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Raleigh’s Pipe Band – the Wake and District Public Safety Pipes and Drums currently has 60+ members who come from all walks of life and bring an indeterminate amount of experience with them. Our members are police officers, lawyers, engineers, students, machinists, Doctors to name but a few and all are tremendous individuals who share the common goal of being a successful and competitive pipe band.

OPEN HOUSES SCHEDULED FOR:
January 8th and 15th  from 3p-4p
at the NCSHP Training Center
3318 Garner Road, Raleigh (see map below)

Our mission is to provide a distinguishing tribute for our fallen comrades and to be in service to the families of public safety employees of the Raleigh region and across North Carolina. We desire to strengthen relations between the protective services and the public while preserving cultural heritage and enriching our community by providing the highest tradition of Bagpipe and Drum music.

We are seeking new members
to grab hold of this tradition…


Want to learn to play the bagpipes or drums?

We can help you. One of the primary goals of the our band is to teach anyone who has a sincere desire to learn to play. We will provide you with lessons, with the only obligation being your commitment to learning.  Please see our Frequently Asked Questions below for more information.

One of the biggest questions we receive is with regards to age — what is a good age to start learning the pipes/drums?  While the bagpipes and drums appear to be very physical instruments, pipe band life starts with practice chanters (similar to a recorder) and drum sticks and pads; we start with teaching music.  Our youngest students have started at 8 years old.  Our youngest piper started at 11 (same with our youngest drummer).  It really depends on the child and most importantly…parents.


BAGPIPE FAQ’s

I’ve heard the bagpipe is a difficult instrument to learn; is this true?

Yes and no. There are more skills to learn with a bagpipe than with most other instruments. You will not only need to learn to play the notes of the melody, but there are also embellishments to learn which give the bagpipe its distinct sound.

Also there are some coordination issues involved such as playing the notes while blowing into the bag and squeezing the bag. You could compare this to learning to ride a bicycle. You have to balance and pedal and steer all at the same time, but once you put all of these pieces together it all falls into place.

In addition it takes a fair amount of lung capacity and endurance to play the pipes. This will develop as you learn to play the instrument.

Will I have to pay for the lessons?

For group lessons, no.  You need only provide a sincere desire to learn and a commitment to practice.  One on one instruction is available starting at $25 per lesson.

Will I need to purchase any supplies to take lessons?

Yes. You will need to purchase a practice chanter (about $100).

How long will it take to learn to play?

This will vary greatly depending on your natural ability, previous musical experience and the amount of practice time that you devote. With average ability and a reasonably dedicated practice ethic you could reach minimum “street level” (parade) playing ability in about one year.

How far you progress beyond “street level” will likely depend on how determined you are and how much practice time you dedicate.

Once I learn to play will there be a place for me in your band?

Certainly!


DRUM FAQs

What kind of drums are played in a bagpipe band?

There are basically three types of drums used in a bagpipe band.

I. Snare drum: This is the most prominent sounding drum in the drum line. The snare drum that is used in a bagpipe band is different from the snare drums that are used in other bands. The pipe band snare drum has snare mechanisms on both the top and bottom drumheads. The drumheads are also tensioned much higher than on a normal snare drum. This results in a very high pitched and crisp snare sound which compliments the notes played on the bagpipe “chanter”.

II. Tenor drum: This is the drum that fills in the middle tones in a pipe band. The tenor drum is usually pitched the same as the bass drone on the bagpipes. Some bands may have multiple tenor drums and pitch them to various notes on the chanter scale. Pipe bands can have two types of tenor drum players:

  1. A “flourishing” tenor drummer does fancy “swings” with his/her mallets which visually compliment and add excitement to the band’s performance. A flourishing tenor drummer also plays rhythmic beatings which fill in the overall ensemble sound.
  2. A “rhythm” tenor drummer focuses on rhythmic beating which compliment the music. A rhythm tenor drummer usually plays within a pattern framework (ex. Hard, soft, medium, soft) that helps set the “groove” for the band.

III. Bass drum: This drum is the heartbeat of the band. The bass drum is usually pitched to the bass drone of the bagpipes, but an octave lower than the tenor drum. The bass drum sets the pace of the music as well as adding the harmonic “bottom” tone of the band. The bass drummer must have a strong sense of rhythm. A good bass drummer will set a strong “groove” for the band that makes it easy for the pipers and drummers to play together.

The importance of drums in a pipe band: The drum sections keeps the beat for the bagpipe band, but that isn’t it’s only job. The bagpipe is an instrument that can only be played at one volume level. There are no mechanisms for increasing or decreasing the volume. Everything sounds the same – LOUD! The drum section provides the illusion of the band playing more quietly or more loudly. This musical effect is referred to as “Dynamics”. A good drum section will work together, playing softer or louder parts together. The tenor and bass drummers may accent (strike more loudly) a beat that will compliment the accents that the snare drummers play. The snare drummers will often play parts or “chips” throughout the music to further enhance the dynamics within the ensemble.

Will I have to pay for the lessons?

For group lessons, no.  You need only provide a sincere desire to learn and a commitment to practice.  One on one instruction is available starting at $25 per lesson.

Will I need to purchase any supplies to take lessons?

Yes. You will need to purchase a drum pad (about $30) and a pair of drumsticks (about $20). In addition you may want to use a small cassette recorder to tape your lessons.

What will the lessons be like?

We like to start each new student as if they are starting from scratch (if you have previous experience this will likely be a quick review). We start with the very basics: Learning to properly grip the sticks and strike the drum. New students are given exercises to work on at home to develop proper technique. At each week’s lesson the student will be given instruction in reading drum music as well as developing the drum rudiments, such as rolls and paradiddles. The lessons are progressive; as each lesson is mastered new material is added.

How long will it take to learn to play?

This will vary depending on your natural ability, previous musical experience and the amount of practice time that you dedicate. With average ability and a reasonably dedicated practice ethic you could reach minimum “street level” (parade) playing ability in about one year. It has been done quicker.

How far you progress beyond “street level” will likely depend on how determined you are and how much practice time devote to the instrument.

Once I learn to play will there be a place for me in your band?

Absolutely.


How do I get started?

Send an email to join@raleighpipeband.com for more information.


map
North Carolina State Highway Patrol Training Academy – 3318 Garner Road, Raleigh, NC

All rehearsals are open to the public.  Rehearsals are held at the North Carolina State Highway Patrol Training Academy – 3318 Garner Road, Raleigh, NC — Building #4.

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