Piping and drumming have been taught in some schools in the Lossiemouth, Elgin and Forres communities for some years already. In the first phase of the new Moray Schools Pipes and Drums Tuition Scheme, all of the primary and secondary schools in these communities will be offered tuition. After tutors have been engaged in such a way that tuition matches demand, the offer of tuition will be extended to other secondary schools, and their associated primary schools in Moray.
So far, tuition is available at these schools:
Burghead Primary, Hopeman Primary, Hythehill Primary, St. Gerardine’s Primary, Lossiemouth High School – Piping and drumming tuition available.
Elgin High cluster:
Greenwards Primary and Elgin High School – Piping and drumming tuition available.
Linkwood Primary, Mosstowie Primary, New Elgin Primary – Taster sessions arranged.
Elgin Academy cluster:
Bishopmill Primary, East End Primary, Seafield Primary, St Sylvester’s RC Primary, West End Primary – Taster sessions arranged.
Elgin Academy – Piping tuition available.
Forres Academy cluster:
Alves Primary, Applegrove Primary, Dallas Primary, Pilmuir Primary – Taster sessions arranged.
Anderson’s Primary, Dyke Primary, Kinloss Primary, Logie Primary – Taster sessions completed.
Forres Academy – Piping tuition available.
Although there is a charge for lessons, fees are kept as low as possible on a non-profit basis. Free or subsidised lessons are available for any young person whose family might find it hard to afford all or some of the fees. Children and young people entitled to the Clothing Grant automatically receive free lessons if they choose to take part. We are determined that every young person can take part, regardless of family income and we encourage teachers and families to get in touch as soon as they know of any financial barrier that is dissuading, or might dissuade a young person who wants to learn.
Lessons: The cost is currently £6 for each half hour lesson. There are 30 lessons in the school year. Pupils learn in small groups or, as they become more advanced, in pairs or solo. Younger new starts may be taught in slightly larger groups than older pupils; this encourages progress and practice, and is more sociable.
Timetable: Lesson times will be rotated at secondary school so that the pupil does not always miss half an hour of one subject.
Chanters, drum-pads and sticks: Pupils start playing the chanter, like a recorder, or they use drum-pads with sticks. These instruments should cost no more than £30; we can pass on a discount from manufacturers. Anyone unable to afford an instrument will be offered one free of charge.
Bagpipes: The SSPDT lend bagpipes, free of charge.
Pipe band drums: We already have one set of pipe band drums, and will be looking to fundraise for more.
Uniform: There is no need for uniform currently; pupils will play in their school uniform. We may buy hoodies in the future, and at some point further in the future, there may be a schools pipe band uniform, but this can be fundraised for and does not have to be a cost to families or carers.
Out of school club/ band practice: There may be a small charge for band subs, or chanter/ drum club, just enough to cover the tutors’ time shared between all those that attend. Again, this is free for anyone who finds it hard to afford the cost.
We will fundraise to cover any travel costs, band practices or uniform, and welcome any help from parents and carers with this.
If your child’s school is taking part in the scheme, there will be free taster workshops at the school so that your child can decide whether they would like to learn.
You will receive a letter from the MYPDTS inviting your child to take part.
If you already know that your child would like to take part you can contact the Coordinator, Fiona Caldwell on: [email protected], and we can take a note of this, and let you know if and when tuition might become available in your school.
If you are a teacher and would like to find out more or join the scheme, please contact Fiona Caldwell, Coordinator on: [email protected]
Pipe bands encourage teamwork, confidence, a sense of dress and discipline, fun and friendship, and they open the doors to travel too. Pipe bands are a focus of pride for schools, and build positive relations with the community. And of course, the bagpipes and pipe band drums are traditional Scottish instruments, and an important part of our shared heritage and cultural future.
Bagpipes, snare and tenor drums. Pipe bands generally have one bass drum.
Pipers start to learn on the practice chanter which is like a recorder before progressing to the bagpipes. Drummers can play the snare drum, tenor drum or bass drum. Snare drummers learn with drumsticks on a practice pad before progressing to play on a drum. Tenor and bass drummers learn how to beat time on the drum and also perform flourishing movements with their drumsticks (or beaters). Pipers and drummers learn musical theory and how to read and write music.
Progression from practice chanter to bagpipes can take six months for the fastest learners, and anything up to two years. Much depends on the amount of tuition, practice, and capability of the learner.
Bagpipers and snare drummers can achieve SQA qualifications through the CforE Music, Scottish Studies and Broad Education curriculums, as well as SQA accredited solo examinations through the Piping and Drumming Qualifications Board. Progression pathways can lead to higher education and degrees. Bass and tenor drummers can take PDQB examinations too although these are not SQA accredited. More about qualifications and progression pathways
Extensive international research also shows that learning an instrument and playing in an ensemble raises attainment in a range of areas including mathematics, literacy and language, self-esteem, fine motor and social skills.
A good age to start is around eight or nine years of age, or from P5 upwards. Like any instrument, if you start at a young age there is more chance of progressing to a very high standard.
It is essential to practice at home in order to make good progress. Ten minutes every day, or twenty minutes two or three times a week would be a good level of practice to aim for.
Quartets and small ensembles could give performances after six months of tuition.
A school pipe band could start with up to six pipers, and ideally two snare drummers, plus if possible, a tenor and bass drummer. There is no maximum limit. For competition purposes, if the band registers with The Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association (RSPBA), the minimum number of players at the lowest grade starts at six pipers, one bass drummer and two snare drummers.
It should be possible to form a youth pipe band to a basic performing standard within two to three years for schools that provide regular tuition.
Yes. It would depend on how quickly learners become competent enough to be able to play collectively as a band.