The Beeston & District Pipe Band is committed to providing tuition to people wishing to learn an instrument with a view to becoming a member of the Society. Tuition is provided in-house in the following areas:
We also have a world-class Drum Major, Chris Goodwin, who can instruct potential "show-offs"!
The Band is always happy to receive interested people of any age and once players are up to a reasonable standard membership of the Society is normally automatic. From then on there may be the opportunity to compete with the band as well as attend engagements both at home and abroad. The band needs people focussed on the competition side of things in order to continually improve our general musical standards; however we also recognise the essential part played by our learners and those not quite up to competing standard (yet) to swell the ranks to produce an impressive band for public engagements. These engagements are our principal source of income to fund practice halls and replacement uniforms so everyone has an important part to play - you could be out in public sooner than you think!
Uniform, when appropriate, is supplied free of charge (just remember it belongs to the band!). Drums are generally bought in sets and are therefore normally bought by the band. Bagpipes, however, are generally personal possessions, often handed down from father to son (no sexism implied!) - the consumables such as reeds and bags are usually again supplied by the band. Don't worry - chanters and sticks will be loaned in the beginning until you decide whether our music and company is enjoyable or not!
Snare Drum Tuition is provided by Drum Sergeant David Wright who, along with his father, Drum Major John Wright, has compiled a comprehensive drumming guide (The Beeston & District Pipe Band Society Drumming Manual) to help you practice at home. Click here to view a sample.
As well as learning to play practically there is also a large emphasis on learning to read music. The Band is committed to supporting the RSPBA's continued efforts to improve the technical standards of reading and writing music as it is universally accepted that an understanding of the structure of music must lead to better playing. Its not rocket science. No, really - if the thought of reading music worries you calm your fears right now. We have a lot of very patient people who will make you realise just how easy it actually is! Forget any bad experiences of rote learning in school - with a specific goal of playing the selected instrument in front of you it is surprising just how quickly the basics can be picked up.
In fact the RSPBA has just recently revamped its entire Elementary/Intermediate/Advanced Certificate programme to bring it in line with more nationally-accepted music grading schemes. Visit the RSPBA website for more details on this important topic.
Initial practices will be on the practice chanter for pipers and on sticks & practice pad for drummers. Bass and Tenor students will be expected to learn at least the basics of snare drumming also.
And the learning never stops - Last year a small squad of our top bass and tenor team attended a seminar in Birmingham led by Tyler Fry, recognised widely as one of THE top tenor drummers in the world. The (free) seminar, "Totally Tenors 2006" was organised by the RSPBA Midlands Branch - especially Dave Frith of the Ashbourne Pipe Band - and has led to a veritable explosion of enthusiasm in the corps for the latest flourishing techniques.
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"Totally Tenors 2006"
If you are interested in learning please email the Band who will then contact you with further details.
If you are interested but unsure - take the plunge and just come along to one of our regular practices. You will be warmly welcomed, will have a good chance to discuss any questions you may have and will probably have the chance to try a drum or practice chanter yourself. Pipe band practices have a reputation world-wide as open-house affairs, especially to potential new recruits. In the height of the summer contest season it might be best to contact the band ahead of a visit, though - if the band is due to compete at "a Major" in a few days' time we might not be able to do your visit justice!
An alternative is simply to come up and talk to any of us if you see us at an official engagement or contest (though again please pick your time carefully - we can't very well have a discussion as the Band approaches "The Line" at the World's, can we?).
At least thinking about it? Good for you! (and maybe good for us, too!)