January 16, 2024

Pipe Bands Australia’s Principal of Piping role a key to success down under

Scott Nicolson, Principal of Piping, Pipe Bands Australia.

Last November, Pipe Bands Australia welcomed Scott Nicolson as the collective association of the county’s state associations to the role of Principal of Piping after Nicholson was elected to the post at the PBA’s annual general meeting.

Nicholson succeeds Brett Tidswell, who held the job for two decades, making a significant mark on the organization by developing training, policy, and practices that have influenced pipers significantly and will for generations.

The Principal of Piping, along with Principal of Drumming (held by Dean Hall) and Principal of Ensemble (held by Rob Bennet), are among the most important roles with Pipe Bands Australia, which has traditionally placed a heavy emphasis on teaching, helping to safeguard the massive country’s overall ability to meet or exceed world standards.

Nicolson’s objectives as Principal of Piping include “Acknowledging the evolving landscape shaped by technology and recent global challenges,” and “advocating for a flexible approach to learning. The need for accessible education, catering to diverse methods, including face-to-face, live online, and recorded online” that he said are “paramount to ensure inclusion across Australia.”

Professional development for judges, pipe-majors, and drum-sergeants is also an objective, “By fostering a culture of continuous improvement and effective communication . . . to elevate the standards both on and off the field.”

“Scott Nicolson’s appointment as Principal of Piping signals a commitment to progress, education, and the enduring legacy of this musical tradition.”

Originally from New Zealand, Scott Nicolson’s accomplishments in piping are significant. He holds Advanced Piping and Ensemble certificates from Pipe Bands Australia and the Senior Piping Certificate from the College of Piping Glasgow.

Brett Tidswell, 2018.

When he moved to Perth, Western Australia, in 1998, Nicolson joined the Western Australian Police Pipe Band, which won Grade 2 at the 1998 World Pipe Band Championships and was elevated to Grade 1 the next year. In 2001, he moved to Sydney and became pipe major of the Grade 1 St. Mary’s District Band Club, later named the Pipe Band Club, which won the 2008 and 2010 Australian Championships.

An adept and experienced piping teacher, he became Pipe Band Coordinator at The Scots School Albury in 2013, which won Grade 4B at the 2023 Scottish and World Championships and the RSPBA’s 2023 Champion of Champions aggregate title in the grade, becoming the first Australian band to achieve the feat in any grade.

Most associations worldwide do not have formal roles for managers of teaching initiatives, leaving mostly ad hoc education and training to member pipe bands and individuals.

“Scott Nicolson’s appointment as Principal of Piping signals not only a change in leadership, but a commitment to progress, education, and the enduring legacy of this musical tradition,” Pipe Bands Australia said in a statement.






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