Learning to play the Great Highland Bagpipe

Bagpipe lessons at the SSPD cost $15 per week in a group situation for 45 minutes. These are available at Vineyard on a Monday from 5.30pm - 6.15pm.

Individual one to one lessons are $55 for a 45 minutes. These are available during business hours any day of the week at St Clair or on the following evenings at: Windsor on Mondays, St Ives on Tuesday or Saturday mornings at St Clair between 8.30am – 11.30am       

We can also arrange for SKYPE lessons and these are $44 for 45 minutes and we have many great tutors available at a time that suits you from the comfort of your own home. Alternately, we have tutors who can come directly to you at your premises and the cost of this is $77 for a one to one private lesson.

When you begin to learn the Great Highland Bagpipe you actually commence on an instrument called a ‘practice chanter’. In polypenco plastic these start at cost $95. You can also purchase access to our online tutorial system, The Millennium Method which costs $99.00.

On the practice chanter you will learn scales and embellishments associated with bagpipe playing and to read music and understand note duration. You will be taken through 6 basic tunes which you will have to memorise whilst learning to tap your feet and march in time to the tunes. Once you have memorised six tunes it will be time to progress to playing a bagpipe. On the bagpipe you will learn to ‘wind’ it correctly and play the six tunes you have memorised upon it.

To reach this stage normally takes around 9 months. A basic bagpipe will cost between $1,800 – $2,800 depending upon how much ornamentation you desire.

To progress toward playing basic tunes within a normal time frame you would be expected to do a minimum of 30 minutes practice each day. This can be broken into 3 small sessions of 10 minutes.

Once you can play your six tunes, wind your bagpipe and march in time on the bagpipe, it will be time to think about choosing a band to join.

Once your standard progresses to a level where you are attending band practice, you will be supplied with more complex tunes to learn. Most bands, once you can play approx. 12 tunes may invite you to join their band and supply you with a uniform. To reach this level normally takes between 9 – 12 months.

Learning to play the Scottish Snare Drum

Snare Drum lessons at the SSPD cost $15 per week in a group on a Monday at Vineyard between 5pm – 7pm or $55 per lesson for individual one to one tuition for 45 minutes at ST Ives on a Tuesday from 5pm-9pm

When you commence to learn the snare drum style used in the pipe band idiom, you start with a pair of drum sticks that are quite a bit larger in diameter then normal kit drum sticks.Pipe band style drum sticks cost approx. $25 a pair and you will also need a practice pad and stand and these costs approx. $95.

On your drum pad you will learn to play your basic rudiments and exercises whilst gaining ‘finger control’. These rudiments and exercises eventually enable you to be able to play complete drum scores. This can take several months and whilst learning the rudiments and exercises you will also be taught to read drum music scores and tap your feet in-time to the music.

Once you have mastered the basic massed bands scores for 2/4, 3/4, 4/4 and 6/8 competently you may than be asked to attend your first band practice and commence playing the scores you have learnt on a drum.

Once attending practice you will work on perfecting your scores and learning to play “as one” with the rest of the drum corps. Playing on a drum has a very different feel to practicing on a drum pad. You will also continue to learn more difficult rudiments and drum scores which will enable you to work toward playing with a competitive band if that is your desire.

Once you’re standard progresses to a level which may see a band invite you to join them, they normally supply you with a drum, a harness and a uniform.

Learning to play the Flourishing Tenor Drum

Tenor Drum lessons at the SSPD cost $15 per week in a group at Windsor on a Monday between 5.30pm - 6.15pm or $55 per lesson for 45 minute individual one on one lesson at St Ives on a Tuesday evening.

When you commence to learn the flourishing tenor, you start with a pair of drum beaters. These costs approx. $100 a pair.

These beaters or drum sticks have laces attached at one end which will allow you to twirl (or swing) the stick.

Your practice lessons will consist of learning the rhythm patterns that create the pulse of the music for a pipe band. Whilst learning these rhythm patterns you are also instructed on how to perform the various basic swings that tenor drummers perform in massed band style settings. Your lessons will also include ‘mirror work’ instruction to ensure that your swinging is in a perfect position at all times.

Mastering the basic massed bands scores for 2/4, 3/4, 4/4 and 6/8 competently will may than see you progress to being ready to attend a band practice and to commence playing on a drum.

This normally takes around 4 – 6 months of weekly lessons with the student doing around 30 minutes a day practice at home. This practice should be broken up into two different fifteen minute sessions, one covering the memorising of the music score and the other concentrating on your flourish techniques.

Once you are attending band practices you will also be given more difficult scores and complex rhythms and flourishes to learn.

Once your standard progresses to a level which will see joining a pipe band, they would supply you with a drum and uniform.

Our principle Tenor Drum Tutor is Mr Michael Smith.  Michael won the Young Australasian Tenor Drummer of the Year in 2011 and is the current Australian B Grade Champion and NSW A Grade Champion.