We are delighted to be running the Scottish Schools online Freestyle Championships 2021  – 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.

Please note, registrations are now closed.

Enter the Competition

If you have registered to take part, you will need to enter below AND send in your finished film by the deadline of midday on Sunday 14 March.

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. Please film in HD 1920 x 1080 pixels and not 4k 3840 x 2160 pixels.  This will make your film quick to transfer.  If your film is a large file size, you may find that it takes hours to upload (and the same to download at this end!) with possible issues around uploading it at all.

You must label your film with the title of the band that you have submitted already, or agreed with us, as well as the name of your performance.

If you have any questions about technicalities, please contact us at [email protected] and we’ll try to put you in touch with someone who can guide you.

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]

Films 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!


A prize pool of £2,500 will be shared amongst the winning schools. The breakdown of prizes can be found below:

Primary category: Open category:
1st: £150 1st: £500 5th: £200
2nd: £100 2nd: £400 6th: £150
3rd: £50 3rd: £300 7th: £100
  4th: £250 8th: £50
People’s Choice Vote: £250


Keep up to date with competition updates by following our Facebook page Pipe Bands for Schools.

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 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 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.



  • (the name of the school/s the pupils attend must be referenced in the name e.g. Dundee Schools Band; Braeview High School Band)
  • Now upload your film onto WeTransfer.com and send it to [email protected] If films are short enough (below 5 minutes) you can send them via WhatsApp to 07432367743. Remember to write the name of your band, performance title and contact email in your WeTransfer message so we know the film is yours. Please also embed your band name and performance title into the film itself.

    Good luck!