The Ups and Downs

The Blog for Pipe Band Drummers

"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?


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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?


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This week I'd like to discuss the subject of #hashtags. Hashtags are commonly used on Twitter to categorize posts so that others can follow those hashtags and comment, share and otherwise interact. They are incredibly useful! I use them all…

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Backyard FAQ: How Do I Get My Rolls Faster?

Today marks the start of a new video series on 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…

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Five Long Minutes of Cut Fours (Slow)

Welcome to the fifth instalment of the "Five Long Minutes" blog post/video series: Five Long Minutes of Cut Fours!

When I was first taught to play a cut four (four stroke roll) there was a disconnect between the way…

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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…

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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…

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Five Long Minutes of Accented Rolls

Continuing with the "Five Long Minutes" video series on the 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…

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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…

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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 of…

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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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