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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…

"REPS": Let's get real about repetition

The word "reps" is thrown around a lot in every pipe band. Every practice we hear...

 

"Get some reps in"

"We need to rep that some more"

"Don't forget to rep the second part"

 

What Does this Word Mean?

The…

Video Blog: How to Improve Your FOCUS

The word "focus" is thrown around a lot. I hear often hear it in rehearsal and even more often on competition days. What does it mean? Is it possible to practice focusing? If so, what does that look like?

Check…

Backyard FAQ: How Do I Get My Rolls Faster?

Today marks the start of a new video series on PipeBandDrummer.com: Backyard FAQ. My plan is to answer frequently asked questions I receive from subscribers to PipeBandDrummer in video form and then post them on the YouTube channel for everyone's…

Five Long Minutes of Drags

This week: Five Long Minutes of Drags! For most pipe band drummers drags are one of the most difficult rudiments to execute properly. Drags are composed of a principal note (big note) and a two smaller notes (two 32nd grace…

Five Long Minutes of Flams

Continuing with the "Five Long Minutes" video series, this week: Five Long Minutes of Flams! Flams consist of only two notes. They look innocent enough but they are actually fairly difficult to explain and even more difficult to execute. Flams…

Five Long Minutes of Accented Rolls

Continuing with the "Five Long Minutes" video series on the PIpeBandDrummer.com Youtube Channel, this week we'll be focusing on accented rolls. Accented rolls are found in each of the five pipe band styles and can range from simple "tap buzz…

New Video Series: Five Long Minutes

Have you ever been frustrated when life gets in the way of your practice time? Sometimes, with a busy schedule, it is impossible to find a whole hour to sit down and run through your entire practice routine. As a…

How Slow Can You Go?: Breaking Down the Massed Band 4/4

This week on the blog we'll be breaking down the North American massed band 4/4 drum score. The massed band scores have been around a while and they have quite a history. Dave Coleman, from the Fredericton Society of St…

Video Blog: What is the Point of Practicing?

 

Knowing the point of practicing is the most important piece of information you will ever learn if your goal is to improve your playing. It is incredible to me that ABSOLUTELY NO ONE KNOWS this crucial piece of…

Video Blog: Taking it Slow!

Today on the Ups and Downs is the first of what I hope will be many video blogs! Playing slowly is a skill that takes lots of patience and practice but it can have an amazing affect on your personal…

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…

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…

Respecting the Fundamentals (Part I): Rudiments Q & A

Since I began playing drums my teachers have impressed upon me the importance of practising rudiments. I learned the basic pipe band drumming rudiments early on: singles, doubles, paradiddles, rolls, flams and drags. Later, as a percussion major in university

Tools of the Trade: Practice Apps and How to Use Them

In my younger days, my practice tools included sticks, a drum pad, pencil, paper, a metronome and a cassette recorder. These days, I still have my sticks and pad but the only other practice tool I need is my phone…