May 31, 2010

EUSPBA embraces distance learning with new online instruction video site

The Eastern United States Pipe Band Association is taking advantage of the communications power of the Internet by launching the “EUSPBA Learning Channel,” a series of videos freely available to anyone wishing to improve.

The site has launched initially with four instructional videos on piobaireachd by EUSPBA judge Jimmy McIntosh, which focus on playing ceol mor embellishments. EUSPBA President Jimmy Bell says that further videos will be posted on competition light music, band set-up, drumming and other aspects of piping and drumming.

“It should be obvious to everyone that the main focus is education for [EUSPBA] members,” Bell said, “but with more attention to the top levels, which I feel have been neglected for the past while.”

Because of the huge geography that the EUSPBA encompasses, ranging from the northeast United States to Texas – a span of more than 2,500 miles – many members of the organization are separated from regular quality tuition.

“Overall, the goal is to get instruction to people in the outlying areas of the association,” Bell said. “The EUSPBA is just so big now, and many of our members are from places in the US that never had pipers or bands in them before. Those folks really need some assistance from us.”

Bell added that his organization is working on recording videos for all of the piobaireachds on the EUSPBA’s suggested Grade 4 list. Following that the plan is to post videos of requested piobaireachds, and then move to light music, snare drumming and bass and tenor flourishing.

He said that it has yet to be determined if the channel will continue to be open to all, or eventually be restricted to EUSPBA members.

Other Internet-based instructional sites exist, including those from Roddy MacLeod and Colin MacLellan, each of which concentrate on piobaireachd tuition.


  1. Good to see one of the associations initiating something like this. Geography and time are real challenges when it comes to tuition for our music and other types as well. The internet allows more people than ever before to recdeive quality instruction from approved or accepted sources. It will be interesting to see if the playing standards improve with this new venture in the short and long term.

  2. I really hope EUSPBA will consider leaving the site available to all, not just its members, because it really is very educational to watch and listen to those videos.

  3. I’ve been teaching pipes online since 2003 and I can say that it works great! I have students all ability levels around the world and interest continues to grow as people become more comfortable with the Internet and webcam technology. Jori Chisholm

  4. Very happy that I can watch Piobaireachd video lessons from Jimmy McIntosh! Fantastic! Thanks millions to EUSPBA and Mr McIntosh himself! I hope I will understand more what he says! The Greatest Piobaireachd Video Lessons Ever. Chris Lee

  5. Well done to the EUSPBA! Great stuff indeed. Like Jori, I have also been teaching via the internet for some time now. It is a great tool and allows those with lack of access to tutors, the opportunity to get quality instruction. Good Luck with it all. James Laughlin

  6. While I think this is a great idea and by that I mean getting more info out on the net that people can take in and learn, I think that nothing replaces an actual tutor! Whether it is on the computer or having an instructor right there in front of you this is invaluable as you can be corrected when you do something wrong! This is a great reference and a good tool! There are so many great teachers available online these day from Bruce Gandy, Jori Chislom, Jack Lee and all the staff at the National Piping Centre and College of Piping. To have these tutors available if you live in an area where there is no instructors is like a gold mine! Anyway good on the EUSPBA for making these videos available!

  7. Just wanted to add something about the value of these kind of educational resources even to people who DO have access to live tutors. It’s nice to be able to hear people from other parts of the world, teaching on the same music, as they often bring something different or new to the teaching, perhaps by dint of them being where they are. So for that reason too, I hope EUSPBA will allow a continued wide access to the excellent resource this is.

  8. What a terrific resource these videos are. Jimmy McIntosh and Peter Kent (who filmed and edited the videos) deserve a huge thanks from the piping community for undertaking this.



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