£500k funding to provide bagpipe lessons in Scottish schools

Hundreds of children will get the chance to learn how to play the instrument. Picture: Jon Savage
Hundreds of children will get the chance to learn how to play the instrument. Picture: Jon Savage
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Hundreds of children are to get the chance to learn how to play Scotland’s national instrument following a £500,000 donation to support bagpipe lessons in schools.

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The Scottish Schools Pipes and Drums Trust (SSPDT) has announced plans to almost double its funding to finance bagpipe lessons for pupils across the country in 2017.

The initiative was launched by the charity in response to most state-school pupils not getting the chance to learn the pipes and drums on the same basis as other instruments.

In its first year, more than 1,000 pupils in Scotland - in 93 state schools from 13 local authority areas - received tuition under schemes funded by the SSPDT which totalled around £275,000.

Alexandra Dunn, SSPDT chief executive, said: “It is a shame that the vast majority of our young people are not offered the chance to learn our national instruments in schools.

“Our trust aims to protect the heritage of our national instrument but more importantly we aim to help improve outcomes for school pupils which will hopefully change lots of young people’s lives for the better.

“Piping and being part of a band develops a wide range of life and employability skills including teamwork, individual and shared achievement, discipline, commitment and self-confidence as well as musicality.”

The SSPDT has also revealed the world’s biggest schools bagpipe competition will again take place in Edinburgh in March.

More than 700 piping pupils from about 120 schools will march into the capital for the Scottish Schools Pipe Band Championship to show off their talent across different categories.

Entries are now being accepted ahead of the closing date on January 20.

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