The Ups and Downs

The Blog for Pipe Band Drummers

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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