for a 45 minute one to one lesson. These are available during any day of the week at St Clair or on the following evenings at: Windsor on Mondays, St Ives on Tuesday, Greenacre on Wednesdays, St Clair on Thursday or Saturday mornings at St Clair between 8am – 11.30am
We can also arrange for SKYPE lessons and these are $44 for 45 minutes and we have many great tutors available at a time that suits you from the comfort of your own home. Alternately, we have tutors who can come directly to you at your premises and the cost of this is $77 for a one to one private lesson.
When you begin to learn the Great Highland Bagpipe you actually commence on an instrument called a ‘practice chanter’. In polypenco plastic these start at cost $95. You can also purchase a tutorial CD-ROM which costs $80.
On the practice chanter you will learn scales and embellishments associated with bagpipe playing and to read music and understand note duration. You will be taken through 6 basic tunes which you will have to memorize whilst learning to tap your feet and march in time to the tunes. Once you have memorized six tunes it will be time to progress to playing a bagpipe. On the bagpipe you will learn to ‘wind’ it correctly and play the six tunes you have memorized upon it.
To reach this stage normally takes around 9 months. A basic bagpipe will cost between $1,400 – $2,500 depending upon how much ornamentation you desire.
To progress toward playing basic tunes within a normal time frame you would be expected to do a minimum of 30 minutes practice each day. This can be broken into 3 small sessions of 10 minutes.
Once you can play your six tunes, wind your bagpipe and march in time on the bagpipe, it will be time to think about choosing a band to join.
Once your standard progresses to a level where you are attending band practice, you will be supplied with more complex tunes to learn. Most bands, once you can play approx. 12 tunes may invite you to join their band and supply you with a uniform. To reach this level normally takes between 9 – 12 months.
Learning to play the Scottish Snare Drum
Snare Drum lessons at the SSPD cost $11 per week in a group on a Monday or Thursday evening at Windsor between 4pm – 7pm or $55 per lesson for individual one to one tuition for 45 mins.
When you commence to learn the snare drum style used in the pipe band idiom, you start with a pair of drum sticks that are quite a bit larger in diameter then normal kit drum sticks.Pipe band style drum sticks cost approx. $25 a pair and you will also need a practice pad that costs approx. $60.
On your drum pad you will learn to play your basic rudiments and exercises whilst gaining ‘finger control’. These rudiments and exercises eventually enable you to be able to play complete drum scores. This can take several months and whilst learning the rudiments and exercises you will also be taught to read drum music scores and tap your feet in-time to the music.
Once you have mastered the basic massed bands scores for 2/4, 3/4, 4/4 and 6/8 competently you will than be asked to attend your first band practice and commence playing the scores you have learnt on a drum.
Once attending practice you will work on perfecting your scores and learning to play “as one” with the rest of the drum corps. Playing on a drum has a very different feel to practicing on a drum pad. You will also continue to learn more difficult rudiments and drum scores which will enable you to work toward playing with a competitive band if that is your desire.
Once you’re standard progresses to a level which may see a band invite you to join them, they normally supply you with a drum, a harness and a uniform.
Our Principle Drum Tutor is Mr Dean Smyth. Dean is from Northern Ireland and is the current Junior A Grade All Ireland Champion Snare Drummer for 2014/15. He has been playing in Grade one for 6 years.
Learning to play the Flourishing Tenor Drum
Tenor Drum lessons at the SSPD cost $11 per week in a group at Windsor on a Monday or Thursday evening between 4pm – 7pm or $55 per lesson for 45 minute individual one on one tuition.
When you commence to learn the flourishing tenor, you start with a pair of drum beaters. These costs approx $100 a pair.
These beaters or drum sticks have laces attached at one end which will allow you to twirl (or swing) the stick.
Your practice lessons will consist of learning the rhythm patterns that create the pulse of the music for a pipe band. Whilst learning these rhythm patterns you are also instructed on how to perform the various basic swings that tenor drummers perform in massed band style settings. Your lessons will also include ‘mirror work’ instruction to ensure that your swinging is in a perfect position at all times.
Mastering the basic massed bands scores for 2/4, 3/4, 4/4 and 6/8 competently will than see you progress to being ready to attend a band practice and to commence playing on a drum.
This normally takes around 4 – 6 months of weekly lessons with the student doing around 30 minutes a day practice at home. This practice should be broken up into two different fifteen minute sessions, one covering the memorizing of the music score and the other concentrating on your flourish techniques.
Once you are attending band practices you will also be given more difficult scores and complex rhythms and flourishes to learn.
Once your standard progresses to a level which will see joining a pipe band, they would supply you with a drum and uniform.
Our principle Tenor Drum Tutor is Mr Michael Smith. Michael won the Young Australasian Tenor Drummer of the Year in 2011.