St. Andrew's Legion Pipes and Drums  

Richmond, VA   
   SALPD Cap Badge Logo Honoring the past...
Marching to the future.

F.A.Q. (Frequently Asked Questions)

General Band F.A.Q.

  • Is there an age limit to be in the band?
    No. We welcome all members regardless of age.

  • What expenses are involved?
    The only fees involved are the cost of your uniform and instrument. There are no membership fees. You will need to buy your practice equipment and uniform. The band has payment plans to help purchase your uniform in installments. There are also reputable dealers out there who can help with the financing of your instruments. This can be a pretty expensive hobby but there are ways to alleviate some of the expense.

  • What kind of time/commitment level is required?
    As much as you want to commit to. In order to be a good piper or drummer you need to practice every day. Your speed and progress will be determined by your commitment to practice. Once you have your uniform and are capable of marching you can fit as many events as you can into your schedule. There will be some events where your participation will be encouraged but it's all up to you and how much time you are willing to commit to.

  • Do I have to be of Scottish or Irish descent to play in the band?
    No. Everyone is welcome.

  • What is actually worn under the kilt?
    You'll have to join to find out!

  • How long before I can march with the band?
    As soon as you can piece together a complete uniform you can march with the color guard. Many members have extra pieces to the uniform that they will loan you until you are able to purchase your own. The color guard is an interregnal part of this band. You will gain the experience of marching and participating with your fellow bandmates.

  • How can I support the band?
    There are many ways to support the band. You can donate money as the band always needs money to purchase and equip members. You can donate your time. We always need help setting up and taking down tents and various equipment at events. You can make a purchase from our web site or at an event. Last but not least you can come out hear us and cheer loudly. We are always looking for piping "groupies".

  • How is St. Andrew's Legion Different from other local pipe bands?
    We are not a competition band. We do not compete in any sanctioned events. Everyone that can play, plays. We are a military style pipe band and are set up in such a fashion. We have a color guard and members who do nothing more than color guard.

Drum F.A.Q.

  • What kind of drums are played in a bagpipe band?
    1. 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.
    2. 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. "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. "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.
    3. 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.

  • What is the importance of drums in a pipe band?

  • The drum sections keeps the beat for the bagpipe band, but that isn't its 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?

  • No, You need only provide a sincere desire to learn and a commitment to practice.

  • Will I need to purchase any supplies to take lessons?

  • Yes. You will need to purchase a drum pad (about $25) and a pair of drumsticks (about $15). In addition you may want to use a small cassette recorder (or your cell phone) to record 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 excersises 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 more quickly.

    How far you progress beyond "street level" will likely depend on how determined you are and how much practice time you 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 pipemajor@standrewslegion.org or just show up at one of our practices.
copyright © 2003 Greater Trenton Pipes and Drums. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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Bagpipe F.A.Q.

  • 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?

  • No, You need only provide a sincere desire to learn and a commitment to practice.

  • Will I need to purchase any supplies to take lessons?

  • Yes. You will need to purchase a practice chanter and the College Of Piping Vol I(the green book) .

  • What will the lessons be like?

  • Each new student will start from scratch (if you have previous experience this will help you in reading the music). You'll enter in with a group of studenst at your level. We start with the very basics: The scale and how to play it. You'll move on from there to the various embellishments. Along the way the tunes that the band plays will be taught in conjunction to the embellishments you are learning. New students are given a piper's work book that contains excersises and the bands basic song sets. You can proceed at your own pace checking off each objective as you reach it. Once you learn about six to eight tunes you will be ready to purchase your pipes.

  • 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!

  • How do I get started?

  • Send an email to info@standrewslegion.org for more information or just show up at one of our practices.
copyright © 2003 Greater Trenton Pipes and Drums. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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