Learn the Drums

 I want to play the Drums!

How difficult is it to learn the Drums?

Not hard at all actually. As with any other instrument, the more you practice the better you’ll get, but the benefit of drums is that they dont take 30 minutes per day to tune (like Bagpipes do)! Well maybe not 30 minutes, but you get the picture…

What do I need to get started?

You’ll want a set of Pipe Band (PB) Drum sticks, which the band can supply you for a minimal fee, and once you wear them out, you can buy more for around $30.00 per set.

How often do I need to practice?

If you can manage 10 minutes per day to build up your wrist, finger and memory muscle strength, you’ll be doing well. The practice isn’t hard at all, as long as you can make time for it each day, or as often as you can. We don’t suggest doing more than 20 minutes per day for the first few months at least, so you don’t overdo it. It will come to you naturally if you practice in small portions regularly.

Okay, I’m game. What do I do now?

Click here to organise your first lesson and let’s get you started!

What can I expect when I start learning the Drums?

Learner drummers are required to purchase their own drumsticks and have their own practice pad.

The process of learning the Marching Drums is as follows:

1. Practice Phase (and this never stops…)

All Drummers use a variety of surfaces to practice on, with the most common being a Practice Pad. This is usually a “Billy Hyde” practice pad on a Practice Stand. A block of wood with some conveyor belt glued to it, is also a good practice pad. You can also practice on a pillow (to reduce noise and build your hand/wrist strength) while watching TV, tap your hands on your legs when you’re taking a break at work etc.

Like every instrument, you’re going to have to start by learning to read drum music (the mental side of drumming) and many if the Rudiments of Drumming, (the physical side of drumming), of which there are 40 main rudiments. You won’t need to learn them all straight away, but you’ll cover quite a few of the basics in your first few months, such as single-stroke and double-stroke, mamma-dadda, paradiddles, flams and accents. If this sounds a bit crazy…well it is, but that’s drumming for you!

Once you’ve got some basic rudiments locked away, we’ll start you on some simple tunes that we can play with you, so you can start to practice with the rest of the band. Prepare yourself for this to take 3-6 months so you can pace yourself and keep up your practice.

2. Band Practice

Once you’re able to play some simple tunes on the practice pad competently, you’ll be issued with a Band Drum to play on. Then on practice nights, we’ll continue working on more rudiments with you, and learn some new tunes, and at the end of practice night, you’ll join the rest of the band for some practice tunes. You can take this at your own pace and you’ll never be asked to play if you’re not comfortable, so don’t stress; we’ll never push you beyond your comfort zone.

Still Learning Drums…but getting awesomer..

3. Standing Play-outs

Once you’ve got several tunes down pat, you’ll be able to join in our non-marching play-outs, to get a feel for playing for an audience in public. We play dozens of gigs each year so there’s always something happening that you can join in. We don’t expect members to play at every turn-out, but the more numbers we have, the better the sound of the band, and the greater the public appreciates our attendance at their event.

4. Marching Play-outs!

Congratulations! Now you’re entering the big leagues. You’re no super-Drummer yet, but you’re pretty clever all the same! If you can keep the beat, march with the correct footing, turn corners, step over gutters without looking and be unphased by un-even ground underfoot, you’re doing very well, and ready for some Marching and playing simultaneously. It’s no easy feat, but when you can do it without thinking, you know you’re smashing it!

5. Concert

The big finale, or rather, the biggest event on our annual calendar, is the St. Andrew’s Day concert, which is held at the Mackay Entertainment Centre, usually to an audience of 500-1,000. If you’re ready to play in the concert, you’ve been drumming for at least 6-9 months, and you’ve practised like crazy. If you’re not ready just yet, don’t sweat it, just keep practising and you’ll play even better at next year’s concert!

6. Competitions

If you’re really keen and want even more challenge with your music you may be interested in competition performances.

As a member of a recognised band, you can enter and compete, either as part of our competition band or as an individual.