August 16, 2016

LA Scots drummer uses score at World’s

Richard Baughman using AirTurn TAP in the LA Scots’ MSR at the World’s.

Richard Baughman, a snare drummer with the Grade 1 Los Angeles Scots, might be the first to openly read a score while competing at the World Pipe Band Championships. While memorization is standard for pipe band, solo piping and pipe band drumming performances, only the Eastern United States Pipe Band Association has a rule that disallows the use of music in competition.

Baughman is the pipe band drumming instructor at Carnegie-Mellon University in Pittsburgh, and served as leading-drummer for the LA Scots from 2006 until 2010 when he was replaced by Glenn Kvidahl over “philosophical differences.” Molly Steuber was made L-D of the band in September 2015 and, according to Baughman, she and Pipe-Major Colin Armstrong were fine with him using music.

“I did it because I feel more comfortable reading and the band didn’t cut me, even though it’s looked down on and in some cases illegal,” Baughman said. “I want my students to be able to read [music] if they don’t have time in their busy schedules to memorize the music, which isn’t very important, in my opinion. I prefer to focus on how the music is played and approached.”

Baughman pointed out that using the musical score is commonly used in most genres and is perfectly acceptable and accepted.

LA Scots competed in the medley and MSR events in the Friday qualifying round, and the band finished last in each event, but was ahead of a few bands in drumming, which was judged by Ciaran Mordaunt (MSR) and Mark Wilson (medley).

“[The judges] are not looking for it, [but] I was not hiding it,” Baughman added. “The judges are supposed to listen and luckily RSPBA judges . . . are highly respected by me and most intelligent folks.”

Baughman used a set-up for his iPhone 4s called AirTurn TAP, which allows the score to be displayed and the player taps a pad with a stick to turn the page when needed. He used Velcro to stick his iPhone to the rim of his drum, with the page-turning pads velcroed to his harness, connected to his phone by Bluetooth. To prepare for the bad weather, Baughman coated the device with a water-repellent wax that he purchased at a camping store in Glasgow.

LA Scots marching on at the World’s.

Baughman also used the application when competing with LA Scots at the Victoria Highland Games in British Columbia earlier in the season. He said that drumming judges Colin Magee and Bill Saul knew that he was sight-reading at that competition and there appeared to be no penalties from either adjudicator.

The Carnegie-Mellon band competes in the EUSPBA circuit, and Baughman said that he hopes that the association will rescind the rule against sight-reading while competing.

Baughman is a graduate of the prestigious Juilliard School of music in New York, holds a Doctorate in Musical Arts from the University of Southern California.



  1. If the article stated that a SLOT drummer (placed 1st in both MSR & Medley final at the Worlds 2016, for those of you who didn’t notice, especially the drummers in the US of A) had sight read the music on the competition field, I might actually be impressed.
    Ya pickin’ up what I’m layin’ down?
    Peace, y’all…

    1. Dear Bagpipermann(are you afraid of your name?),

      Let me first say, huge congrats to SLOT, Stephen, Mikey and the guys. I’m sure this won’t be the last time you win the worlds and you deserve to be honored like Kings(Stephen you certainly look like one). Sorry if some Yank felt like he had to steal some of your glory.

      If you thoroughly read the article you would see that the reason for my doing this wasn’t to impress, but to help my students get the education they seriously desire. I want the EUSPBA rule to DQ anyone using music removed(for those of you that still haven’t fully read the article) as it doesn’t exist in the RSPBA and they are the standard for class and high achievement in the wonderful world of pipes and drums. I mean they run the WPBC don’t they? What does EUSPBA have? When the RSPBA changes the rule then it will makes sense for other associations to follow suit. I mean all of this respectfully and I know sometimes you Scots would rather me just shut up and play by your out dated traditions some of which include excessive drinking and disrespecting women. Let’s focus on the matter. I’d rather play with the music memorized and the LA Scots should should have cut me. No band that’s actually trying to win(specifically the world’s in G1), would let any drummer EVEN me the amazing RICARDO BAUGHMANO;) play with music. Reading on the field COULD be really useful in bands that are trying to teach and also include older folks with memory issues and those with learning disabilities. Did you ever get mad at blind pipers and drummers because they needed help getting into the circle? NO. As much as we’d like it just to be about gloating rights and as worried as you are that I’m gonna somehow take advantage of this and beat you all with music velcroed onto my drum (wouldn’t that be terrible), they needed me and I needed them to make a point. It was a mutual unspoken agreement and I PROVED my point. You can hear the band on youtube and judge for yourself hopefully with your ears, whether or not I played with heart or whether you can even tell that I was reading music. I’m the guy with long hair looking down at my iPhone on the left flank. Why don’t you guys learn how to read(those that can’t) and stop making excuses for it. You’re holding us literate folks back. Also, why don’t you learn how to hold your sticks too. No matter how many hours you pride yourselves on memorizing 20 minutes of music a year, it ain’t helping you play hand to hand flams! Do you hear what I’m laying’ down brother? Peace indeed.

      Please stop making me respond to your childish comments. I hope you like how it’s making us all look like children. See you at the bar.


      Richard Baughman

  2. oh boy….perhaps it’s time to close the comments section on this article.

    I found the article interesting, the comments not so much; and I know Richard is very well capable of standing in any pipeband, and playing music with his memory. If i’m not mistaken, and not mentioned above
    as a former grade 1 world champion himself.

    My point of view is: in a time where there is such a shortage of good drummers out there, if this helps
    swell the ranks of a few bands when they go over to compete at the worlds or elsewhere so be it….or as mentioned for the unfortunate circumstances of memory issues, the learning disabled or perhaps millennials whom would rather play pokeman go versus memorize tunes. I can tell you, they may not have taken music on the field but likely would have loved to in that first 2008 SOS drum corp….there was definitely some cramming right up to the medley line as they tried to throw it all together in just a week together that year.

    Would love to have something like this rigged up for tattoo’s…I think most pipers have been there before.
    You memorize reams of music for months on end to play at a 2 hour military style show, never to be played
    again-and forgotten the next day. Wasted time investment and most pipers opt instead to fart through the tunes with tons of note mistakes at the expense of the listener.

    Anyways, hopefully the RSPBA gets some charging stations set up in the final tuning ring next year-would hate
    to see some battery issues “On The Day” with no memory work committed.
    Good luck with getting your rule changes in the US!


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