Our School

We Accept New Students All Year Long!

Classes are once a week at St. James Church Hall on Portland Street in Dartmouth. They run from mid-September to the end of May and are less than $10 a week!

If you are unable to make our registration dates, but are still interested in joining, email Lynn or stop by the school on Wednesdays from 6pm to 8:00pm to have a chat or sit in on a class.

Not sure if you’d rather play pipes or drums? Come see a demonstration! Please feel free to visit our school on Wednesday evenings for a tour and to meet the instructors.

What’s a pipe band?

Dartmouth & District Pipe Band is:

  • A non-profit teaching organization where youth and adults, age 8 and up, learn to play bagpipes and drums from beginner on up.
  • A chance for players to hone their musical skills in competition, concerts and ceremonies locally and across Canada.
  • A strongly competitive band that has won Atlantic Canadian and North American Championships and even played for the Queen on more than one occasion.
  • A place to build memories and friendships that last a lifetime.
  • A rewarding way to learn and explore Celtic culture and heritage.


↓ School registration form
↓ Band registration form

The Dartmouth & District Pipe Band invites you to our school to learn to play the highland bagpipes or drums and become part of our pipe band association. Students of all ages (8+ preferred) and abilities are encouraged to join and benefit from experienced instructors and band leaders. Travel with us as part of the band, throughout North America and overseas for parades, competitions and other band functions.

Our mission is to provide a supportive and structured teaching environment where youth and adults alike, can reach their full piping and drumming potential, while also building leadership, teamwork and teaching skills.

Our grade five band is our student’s introduction to playing in a band. Players continue to learn the basic sills of their instrument, and develop an understanding of pipe band structure, drill and performance.

Our grade three band is our top-level band. The goal of the grade three band is to refine skills and develop players as a group to compete and perform at a higher standard while continuing to play great music and having fun.

School Closure Policy
On those days when the Halifax Regional School Board is closed due to inclement weather, the Dartmouth & District Pipe Band School will also be closed. Should the schools be open, but weather conditions take a turn for the worse during the day, a notice will be posted on the web site. In addition, an email will be sent out to all students and band members, using the contact email we were provided with at registration, notifying them of the closure. The email will be posted no later than 5:00pm that day. Be sure to check your email or the web site, before heading to practice.  Also, if you are concerned about road conditions, use your own discretion regarding travel.


In the year 1940 Alex W. Sutherland moved from his home in Earltown, Colchester County, to the small town of Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. According to his recollection, he was the only resident piper in Dartmouth at that time.

This soon changed as Mr. Sutherland taught his children to play the Great Highland Bagpipe. They, in turn, taught their children and other relatives. His son, Gordon Sutherland, had three sons as well as nephews learning the pipes, so he formed a small pipe band. Gordon’s younger son later became a drummer in the band.

In 1965, Gordon Sutherland (assisted by his father, Alex W. Sutherland), formed the first Dartmouth Boy’s Pipe Band. Since then, the Dartmouth & District Pipe Band have always worn the Sutherland tartan in honour of their founders.

From a band comprised of a small group of boys in 1965, hundreds of pipers and drummers have since trained in the Dartmouth & District Pipe Band school. These pipers and drummers are now spread around the world where many band alumni have become famous and influential in the world of piping.