Are there monthly dues?
     Is there a time limit for me to learn to play?
     How long does it take to learn to play?
     What must I learn before I can perform?
     Do I have to compete with the band?
     How much daily practice is required?
     Will the band provide pipes or drums?
     What additional equipment and maintenance items does a piper need?
     What does the band provide?

Q. Are there monthly dues?
A. There are no monetary monthly dues, but each band member is expected to donate his or her time and perform with the band. The NCCPB is a non-profit organization funded primarily by proceeds from performance.
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Q. Is there a time limit for me to learn to play?
A. There is no time limit; you play when you are ready. Learning to play should be enjoyable, not stressful. Besides, most new drummers and pipers pressure themselves very effectively without any help from us! Every band has players in all stages of development. Each member is free to choose the pace that he or she is comfortable with, and all members are encouraged to be the best that they can be.
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Q. How long does it take to learn to play?
A. The time required differs for each member and depends greatly on how much time is dedicated to studying and playing. You will never stop learning. Generally, it takes several months to a year to apply the rudiments of drumming and piping to basic musical phrases. Most people study these rudiments for a minimum of six months before they begin to play pipes or drums. Most beginners practice their instruments for about a year before they can play well enough to perform. Above all else, you must have self-discipline to progress rapidly. You must commit to your lessons and practice your rudiments as well as learn new tunes and play the instrument.
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Q. What must I learn before I can perform?
A. You must learn and memorize the performance/parade sets and demonstrate adequate proficiency to the Pipe Major, Pipe Sergeant and Drum Sergeant.
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Q. Do I have to compete with the band?
A. Band members are not required to compete, but the challenge of competition can greatly benefit both individual players and the band. The benefits of competition result in a general tightening of sound and unison. However, these results can also occur in a very healthy and happy performance group.
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Q. How much daily practice is required?
A. Each person progresses at his or her own rate based on ability and practice time. The more you practice, the faster you progress. We recommend a minimum of thirty minutes daily if you can. As you begin to play pipes or drums, you will need time for practicing the rudiments, as well as extra playing time on your instrument. It is better to practice a small amount every day rather than a large amount once a week. After piping students get onto the pipes, they must also blow them several minutes a day, even if they cannot practice, just to keep the instrument in working condition.
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Q. Will the band provide pipes or drums?
A. The band will supply drums, sticks/mallets, and drum keys to drummers. Pipers must have their own sets of pipes. A new set of bagpipes--not including such accoutrements as a case, reeds, water trap, and essential maintenance items--can range upward from $900 US. This seems expensive to some people, but pipes are not mass produced, and the best sets are made of Mpingo or African Blackwood. Sometimes bagpipes can be bought used, but there is a high demand, and used pipes are difficult to find. For more information on current prices from a range of pipe makers, talk to the band Quartermaster.
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Q. What additional equipment and maintenance items does a piper need?
A. You will need chanter reeds, and these are provided by the band at no expense in reasonable numbers. You will need drone reeds, woodwind bore oil, brushes, black wax, bees wax, hemp, and drone plugs. If you play a hide bag, you will also need bag seasoning. These items are relatively inexpensive and are usually bought either at the time you buy pipes or over time.
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Q. What does the band provide?
A. The band will supply some equipment, most uniform items, and educational experience.
Equipment: The band will supply chanter reeds. Drumheads, tension adjustment keys or tools are also available.
Uniform: Most uniform parts are provided by the band. For more information see Uniform.
Education: The band will provide an environment to foster your musical development and enjoyment. It will supply you with the music that the band plays and individual competition music. We have a library of pipe and drum music. From time to time, the NCCPB issues scholarships for piping and drumming events such as seminars and workshops.
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We are currently looking to bring in experienced snare drummers as soon as possible. If that's you, please contact Dan Roush or come to a practice.