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Friday Workshop 1 (10:30 - 11:30)

William MacCallum – Competition Light Music Preparation
In the same way as preparation is key in piobaireachd performance, the pressure of light music competitions is lessened by thorough preparation. William McCallum is known for the consistency of his performances, often in some of the most intimidating competition environments. This is an excellent opportunity to hear how a master competitor prepares himself for competition and to hear what are the key ingredients in the recipe for a top class MSR.
Callum Beaumont – Technique: Strength & Consistency
Technique gives us the tools we need as pipers to be expressive musicians. We are able to control the music if our technique is strong and consistent. Much of the technique we use relies on a few basic rules that once learned will most likely remain part of our playing – if practiced regularly and correctly! Callum Beaumont will be looking at exercises and practice methods to develop and maintain your technique.

Friday Workshop 2 (11:30 - 12:30)

Roddy MacLeod – Competition Piobaireachd Preparation
There are elements of a piobaireachd performance that we can prepare for beforehand – the bagpipe, knowledge of the music, technique. Equally, there are elements of a performance that we need to deal with as we are playing – nerves, adrenaline, distractions, tempo, transitions, technique etc. Roddy MacLeod is one of the most successful piobaireachd competitors in the solo piping game and is therefore well placed to give insights into how best to prepare for performance.
Chris Armstrong – Drone Reeds: Tone & Efficiency
To many people getting the best out of drone reeds is seen as a ‘dark art’ – this could not be further from the truth. By simply following some basic guidelines, and by developing an ear for differences in tone, anyone can set up their drones to achieve the optimal results for the least effort. As an instructor at the National Piping Centre and as Pipe Major of the ScottishPower Pipe Band, not to mention being a highly respected solo piper and Gold Medalist, Chris Armstrong has a wealth of experience to draw from.

Saturday Workshop (11:00 - 12:30)

Roddy MacLeod – Getting ‘that’ Sound
What is it that separates a good sounding bagpipe from one that people will talk about for years? Roddy is known across the piping world as keeping one of the best sounding instruments in the business. Hear him discuss the factors that should be considered when searching for ‘that’ sound – reeds, bag type, blowing technique, and more.
Chris Armstrong – Working With Chanter Reeds
As with drone reeds, the process of selecting and manipulating chanter reeds is not a ‘dark art’! Through years of experience professional pipers tend to develop an understanding of what to look for when selecting reeds and how then to make them playable. ‘Trial and error’ is a common refrain. In this workshop Chris Armstrong looks at the guiding principles behind reed selection and manipulation.
Margaret Dunn & Craig Muirhead – The Irish/Scottish Connection
Originally hailing from Co. Cork, Ireland, Margaret is one of the Republic of Ireland’s foremost exponents of the Highland Pipes. As well as holding an outstanding record in solo competition she has a wide knowledge of Irish music suitable for the pipes and many of the tunes that have a shared heritage with Scotland. Here she will take you through some favorites from her own repertoire.
Alastair Dunn, Glenn Brown & Finlay MacDonald – Pipe Band Medley Construction
Over the last thirty years pipe band medleys have developed into highly stylized, complex music arrangements. All of the compositional tools at the disposal of pipers and drummers are used to create maximum impact in a short space of time. This discussion will cover such topics as creating tension and release, dynamics, tune selection, tempo and harmony.

Sunday Workshop 1 (10:00 - 11:30)

Roddy MacLeod – Piobaireachd (Pro. and Grade 1)
In this workshop Roddy will take the class through Piobaireachd suitable for competition at the Professional and Grade 1 level. Looking at some of the intricacies of phrasing, tempo and technique this will be a real master class in the true sense of the phrase!
Callum Beaumont– Piobaireachd (Grade 2 and Grade 3)
Callum, current holder of the Silver Chanter and Inverness Gold Medal, will be looking at some Piobaireachd that would be suitable for you to compete with at Grades 2 and 3. Learning Piobaireachd ‘from the book’ is an almost impossible task, so take the opportunity to hear one of the worlds foremost exponents of the ‘big music’ guide you through some of the smaller classics.
Finlay MacDonald – Working With Other Musicians
Playing the pipes with other instruments can often be one of the most enjoyable experiences of your piping career. Once we have an understanding of tuning and keys we have the tools to be able to communicate with other musicians. As Head of Piping Studies at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and with years of experience bringing pipes to a wide variety of performance environments, Finlay is able to discuss all of issues involved in playing with other musicians.
Glenn Brown – How to Practice Effectively
Glenn Brown is currently Pipe Sergeant of the Grade 1 world famous Shotts and Dykehead Caledonia Pipe Band. He is a teacher in The National Piping Centre and a multi prize winning and Gold Medal winning solo piper. In this session Glenn will talk from his in-depth experience about effective practice routines for individuals and also for bands.

Sunday Workshop 2 (12:00 - 13:30)

Angus MacColl – 2/4 Marches (Pro. and Grade 1)
Arguably the best 2/4 march player of his generation, Angus will be looking at 2/4 marches suitable for competition at the professional and grade 1 levels. Hear how they can be phrased and mark out the subtle nuances that make a tune stand out from the crowd.
Alex Gandy – 2/4 Marches (Grade 2 and Grade 3)
Come along to this session if you are currently – or are aiming to – compete at grades 2 and 3 and want to expand your repertoire of suitable tunes. Alex will be guiding the class through both the technical and musical aspects of a selection of 2/4 marches.
Alen Tully, Alastair Dunn & Chris Armstrong – Pipe Band Leadership Discussion
Like any organization, leadership is central to success of pipe bands. There are undoubtedly different approaches to leadership and in this discussion forum we hear from Saint Laurence O’Toole Pipe Major, Alen Tully, Pipe Sergeant of Field Marshall Montgomery Alastair Dunn, and ScottishPower Pipe Major, Chris Armstrong.
Finlay MacDonald – Small Strathspeys and Reels
Often when putting together sets of tunes for pipe bands, ceilidhs or recitals we look for tunes outside of the heavy competition repertoire. Small strathspeys and reels – two parted tunes – formed the early backbone of the highland pipe repertoire, as we see when delving into the early pipe music collections. Finlay MacDonald, one of Scotland’s most dynamic pipers and Head of Piping Studies for the BA(Scottish Music – Piping) will go through a number of tunes here, discussing along the way different stylistic approaches.

Sunday Workshop 3 (14:30 - 16:00)

Glenn Brown – Strathspey & Reel (Pro. and Grade 1)
In this session Glenn will be taking the class through a selection of some of his favorite strathspeys and reels. Find out about some of the subtle differences between tunes and learn a little about how to control these more challenging pieces.
Roddy MacLeod – Strathspey and Reel (Grade 2 and Grade 3)
Strathspeys and reels can be the most challenging of all light music – how do you get the most out of the rhythm when there is so much tricky technique around it to deal with? Roddy will be leading the class through some of the tunes that are a suitable, and reasonable, challenge for those competing in Grades 2 and 3.
Margaret Dunn – Teaching Techniques
As one of the world’s busiest piping teachers Margaret knows a few things about teaching. With so many challenging aspects of the pipes for students to think about it can sometimes be difficult for teachers to know what to focus on and when. Margaret will look at teaching methods, common problems to look out for, and some useful advice on how to correct them.
Callum Beaumont – 6/8 Marches: Repertoire & Expression
As a result of the dominant role that 2/4 marches play in competition 6/8 marches are sometimes unfairly viewed as the inferior cousin. There are an enormous amount of beautifully composed tunes out there that are seldom played, and when they are played correct expression is often missing. In this session Callum will be looking at how to express some of his favorite 6/8 marches.

Piobaireachd Competition

Grade 1
Submit three full Piobaireachd
Grade 2
Submit two full Piobaireachd
Grade 3
Own choice full Piobaireachd
Grade 4
Own choice full Piobaireachd
Grade 4 Ground
Own choice Piobaireachd Ground only

Light Music Competition

Grade 1 - MSR
Submit two sets
All tunes 4 parts minimum
Grade 2 - MSR
Submit two 2/4 Marches
Own choice Strathspey
Own choice Reel
All tunes 4 parts minimum
Grade 3 - 2/4 March
Own choice of 4 parted tune
Grade 3 - Strathspey & Reel
Own choice tunes
Can be either two 2 parted or one 4 parted
Grade 4 - March
Own choice 2/4 March (either one 4 parted tune or two 2 parted tunes)
Grade 4 - Strathspey & Reel
Own choice tune
One 2 parted Strathspey and one 2 parted Reel


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