Pipe bands generally consist of 4 instruments - the highland bagpipes and three types of drums (snare, tenor and bass). The City of Melbourne Highland Pipe Band offers tuition on all four instruments.
The tuition fee is $30 for the first term (quarter) then $60 per term. Each term is 10-12 weeks. The fee covers the provision of materials and assists with rental of the Band's practice venue. Starter kits are also provided if you need them - pipers: practice chanter ($90) and drummers: sticks and drum pad ($60).
Lessons are currently held each Thursday night from 6:45 to 7:30 at the band's practice venue in the City. If you are interested in learning, or would like to find out more, please contact us. You're welcome to turn up at our practice, but it helps if we've chatted to you first and are prepared.
Learn the Bagpipes
As a beginner you will start playing on a practice chanter (similar to a school recorder). On the practice chanter you will learn the rudiments of playing the pipes: the notes and embellishments, and some basic tunes. After 12 months or so you gradually progress to the full bagpipes.
To start learning, you will need to purchase a practice chanter. The band can arrange that and provide tuition material. We also loan bagpipes to learners for a year or two until you are able to purchase your own.
Learn the Snare Drum
The snare drum is the rat-a-tat-tat type drum in pipe bands, using hard sticks (rear row in picture above). You will begin on a practice pad. Progression to the drum typically takes around six months, depending on you, and the amount of practice you can do. A practice pad and drums sticks are available for purchase from the band. Tuition materials are provided to you. You will not need to buy a drum – they are provided by the band.
Learn the Tenor or Bass Drum
Tenor and bass drums are the boom-boom type drums in pipe bands, using soft sticks. Generally you would learn to play a tenor drum first (front row in picture above), then bass if you liked and the opportunity was available (bands usually only have one or two bass drummers). To begin, you only need drum sticks. These are available for purchase from the band. Progression to the drum typically takes around four months, depending on you, and the amount of practice you can do. Tuition materials are provided to you. You will not need to buy a drum – they are provided by the band.