Edinburgh City Council’s education committee is to be congratulated for taking an important and long overdue first step towards putting the teaching of pipes and drums on a par with other instruments.
It must be a matter of great embarrassment to the council that young people in its schools have the opportunity to learn just about any instrument, including glockenspiels and piccolos, but not our national instrument.
Parents also realise that piping and drumming and the formation of bands is much more than just music.
Tuition in piping gives our young exposure to Scotland’s rich musical and cultural heritage, forms great camaraderie, instils discipline and pride in appearance and offers opportunity for travel like no other instrument.
A pipe band also increases self-confidence and ethos of the school and that benefit spreads through the entire school community.
School instrument teaching provision across Scotland has to be run to meet the demands and aspirations of our young people and not the convenience of those running the service.
Next March more than 60 schools will be taking part in the Scottish Schools Pipe Band Championships at Broughton High School in Edinburgh.
Those from the independent sector will have been taught as part of their mainstream school activities, sadly far too many from the state sector will have had to find their tuition provided as an extra by dedicated parents and well-motivated teachers, not part of mainstream school activity.
Piping provision is patchy across Scotland and very few council’s offer in-school tuition on pipes and drums on a par with other instruments.
There can be no other country in the world with such a clearly identified and recognisable national instrument that does not think it important to be taught in their schools.
When Edinburgh’s education committee receives the report on the implications of teaching pipes and drums on a par with other instruments next March they will be doing the young people of the capital a long overdue service by redressing this long-running wrong.
Fair Play for Pipes.
Convener, Scottish Schools Pipe Band Championships