Nicola Sturgeon backs world gathering of school pipe bands

The Scottish Schools Pipe Band Championships will be held Edinburgh on March 13
The Scottish Schools Pipe Band Championships will be held Edinburgh on March 13
Share this article
6
Have your say

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has urged young people to pick up the pipes ahead of the biggest world gathering of school pipers this month.

Pupils from a total of 118 schools will be taking part in The Scottish Schools Pipe Band Championships in Edinburgh on March 13.

Championship organisers say there is increased demand from young people to learn the traditional instruments.

Championship organisers say there is increased demand from young people to learn the traditional instruments.

Organisers said there is “great demand” amongst young people to learn traditional instruments with 17 schools forming new bands since the contest set up four years ago.

Ms Sturgeon said learning an instrument held many hidden benefits.

She said: “Learning an instrument takes patience, perseverance and practise and being a band member needs teamwork, self-confidence and camaraderie.

“These are skills and core values that we encourage in schools; they help our young people to raise personal and shared attainment, and to reach their full potential in work and in life.”

As they learn the music young people in bands also develop core life skills and friendships that will last them a lifetime.

READ MORE: New charity set up to get young Scots playing the pipes

Championship convener David Johnston said he was delighted at the increased number of young pipe bands now playing in Scotland.

He said: “We see this as proof of the great demand there is amongst young people to learn our traditional instruments.

“As they learn the music young people in bands also develop core life skills and friendships that will last them a lifetime.”

A total of 118 schools will take part in the event - the biggest of its kind in the world.

A total of 118 schools will take part in the event - the biggest of its kind in the world.

The event takes place at Broughton High School and will feature 85 individual performances by bands and quartets competing over eight categories.

Mr Johnston said they were also delighted to see the growth of entries in the competition’s innovative freestyle class.

“This sees schools moving away from traditional pipe band formats to play with other instrumentalists highlighting the versatility of the pipes and drums,” he added.

Many bands taking part in the event face a gruelling day travelling to and from the event. Ullapool High School Pipe Band will be making an overnight trip to ensure they arrive in time.

Gary Nimmo, Piping Instructor of Ullapool High School Pipe Band, said: “I fully believe that there is a great benefit for our students to have interaction with other schools and to be able to see the level that they are playing at. This is why we are making an overnight trip to the competition.

“I think it’s essential that we encourage children to play these instruments as it brings so many advantages and the competition is fantastic as it allows them to see the wider world of piping and drumming.

“SSPDC have offered £250 funding for our bus to allow us to travel to the event which we are extremely grateful for. We are all really excited and can’t wait to see what the day has in store.”

The SSPBC is managed by the Scottish Schools Pipes and Drums Trust.

It offers free piping lessons on 14 programmes running across 11 local authority areas.

Scottish heritage: for stories on Scotland’s people, places and history >>