Pupils on the Isle of Arran can now learn the pipes and drums in schools for the first time. This is thanks to a new tuition programme funded by charitable donations and grants, totalling £70,500.

Young learners from across the island will benefit, and will be able to form a new schools pipe band. The schools involved are Arran High School and primary schools located in Lamlash, Whiting Bay, Brodick, Kilmory, Shiskine, Corrie and Pirnmill.

The tuition programme launched with a kick start day. This gave all learners signed up to the project the opportunity to try pipes and drums for the first time. The day was led by tutors Ross Miller and David Murray and a team of other specialists from around Scotland. It was attended by 94 young people. The day culminated in a sharing session to allow all interested parties to hear more about the new tuition programme.

David Lambert, Depute Head Teacher, Arran High School comments:

“The Isle of Arran has a rich musical heritage, as do all schools on the island. Whilst there are many opportunities on the island for young people to engage in a wide variety of music making, there was a need to provide formal tuition for our national instruments in schools and this exciting new programme offers exactly this and has removed all barriers to access it with no cost to learners”.

“We recently set up the Arran Music School to build on the instrumental provision already offered by North Ayrshire Council. The Isle of Arran Schools’ Pipes and Drums’ project will be managed through this, with the aim of removing all barriers and actively encouraging the young people of Arran to engage with high quality music making and indeed the arts.  The project is in partnership with the Isle of Arran Pipe Band which recognises the tremendous benefits for the young people, and welcomes a new generation of players who will be able to join the band in the future.

“As well as £30,000 in grant funding from the Scottish Schools Pipes and Drums Trust (SSPDT), we are grateful for the other donations we have received towards this project, from the COOP Community Fund, Isle of Arran Pipe Band and from a private donor.”

James O’Neil, Faculty Leader of Music, Arran High School, comments:

“This programme has been a year in the planning and I am delighted that it now sits alongside an already strong tuition programme within our schools. It is absolutely amazing to see the progress in learners already and we are so grateful to all organisations and donors who have helped to make this happen”.

Alexandra Duncan, SSPDT chief executive, said: “The Trust is delighted to support a programme that benefits schools, pupils and the whole community.  We know that learning the pipes and drums, and being part of a pipe band, helps young people to develop complex skills for life, learning and work. The dedication, discipline, teamwork and camaraderie required to be part of a pipe band often match skills needed to be successful elsewhere in life.

“We welcome teachers, parents and community groups in other areas to get in touch to discuss how we could support them to introduce tuition to schools in their area.”


For more information about how the SSPDT can support your school or community, please get in touch.