Drill the Skill: The Trizzlet

In the early nineties I was playing with the Rob Roy Pipe Band in Kingston, Ontario. Every year, The Rob Roy band would participate in a city wide cultural festival known as "Folklore". Rob Roy hosted the Scottish pavilion at…

Drill the Skill: The Ratamacue

Hmmm... it doesn't look very intimidating... but there is sits, the DREADED RATAMACUE: one of the most maligned and complaint inducing rudiments we play. It is a simple rudiment to understand yet one of the toughest to execute consistently. Starting…

Drill the Skill: The Open Six Stroke Roll

For a snare section, the ability to play in perfect unison with each other is the toughest goal to achieve. Pipe band snare drums are notoriously unforgiving due to their extreme volume level making every tiny mistake or rough patch…

Looking Ahead: Making a Plan for Your Upcoming Season

Trying to balance my work, pipe band, gig schedule, website maintenance and personal life can be challenging at times. September is the busiest time of year as I start a new term teaching drum kit, begin the process of writing…

The Results That Matter: Evaluating Your Contest Season

A competitive pipe band is a very strange thing. You work hard with your band all year improving the fundamentals, learning music, improving reading skills, battling attendance and other personnel issues until the summer comes and your season begins. Then…

Cutting Drummers is a Bad Idea

Cutting drummers on competition days is one of the most controversial subjects in the pipe band drumming world--everyone has an opinion. In the world of competitive pipe bands, many lead drummers cut members of their drum corps on the day…

Respecting the Fundamentals (Part II): Tracking Your Progress

As discussed last week, the rudiments are an integral part of a drummer's practice routine. However, practising in a disorganized fashion without the knowledge that you're improving can be frustrating--why practice when you're not sure if you're getting better? Tracking…