Pipe Band Tempo Wars: Avoiding the Blame Game

Tempo has been an issue in every pipe band in which I've ever played. There have been tempo discussions at practice, tempo related comments after competitions and I have been yelled at and lectured at for tempo related issues. Tempo…

The 6/8 Quandary: How Drummers Can Fix a Broken Style

Chris Thile is an incredible musician. He is without doubt the most talented mandolin player on the planet. His current band, The Punch Brothers, has pushed the boundary of bluegrass to new and unique places using unorthodox chords, complex harmonies…

The Ups and Downs of Our New Reality

This past September my pipe band was buzzing with excitement as we made plans to go to Scotland for the World Championships. Adding to this excitement was the fact that three other pipe bands from the Canadian Maritime provinces would…

Practicing Subdivisions in each of the Five Pipe Band Styles

As a rock drummer, it is helpful to know a little bit about many different styles of music. Understanding, and playing different styles helps drummers to create their own style, based on what they take away from each new one…

Demystifying "Pointed" vs "Round"

There are two mysterious words used over and over by experienced pipers and drummers: pointed and round. Each of the five styles we play are either pointed or round--some are really pointed, others are more round depending on the…

10 Extended Roll Sequences to Spice Up Your Drum Scores

Extended roll sequences can add a bunch of musical possibilities to any drum score. When composing a new score, it is always important to include some extended rolls to add dynamics, texture and some interesting syncopation to your pipe band's…

Practicing Subdivision: The March Style

When you go to see a rock band play, a common conversation after the show involves how "tight" the band played. If you see a "tight" band it's a good bet that all their count ins, stops, shots, endings and…

What is "Lift"? Part VI: Creating Lift in Round Reels & Jigs

When composing a drum score, the composer has many important choices to make during the process that will determine the musicality of the drum score. The examples below show two sets of musical choices and the differences between those choices…

What is "Lift"? Part V: Creating Lift in a March

Now you know where to find the beats, backbeats and offbeats in simple time and compound time, let's begin the process of putting this knowledge to use when writing a drum score. This week we'll be looking at the march…