February 25, 2020

Laughlin leaving Christchurch St Andrews College as drumming instructor

James Laughlin

After 14 years as the Head of Pipe Band Drumming at St Andrews College in Christchurch, New Zealand, James Laughlin is leaving to build his growing career as a certified results coach working with high performers in sport, business and politics.

Laughlin settled in New Zealand in 2009 after playing for several years with the Grade 1 Simon Fraser University Pipe Band of Vancouver, taking the lead-drummer position with Grade 1 Canterbury Caledonian Society of Christchurch.

He held that post for eight competition seasons, before he and Pipe-Major Richard Hawke both stepped down, giving way to new pipe-major and lead-drummer Jamie Hawke and Brayden Drummond, respectively, in 2017.

“It has always been my intention to leave at a time when the drumming department is in great shape,” Laughlin said. “The record over the last 14 years has included a World Championship drumming title, and over 20 National drumming titles. My students have recently won the Australian Young Drummer of the Year, NZ Young Drummer of the Year and third at the World Juvenile Solo. It most certainly feels like I am leaving the program in a healthy position with my successor being able to continue on with a very positive footing.”

It is not known who will take over the full-time teaching position with St Andrews College, but Laughlin suggested that has strong indications on who it might be. The college is a prestigious private school with extensive support of piping and drumming programs.

In 2013, Laughlin and his wife published Our Journey: World Champion Pipers and Drummers Tell Their Stories, which captured accounts of many prominent players in the art. He also published James Laughlin’s Guide to Snare Drumming.

He said that he will stay involved in the pipe band scene with private teaching and judging, and added, “I am excited to see St. Andrews continue to flourish and look forward to standing on the other side of the pen when the time is right.”

Laughlin also moderates a page on Facebook for pipe band drummers.



Hawke, Drummond new Canterbury leaders
March 18, 2017


Hawke, Laughlin to leave Canterbury leadership
December 11, 2016


Laughlin to leave SFU to be Canterbury L-D
May 31, 2009








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