St Marys Band Club Pipes & Drums welcomes anyone interested in learning the bagpipes, snare drum, bass and tenor drums

Previous musical experience is not required. Band tutors are experienced pipers and drummers who can instruct players at all levels in a friendly, structured learning environment.

Tuition is FREE of charge. The only requirement – aside from enthusiasm and commitment – is membership of St Marys District Band Club.


Tuition - St Marys Band Club Pipes and Drums

Learn the Bagpipes:

To learn the bagpipes, you will need to start by learning the practice chanter.

Step 1: The practice Chanter

The practice chanter is used by beginners and advanced players to learn the basic musical notes, to practice moving cleanly between notes, to develop the finger movements that provide the embellishments for all tunes and to learn and memorise new tunes. Structured tuition once or twice a week and regular personal practice of 15 -30 minutes each day on the practice chanter is the foundation for all piping. Enthusiastic learners graduate to playing traditional pipe tunes very quickly.

Step 2: Getting on to the bagpipes

After mastering the practice chanter, the next step is to learn how to play the bagpipes. Learners can expect to be starting onto the bagpipes within 6-12 months. There is a step between the chanter and the bagpipes proper, called the goose. The goose is basically a set of bagpipes without the “drones” that helps the transition.

Tuition is free of charge.

The band can loan practice chanters to all learner pipers. The band will provide bagpipes on loan, so there is no need to worry about the cost or outlay before you or your child starts to learn. Pipes are issued once you progress through to this stage of your learning.

Learn the snare drum.

Pipe band drumming uses techniques and skills that are used in marching bands, kit drumming and drum corps units.  Any interested in learning any form of drumming would benefit from learning pipe band drumming.

To learn the drums, like the pipes, you don’t start out on the drum itself.

All that is needed is a pair of drum sticks and a drum practice pad (parents might be pleased to know that it is sound absorbing).

Regular tuition and practice will allow a learner to play simple beatings within 3 to 9 months that will enable you to progress to playing the snare drum and to start to join in with the drum corp.

Tuition is free of charge. There is no need to purchase sticks, practice pads or a drum – these will be supplied on loan by the band as you progress through the relevant stages.


Learn the Tenor/Bass drum

The tenor and bass drums are the rhythm section of the band setting the tempo, adding emphasis and expression to the timing and providing the flourish associated with Pipe Bands.

The flourish comes from swinging and spinning the soft drumsticks as part of the ensemble performance.

To begin tenor or bass drumming all that is required are the soft sticks, which are supplied on loan by the band. You will learn music theory and with regular practice, can progress to the tenor drum or bass drum in 3- 6 months.

Tuition is free of charge. There is no need to purchase sticks or a drum.

All learner pipers and drummers are taught basic music theory.

Joining the other band-members in the circle or on parade starts once you have memorised a few basic tunes and demonstrated the right foundations on the bagpipes, snare, tenor or bass drum.

All equipment is property of St Marys Band Club

Practice chanters/drum sticks and practice pads are supplied by band learners are required to pay a $30 deposit which will be refunded if you leave or decide to invest in your own instruments.