Whether you’ve always wanted to learn how to play the drums in a pipe band or have been playing for years, we have a place for you in our drum corp.

When and where are the lessons?
We meet every Saturday morning from 9 a.m. to about 10:30 am.
Classes are held upstairs at the CKE Community Hall (1015 – 73 Avenue S.W.)

Who can take lessons?
Anyone that is interested! You don’t need any previous musical experience, there are no age limitations and no fees other than the annual Society membership.

Are they really free?
Yes, and we will lend you a practice pad and sticks. If you wish to purchase your own, we will provide some recommends on what kind to get and where to get them.

Do I have to join the band?
No, there is no commitment to formally join the band  If you wish to, though, the band participates primarily at Society functions, parades and the massed bands at the end various Highland Games.

If I do join the band, do I have to compete?
There are two different kinds of competition at Highland games — solo and band.  You are welcome to compete in the solo competitions, but the band does not compete. We do participate in the massed bands at the end of the games, which is an incredible experience.

History of pipe band drumming
The original purpose of drums in a pipe band were to signal tactical movements and to control the cadence of the march in battle. Over time, pipe and drum bands evolved into civilian bands that participate in competitions and performances. Many of the military traditions have been retained, including the tunes and consistency in uniform.

The drumming portion of a pipe band is made up of two sections:

  • The drum corp, which are the snare (or side) drummers. Snare drums in a pipe band have a very unique, crisp sound.
  • The bass section (or midsection), which is comprised of tenor drummers and a bass drummer. This section provides the rhythm for the entire band. While there is generally only a single bass drummer that provides a steady beat, there are often several tenor drummers that contribute not only to the music, but also provide visual flair with the coordinated swinging and twirling of their sticks.


The Drum Major
Historically, and from a military perspective, the Drum Major (aka the Field Commander) was someone who instructed the drummers which beats to play in order to signal messages to the troops in battle. Because it was impossible to verbally pass on these commands to everyone, a mace was used to signal which beats the drummers should play.

There were other duties assigned to the Drum Major, which included overall dress and deportment, administrative work and administering military justice.

In competition and performance pipe bands, the Drum Major leads the band onto the field and controls the start and end of the march. They also direct the band which tunes to play and what time to keep. The Drum Major in competition and performance bands is often dressed very ornately, and the baton (similar to the mace) is frequently thrown in the air to add to the performance aspect.

Any questions please email: info@standrewcaledonian.ca