Pipers and drummers start their learning journey on the practice drum pad and the practice chanter.
Progression and Qualifications
Pipers start learning on the practice chanter, and depending on progress (and practice!), transition to their first set of bagpipes usually after a year, sometimes up to two years.
Lessons at school are only 30 minutes long so the pupils must practice at home, on a daily basis, in order to further develop the skills required to join the pipe band.
Once the pupil is ready, they will be invited to attend the weekly development band practices. Progression through the development band to the novice band and finally to the juvenile band is dependent on ability, not age.
Piping and Drumming Qualifications Board examinations
Pupils are encouraged to work towards SQA accredited qualifications through the ‘Piping and Drumming Qualifications Board’ syllabus and levels (PDQB). The courses require a lot of commitment and dedication, including significant practice at home and require an assessment at the end of each level taken by an outside assessor provided by the PDQB. Further information on these exams can be found on the PDQB website: https://pdqb.org/
Any pupils wishing to complete these exams will be guided by their tutor as to which level they should start and will be coached in all aspects of the theory and practical to pass them.
Curriculum for Excellence SQA examinations
Pupils that want to take Music at National 5, Higher and/or Advanced Higher levels can choose to play pipes or snare drum as one of their instruments, and are supported by tutors to do so.
To date all piping and drumming pupils have achieved top marks in their SQA music exams.
Online learning resources
All pupils who are in Primary 6 and above can access Google Classroom which hosts learning resources such as sheet music and videos and practice video tutorials. Exercises to improve technique and homework assignments are also hosted on Google Classroom, with instructions for future lessons. Points can be rewarded to pupils for good results.
Google Classroom can also be accessed by parents should they wish. Links for each google classroom are below.
Beginner Drummers – https://classroom.google.com/u/0/c/NTA0ODc4MjYyMVpa
Novice Band Drummers – https://classroom.google.com/u/0/c/MzU1NjY1NDc4MVpa
Juvenile Band Drummers – https://classroom.google.com/u/0/c/MzU1ODA3OTE4MVpa
Development Band Pipers – https://classroom.google.com/u/1/c/NjAxOTUzNDU4OFpa
Novice Band Pipers – https://classroom.google.com/u/1/c/MzU2NjE0NTYwN1pa
Juvenile Band pipers – https://classroom.google.com/u/1/c/MzU2NjAyNzI3OVpa
There are dedicated YouTube channels for piping and drumming tuition. Similar content is hosted on both YouTube and Google Classroom however YouTube is accessible by all. More detailed information is provided via Google Classroom.