Edinburgh pipers and drummers – of any age or ability – can finally get organized, quality instruction in a three-day workshop designed to counter recent budget cuts by the City of Edinburgh Council that reduced funding for Youth Music Initiative piping projects to virtually zero. Amazingly, such a summer school has never happened in Scotland’s capital city.
Greig Canning, David Henderson and David Ross have come together to create the Edinburgh Piping and Drumming Summer School July 10-12 at Drummond Community High School in central Edinburgh, covering piping, and all aspects of pipe band drumming. Henderson and Ross run D2 Percussion and Canning manages Castle Bagpipes. Canning is the Pipe-Major of the Grade 1 Kilts & More-Dysart & Dundonald Pipe Band.
“The [Edinburgh] Council have encouraged tutors to hold summer schools and private tuition sessions and this prompted to put together a plan to create a three-day summer school open to students of all levels within the city of Edinburgh,” Canning said. “This new event gives children and adults of various abilities the chance to come together in small groups of people of relative age and ability and learn with their peers . . . with lots of activities and workshops planned.”
Canning added that he believes the summer school is the first based in Edinburgh that isn’t restricted to pupils form a certain school or area, open to children and adults of all levels and abilities.
He went on to say, “The only summer schools that currently ever run in Edinburgh are all closed to adults and state school kids and are in fact run by private schools for their own private school pupils. We don’t see anything wrong with this, just that no one so far has done anything to help the wider audience who may not have as many opportunities to take part in such a project.”
While piping and drumming summer schools, workshops and clinics have been common in North America since the 1960s, they are a relative rarity in Scotland. Piping is taught widely in the school systems and at established institutions like the National Piping Centre in Glasgow.