Success at contest is not just a pipe dream

School pipe band competition
School pipe band competition

Pupils will be pitching their musical skills against youngsters from across Scotland in the world’s largest schools pipe band competition.

A record number of entries, including 72 school pipe bands and freestyle ensembles as well as 14 quartets for young pipers and drummers, are to go head-to-head at Scottish Schools Pipe Band Championships (SSPBC) in Edinburgh on March 12.

Around 800 youngsters from over 120 schools will be taking part, including Bearsden Academy, Boclair Academy, Mosshead Primary School, Bishopbriggs Academy, St Ninian’s High School, Kirkintilloch High School and Douglas Academy.

Currently in its fifth year, the Championships, organised by The Scottish Schools Pipes and Drums Trust (SSPDT), will see pupils compete in seven categories, meaning that bands can enter the category best suited to their skill set and experience.

Hannah Stygal, who teaches music at Bearsden Academy, said: “We at Bearsden Academy are very excited at the prospect of participating in the Scottish Schools Pipe Band Championships.

“We know that the standards of musicianship will be very high across the categories, but we have been busy rehearsing over the last few weeks to do our best to bring home success to the school.

“But whatever happens, we will ensure we both enjoy and learn from the experience of performing at such a prestigious competition – and for the band and our young musicians to continue their love of piping and drumming.”

This competition also includes the much loved ‘Freestyle’ category which encourages pipers and drummers to perform modern and songs alongside their other musical instruments played by classmates.

Alexandra Duncan, Chief Executive of The Scottish Schools Pipes and Drums Trust, said: “Since the creation of the schools championships, and the formation of The Scottish Schools Pipes and Drums Trust, there has been a considerable increase in the provision of in-school piping and drumming tuition across Scotland.

“We work in partnership with local authorities and others to try and see as many schools as possible offer piping and drumming tuition and eventually form bands bringing real opportunities for the players.”

In its first year, more than 1,000 pupils in 93 Scottish state schools received tuition under schemes funded by the SSPDT, which totalled around £275,000.

This figure has now risen to 1,600 pupils, with £500,000 being spent this year on tuition and the loan of instruments.