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The National Piping Centre Evening Classes

Welcome We are delighted to welcome you as a student to The National Piping Centre. Learning to play the bagpipes is challenging but the rewards of learning a musical instrument will certainly be worth the effort. As you progress on your learning path you will find that there is a huge repertoire of music for you to delve into and to enjoy for your entire lifetime. Most people will also find that playing the bagpipes will lead them into a new circle of friends and lots of new and interesting experiences. The toughest part of learning to play comes right at the start where you will use the practice chanter to learn the finger technique. At the start your brain needs to be trained to send the right signals to your fingers to perform the various embellishments. It is of utmost importance that you try to play these embellishments correctly and so this will require a determination to do things right and an appropriate amount of practice. Mastering the embellishments will allow you to play tunes more fluently and therefore you will enjoy your music more and so will other people who listen to you. Learners always ask the question: “How long will it take me to get onto the bagpipes?� The answer to that question depends entirely on how much time is spent on practice. My advice is to make sure that you can play about five or six tunes by memory and be able to play them correctly and fluently. Learning the blowing technique for the pipes will require most of your attention at the start so you do not want to also be thinking about what note comes next or how to execute an embellishment at this stage. When you are at the point of starting on the pipes you will most probably find that your motivation to play will go to a new and higher level. So be patient at first, be correct, practice regularly and you will succeed and you will most probably find that your musical hobby will be an extremely positive factor in your life. Students who are already able to play will also find that we have classes which cater to all levels and our exceptional teaching staff will provide you with new challenges and will reliably guide your progress. Welcome to The National Piping Centre and good luck!

Roddy MacLeod MBE, Principal of The National Piping Centre

Getting Started In order to start learning to play the bagpipes you will need a practice chanter with a reed and our book –The Highland Bagpipe Tutor Book. These items can be bought together as a special discounted rate pack from our shop in The National Piping Centre. Chanter: The practice chanter supplied in the pack is a basic plastic chanter. There are a variety of other practice chanters also available for purchase, including plastic, wooden, long, standard and small chanters should you prefer. Our shop staff are always on hand to provide you with professional advice on the choices available to best suit your needs. As a student of The National Piping Centre you will be able to benefit from some discount opportunities on purchases. You can also order online from Tutor Book: The Highland Bagpipe Tutor Book is an excellent instruction manual which was authored by a number of the world’s greatest pipers. The book comes along with a CD Rom which amongst other useful features has video clips which clearly demonstrate all of the finger techniques. The approach used in the book is to introduce embellishments very gradually, two or three at a time, which are then incorporated into a tune. All of the different tune types are represented so by the end of the book students will have learned Slow Airs, Marches, Strathspeys, Reels, Hornpipe and Jigs. Moving on to Bagpipes: When at the point of moving from the practice chanter to the bagpipes, students should then acquire our second book The Highland Bagpipe Tutor Book 2 - Transition to Bagpipes. This book provides all of the information you will need to understand how the bagpipe works, how to maintain it, how to adjust the reeds and a whole range of other useful hints and tips.

The National Piping Centre Term Dates for 2012/13 Term 1: 14th September 2013 to 20th December 2013 (Mid-Term Break 13th-20th October Inclusive) Term 2: 18h January 2014 to 27th March 2014 Term 3: 26th April 2014 to 3rd July 2014

Lessons and Levels The above timetable shows the dates and times of lessons available for each level and each age category. Please use The National Piping Centre’s Level Guide on the next page to determine your level of playing. If you would like to talk to someone about which level you think you may be, please call 0141 353 0220 and we will be happy to help.

Syllabus and Examinations Classes will follow the syllabus for the Piping and Drumming Qualifications Board. Students may opt to take examinations when they feel that they are suitably prepared to do so and these examinations can be done in The National Piping Centre. It is entirely up to each student to decide whether or not they wish to sit an examination. The examinations are validated by the Scottish Qualifications Authority and so it is possible to attain National Progession Awards at SCQF Levels 2-6 and Professional Development Awards at SCQF Levels 7 and 8. Examinations can be taken at any time of the year by special arrangement and students will be notified of any arranged exam diet dates throughout the year. Students should email or phone 0141 353 0220 for registration information and up to date information on examination fees.

e Evening Classes Schedule

Our Teachers You can rest assured when you enrol for a class or lesson at The National Piping Centre that you will be receiving instruction from experts. Many of our teachers are competition prize-winners in the solo and pipe band world and are in demand as performers throughout the world. We also draw on BA (Scottish Music –Piping) students and graduates who have or are currently studying at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland to assist with teaching. Our teachers teach at all levels from beginners through to the highest levels. No distinction is made in the way we treat our students. We welcome anyone who wants to learn. Our goal is to take all of our students and help them to improve and develop to their maximum potential. It is our policy that all of our teachers are members of the PVG Scheme. The PVG Scheme is managed and delivered by Disclosure Scotland as an executive agency of the Scottish Government.

Prices The fees for evening class tuition are as follows: Under 16 £ 80 Adult £ 90

Self Grading Here is The National Piping Centre’s Level Guide. You can use this to evaluate your level of playing in order to register for the correct class. Students will progress to the next level when they can complete all of the tasks listed at each level to a good standard. Our teaching staff will either endorse your grading or redirect you to an appropriate level at the initial stages of the term. Also, students may be ready to move to a higher level during a term and this can also be facilitated. Beginner

Level 2

Completely new to the chanter.


Little or no prior knowledge of reading piping music.

On the practice chanter: All doublings (Low G to High A), from any note of the scale Throw on D from each note of the scale

Level 1 Exercises The scale The scale to F with a G gracenote

Grips (including Grips with a B gracenote) Birl and Birl with a G gracenote from each note of the scale Taorluaths to Low A from each note of the scale (including Taorluaths from D with a B gracenote)

The scale to C with a D gracenote


The scale to D with a E gracenote

C doublings to Low A and B doublings to

G, D, E gracenote groupings

Low G with E gracenote as used in

All strikes

Strathspey playing (Round movement)

Thumb or High A gracenote

Basic monotone exercises in Simple and

The Throw on D from Low A

Compound Time

Doublings on High A, High G, F, E, D, C

On the practice chanter/bagpipe:

and B from Low A


Basic monotone exercises in simple time

2 parts of a Slow Air


2 parts of a March in 3/4 or 4/4 Time

Two tunes played from memory.

2 parts of a March in 6/8 or 9/8 Time 2 parts of a Strathspey 2 parts of a Reel

Pipe Workshops Pipe workshops which are available three times a week and are free for any student on an evening class course to attend. At the workshops students can seek help on anything which will help them to make their bagpipes function better. This could be about blowing technique, tuning, working with reeds, maintenance or any other issues.

Level 3 Monotone Exercises Tap out the rhythm of Simple and Compound Time Monotone Exercises Tunes on the Bagpipe: 2 parts of a Slow Air 4 parts of a March in Simple Time 4 parts of a March in Compound Time 4 parts of a Strathspey 4 parts of a Reel 4 parts of a Hornpipe 4 parts of a Jig One Ground of a Piobaireachd and one variation singling and doubling

Students will be expected to make a reasonable attempt at tuning their Drones

Level 4 Exercises on the Practice Chanter Technique required to play Piobaireachd as follows: Vedare Double echoes on B, D, E, F, and High G Harodin/horodin; darodo Taorluath/taorluath a mach Standard crunluath/ crunluath breabach/ crunluath fosgailte/ crunluath a mach Monotone Exercises Tap out the rhythm of any of the following: Simple Duple time Simple Quadruple time Cut Common time Compound Duple time Bagpipe Two competition type 2/4 Marches; Two 6/8 Marches of four parts Two competition type Strathspeys of four or more parts Two competition type Reels of four or more parts Two competition type Hornpipes of four or more parts Two competition type Jigs of four or more parts; One Piobaireachd which includes the taorluath and crunluath variations Students will be expected to set the Chanter and Drones accurately.

How to Enrol To enrol simply fill in our online application form at eveningclasses. You will then receive a confirmation email stating your lesson time and fee. You can pay in advance for your classes by credit or debit card by calling 0141 353 0220 or at reception at The National Piping Centre via card, cash or cheque.

What to do when you arrive for your lessons. When you arrive for your lesson at The National Piping Centre you should go to reception and sign into the building for your class. Our staff member at reception will inform you of which room to go to for your lesson. If you require assistance to get in and out of the building please inform us in advance and we will make arrangements to assist you.

How to Find us The National Piping Centre is located close to Glasgow’s cultural centre, close to two universities and beside the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, Theatre Royal and the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall. By Car There are 3 main car parks within 5 minutes of The National Piping Centre as well as numerous on street parking facilities around the building. By Bus Buchanan Bus Station, is within 5 minutes walking distance from The National Piping Centre with regular bus services also stopping at the top of Hope Street. By Train Cowcaddens Underground, Glasgow Central Station and Queen Street Station are all within easy walking distance. The National Piping Centre Ltd. Registered in Scotland no. 139271, Charity no. 020391

The National Piping Centre 30-34 McPhater Street Glasgow G4 0HW Phone: 0141 353 0220 Email: Evening Class Co-Ordinator Jonathan Graham

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