Many Pipe Bands face the difficulty of providing adequate teaching to beginner snare drummers. Drum corps often do not have access to teachers and the job is often left to whoever volunteers their time. These volunteers do the best they can but are often limited by their lack of teaching experience. They often have limited musical theory knowledge and not enough guidelines to follow on what to teach first, how to develop technique, and often can only guess at when to move students on to the next phase of their drumming. As a result, many students will never reach the level of their teacher and if they do, they progress no further, possibly becoming bored and remaining unaware of their own drumming potential. Others leave the band in search of another that can offer them the next level in their development, making growing a drum corps very difficult indeed!
The DrummingMad Method has been developed to tackle this problem head-on by providing a pathway consisting of educational guides, tools and resources for both teachers and students. This method simplifies the learning path to allow as many drummers as possible to have access to the best possible tools to develop their technique and musical knowledge correctly. By following the DrummingMad method, students are grounded in the correct techniques and musical knowledge right from the start, creating strong foundations for their drumming education experience.
The DrummingMad Method provides teachers and students with a purposeful sequence of structured lessons designed to ensure their entry into the world of Pipe Band Snare drumming is both fun and constructive. Each lesson comes with resources, a suggested time frame, and guides on how to monitor your progress throughout the program.
Whether you are a student or a teacher, the DrummingMad Method has been designed to assist you in the correct development of you or your students Pipe Band Snare drumming skills.
DrummingMad was founded in the year 2000 by Dean Hall. At the time it was very difficult for drummers to find new scores. DrummingMad was created in answer to this problem by providing an online library of easily accessible downloadable scores that covered all levels of skill for pipe band snare drumming. The new DrummingMad repository of drum scores had an unforeseen added benefit. The vast collection of scores was a great way for drummers to increase their repertoire, but it also allowed drummers to try their sticks at progressively harder scores, therefore increasing their skills by tackling the higher levels of compositions that they now had access to. This created a positive lift in both skill and interest in snare drumming, as there were now more scores to choose from!
During the creation of DrummingMad, Dean was teaching at the annual Breuberg Pipe Band workshops in Germany. Due to travel distances being too great for some students who wished to continue lessons with Dean, he began teaching remote students via Skype – hence becoming one of the very first pioneers of the Scottish Pipe Band Online Drumming Lesson.
The DrummingMad Online Lessons were the beginning of the educational arm of DrummingMad which has now grown to include numerous offerings aimed at providing drummers and potential drummers with tools and guidance to improve technique and creative expression, and to develop a well-rounded knowledge and skill base.
Today DrummingMad consists of multiple products and services and is a network of keen drummers, working for the betterment of the craft. DrummingMad is under constant development and growth, continuously adding resources, tools and information to create an ever growing pool from which drummers can draw from.
Dean Hall picked up a pair of drumsticks at the tender age of 11 and has never put them down!
Dean was introduced to the art of Pipe Band Snare Drumming by his father Robert Hall, who being a drummer himself with the City of Box Hill Pipe Band in Victoria, Australia, decided to take his young son along to band practice one night. Dean took to the snare drum instantly and began lessons under the tutelage of Leading Drummer and teacher Philip Howell.
Dean progressed rapidly with his drumming, taking on solo competitions and progressively moving up through the grades until reaching grade 1. Dean had then joined the City of Melbourne Pipe Band where he came under the direction of Leading Drummer Brett Staley.
After a number of years gaining experience with competitions, Dean moved to Warrnambool to take on his first role as Lead Drummer and teacher of the local grade 3 pipe band, under Pipe Major Donald Blair. Here Dean gained valuable experience teaching absolute beginners up to advanced students and within 3 years the band was promoted to grade 2 and Dean’s corps succeeded in winning the grade 2 state drum corps title.
During his time with the Warrnambool Pipe Band, Dean’s love of teaching snare drumming, awakened a deep desire to contribute to the art by raising both skill level and awareness of Pipe Band Snare Drumming.
In 1990, Dean rejoined grade 1 City of Melbourne Pipe Band, now as Lead Drummer. Here he was charged with the responsibility of teaching multiple levels of drummers in grades 4, 3 and 1. During his time in Melbourne, Dean also played as a guest player in 1993 with the Victoria Police Pipe Band under Leading Drummer Paul Turner, performing at the now famous Ballymena pre-worlds concert.
St. Laurence O’Toole went on to merge with another local pipe band, St. Joseph Clondalkin. With this merger came top drummer Stephen Creighton, to which Dean handed the reins of Lead to the more experienced Stephen.
During his time with St. Laurence O’Toole, the corps went on to win the All Ireland National Best Drum Corps prize in 2 successive years and regularly beat some of the best drum corps in the world.
Since 2003, Dean turned his focus to teaching Pipe Band Snare Drumming all over Europe and competing with The Pipeband Club (based in Australia). In 2009, Dean relocated back out to Australia, this time to Sydney where he took on the role of Head of Drumming at The Scots College. Teaching up to 150 drummers a week, Dean’s role at The Scots College enabled him to achieve an even greater focus on the development of methods and techniques for teaching and encouraging young drummers.
Dean Hall as Lead Drummer for St. Laurence O’Toole Pipe Band, at the All Ireland Nationals, 1997
Dean has been teaching since 1987 and has taught 2 World Champions;
Dean is often to be found teaching at various workshops and was the Head of Drumming at the German Annual Summer School for Piping and Drumming from 1995 – 2009. Dean is a regular adjudicator at competitions both in Australia and abroad and is the New South Wales Vice Principal of Drumming at Pipe Bands Australia. Dean currently teaches many online students around the world, from one-on-one lessons, up to entire drum corps.
You can also often find Dean drumming up a storm with the elite snare drumming group, Drumworx. Drumworx are a group of passionate drummers who are at the top of their craft of Scottish Pipe Band Drumming. The group come together to perform at various events around Australia, with the aim of providing entertainment and at the same time exhibiting the technically advanced, high quality playing of those who have worked hard to reach the highest standard in pipe band snare drumming.
For DrummingMad educational tools and resources
Dean’s Drumming Teachers in Chronological Order:
Dean’s love of learning and teaching is very apparent and this shows in the rapport that he and Cam have developed. Dean helps Cam understand the ‘why’ as well as the ‘how’ of drumming and this provides a great platform for future development.
Dean encourages Cam to transcribe scores and to compose his own scores. Each of these skills builds a deeper understanding of drumming, beyond just learning to play scores. Dean’s lessons are always fun and a highlight of Cam’s week.”
– Alec Lawson, father of DrummingMad student Cameron Lawson
“We placed 1st in drumming at two competitions over the weekend and 2nd at a very big one in North Berwick, beating the current Scottish, European, and British champions. Couldn’t have done it without you Dean!”
– Tripert Singh, LD of the Sri Dasmesh Malaysian Sikh Pipe Band. Drum corps has been working with DrummingMad since 2015
“I recommend Dean as a drumming tutor without hesitation and think very highly of him. He is dedicated, professional, extremely patient and always encouraging. Dean is determined to ensure that his students are taught correctly and are never rushed until he is a happy that they are ready to play in a band.
His method of teaching always amazes me. If one is experiencing some form of difficulty with playing a score Dean writes an exercise which assists in overcoming that difficulty.”
– Janine Collard, DrummingMad student since 2014
“The main advantage of the DrummingMad StartPad is that it doesn’t move about all over the table like other practice pads do. It’s definitely a big plus!
The StartPad also gives a nice clear sound without the rubber being too hard.
I also think the target area is a great idea for learners and even maybe some established players who want to sharpen up their aim!”
– Keith Orr, Lead Drummer of Field Marshal Montgomery Pipe Band