Piping and Drumming Qualifications Board and SQA Examinations

The National Piping Centre offers piping examinations through the Piping and Drumming Qualifications Board (PDQB), a number of which are accredited by the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA).

The Scottish Qualifications Authority’s (SQA) National Progression Awards(NPA’s) and Professional Development Awards(PDA’s) in Scottish Bagpipes and Pipe Band Drumming cover the skills and knowledge pipers and drummers need for performing on Scottish Bagpipes and Scottish Pipe Band Drums. The awards have been developed by the SQA in partnership with the Piping and Drumming Qualifications Board (PDQB). They are based on National standards of design, teaching assessment and certification. They will enable a consistent approach to the study of Scottish Bagpipes and/or Scottish Pipe Band Drumming in Scotland and internationally.

The examinations are credited in line with the national qualifications framework known as the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF). This framework provides a means of comparing the level of qualifications and amount of credits they carry which can contribute to other awards offered by the SQA. Entry to the NPA or PDA is at the discretion of the delivering centre or organisation. Beginners would enter the NPA (SCQF level 2) and advance through each level to SCQF level 6. For pipers there is the opportunity to progress to PDA’s in Scottish Bagpipes (SCQF levels 7 and 8).

The organisations represented on the Piping and Drumming Qualifications Board (PDQB) are:

  • The Army School of Bagpipe Music and Highland Drumming
  • The National Piping Centre
  • The Piobaireachd Society
  • The Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association

A candidate may present himself/herself for any Certificate without necessarily being the holder of the Certificate which comes earlier in the syllabus. In this case, however, they may also be examined on the syllabus of the earlier Certificates. Candidates should seek guidance from any of the approved examination centres on their ability to sit various certification levels. Tests for all Certificates (less the Performers’ Certificate) will consist in each case of a practical, oral, and written examination.

Candidates must obtain a pass in both the practical and written examinations before a Certificate can be awarded. The tests for the Performers’ Certificate will consist of practical and oral examinations. Candidates are advised to contact any of the approved examination centres for an indication of the suitable standard of tunes to play at respective levels.

For full information on the PDQB and exams visit www.pdqb.org. If you wish to book an examination please call us on 0141 353 0220

Information for Candidates

SQA – Scottish Bagpipes and Scottish Pipe Band Drumming Qualifications

The National Piping Centre exists to promote the study of the music and history of the Highland Bagpipe.
Patron HRH The Prince Charles, Duke of Rothesay, KG, KT, GCB.
Founders: Sir Brian Ivory CVO CBE FRSE MA CA - Lady Oona Ivory DL MA ARCM FRSA - Sandy Grant Gordon CBE MA

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HRH The Prince Charles,
Duke of Rothesay, Patron

with Founders, Sir Brian and Lady Ivory and the Lord Provost Bob Winter on the occasion of the 10th Anniversary of the Opening of The National Piping Centre.

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