Welcome to the Scottish Schools online Freestyle Competition 2021!

We are delighted to invite you to take part in this event – a showcase and celebration of Scotland’s talented young musicians.

As you may know, the Freestyle competition is normally a highlight of the Scottish Schools Pipe Band Championships – due to take place next in March 2022.

As usual, the choice of music is entirely up to the band or group – it can be contemporary, cover songs, traditional, a medley or a single melody – whatever inspires you.

There are some changes to the normal format:

  • There is an Open category for school pupils of any age, and a separate category for Primary school children.
  • A school or combined schools can enter up to two bands/ groups, either one in each category, or two in a single category.
  • The number of pupils belonging to a band or group is unlimited, but the minimum is six, and must include at least two pipers (e-chanter and chanter are permitted) and ideally a drummer.
  • Films can be between 3 and 5 minutes long.

As pupils can’t play together in person for the foreseeable future, you will want to use an App like Acapella to compile separate recordings and films of individual players into one film. If you have any questions about technicalities, please get in touch at [email protected] and we’ll put you in touch with someone who can guide you.

Films and interviews with some contestants will be broadcast over the weekend of 26 -28 March when the judges’ winners will be announced, and there will be an exciting live People’s Choice Vote.  Our online competition Wake Up Scotland attracted 120,000 individual views on voting day last summer, so we expect a big audience this time too!

The Scottish Schools Pipes and Drums Trust might be able to lend your state school a set of B-flat chanters to help harmonise the pipes with other instruments. Please enquire by email to [email protected]

Entry is free.  You must register by Sunday 7 February.  The deadline for entries is midday Sunday 14 March.

A prize pool of £2,500 will be shared amongst the winning schools.

Keep up to date with competition updates by following our Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/Piping4Pupils/


 Register here by 7 February               Full Rules   


We look forward to enjoying your filmed performance; hope you have a lot of fun preparing for the competition; and wish you the very best of luck.

Best wishes,

The Organising Committee

The Scottish Schools Pipe Band Championships

Supported by:

The Scottish Schools Pipes and Drums Trust




There is a two-stage process to enter the competition:

  1. Register – to take part in the competition you must first register here by midday Sunday 7 February 2021.
  2. Entries – the entry deadline is midday Sunday 14 March 2021. No entries will be accepted after this. The Entry portal will be live from February on this page.
  • Shortlisted films will be publicised on social media during the weekend beginning Friday 26 March.
  • Judges’ winners will be announced on Sunday 28 March.
  • A People’s Choice Vote will take place on Pipe Bands For Schools Facebook, live, on Sunday 28 March. We encourage entrants to follow our social media.


  • Open to any individual schools, or combination of schools from the same Local Education Authority, in Scotland.


  • Primary – for primary school pupils only.
  • Open – band or group members can be secondary school pupils, or a mix of primary and secondary school pupils.
  • A school or combined school can enter up to two bands/ groups; either one in each category, or two in a single category.

Band or group format

  • The name of a school or combined schools must be referenced in the band or group’s name.
  • A band or group can be either a pipe band performing an innovative concert-style medley;


a mixed musical ensemble comprising pipers and a range of other instrumentalists.  The ensemble may include one or more vocalists.

  • A band or group must comprise at least six players, with at least two pipers, ideally accompanied by one or more drummers.
  • Pipers may play on chanter/ electronic chanter.

Choice of music and film entry

  • Films submitted for judging must be between 3 and 5 minutes long.
  • The title of your track, and the band name should be shown on the film.
  • Choice of music will be entirely up to the school or combined schools concerned, but the piping element will be expected to be prominent.
  • Bands/ groups that play a cover version must not use the original soundtrack (for copyright reasons).

Judging criteria

  • Musicianship, harmony, originality, innovation, musical interpretation, presentation, rhythm, musical ensemble, vitality and enjoyment will be important as well as technical proficiency.
  • Judges will take into account the variation in technology available to participants, and the effect this might have on the quality of film sound or vision.
  • The judges’ decision is final.
  • The judging panel will be announced in due course; please keep an eye on our social media.


  • A prize pot of over £2,500 will be shared amongst the winners. Details of prize allocation will be announced mid-February.
  • Prize money will be paid to the school of the winning band for the purpose of supporting music. In cases where the members of a winning band or group come from more than one school, prize money will be divided pro-rata between schools.


Full terms and conditions of the competition can be found here.



Please keep checking this website or Facebook page Pipe Bands for Schools to find details once the entry form is live.



Registering by way of this form does not commit you to submitting a film but every encouragement is offered to do so.

  • (the name of a school or combined schools must be referenced in the band or group’s name)
  • (Please tell us if you will be entering the Primary or Open category)
  • (if players are under 16 years old, this must be a parent or guardian)
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.