Members & Learners


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Want to learn bagpipes or drums? Well you better get yourself down to one of our practice nights quick smart!!!  We've got lots of young learners at the moment, including under-10s and up on practice chanters and pads, and teens going on the pipes and drums. We've also got adult learners from beginners to intermediate.

You don't have to be Scottish, or like Haggis, but you have to wear a kilt!

Pipers and drummers with previous experience (at any level) are also welcome to join as playing members or learners.

There is a small fee for tuition within the band. Uniforms and drums are provided by the band. We have some band pipes for loan, but most pipers obtain their own pipes. We can help with that, there is no hurry (see below)

Practices are every Thursday evening from 6:30pm for learners, with the main band practice starting at 7:30pm.

Our teaching programme

We have one goal in our teaching programme: bringing learners on to become great players of pipes and drums, whether they ultimately stay in the band, focus on solos, or pursue other piping and drumming opportunities.

While we progress learners briskly towards integrating into the playing ranks of the band (because our "parade" repertoire is set at a Grade IV level), we have an strong emphasis on accurate learning of the fundamentals of piping and drumming at all stages. We use personal and band goal-setting to help learners realise their potential and take their piping and drumming through to the highest levels.

Once learners are going on the parade tunes, and stepping out with the band, they can start working on the contest tunes which are more advanced. We use tutors from within and without the band. Learners are actively mentored by band members, in addition to receiving individual tuition.

Pipe Band Scene

The pipe band scene in New Zealand (as elsewhere) centres around the summer contest season at Highland Games and band competitions, building up to the National contest in early March. Christmas parades, ANZAC Day, other community parades and an assortment of tattoos, Celtic festivals and Burns nights are staples of the pipe band calendar. City of Auckland Pipe Band also focuses on concert presentations, of which we've done many over the years. In the winter months (our "off-season") we prepare new material and develop skills.

It's a family friendly scene, and a great way to meet all sorts of people throughout New Zealand and abroad. The Highland Games are always a fun day out, and have sporting events, highland dancing, and often solo piping contests. 

Pipers

Learner pipers start out on the practice chanter (about the size of a recorder) for learning the basic fingerings and some basic tunes. We can lend you a practice chanter initially, but you will want your own if you continue (about $120). We provide a tutor book and other materials.  After about 3-9 months, you can start working on the full bagpipes, and should be looking to get out on parades in 12-18 months. We also encourage, and actively manage, our learners in competing in solo piping events in the wider Auckland region (which are graded from complete novice on practice chanter, right through to Open level piping).

Don't rush out and buy bagpipes just yet - there is some work to be done before then, and you want to be careful that you get a good reliable set (like anything else, there is some rubbish out there). You will need some guidance on this.

Drummers

Learner side (ie, snare) drummers start out on sticks and pads, and after learning basic rudiments and some key settings will start playing on drums and getting out on parade.  The timeline is similar to pipes, but will vary with each learner.  Bass section drumming (tenor drum and bass drum) is similar as well, but with the "flourishing" movements to learn instead of the some of the rudimentary techniques. There is usually only one bass drummer in a band, and usually that player has moved into the role from tenor drumming or side drumming.

The band has sticks and pads.

Feel free to contact us at any time to discuss learning opportunities, or come and see us play at one of our parades.