The National Piping Centre Adult Seasonal Piping Gatherings
Join the first ever NPC Online Adult Gathering Today!
Update - 25.06.2020 - Our Adult Online Gathering is NOW FULL!
We are delighted that our online course is full - we can't wait to see you on Monday.
The National Piping Centre brings you their first ever online Adult Gathering Course from Monday 29th June - Thursday 2nd July. Another first for this school is that it is for Pipers and Snare Drummers! The World Class teachers of this school are: Willie McCallum, Finlay MacDonald, Finlay Johnston, Dan Nevans, Andrew Bova and Ross Ainslie for piping and Gareth McLees will teach the snare drumming course.
This school is for pipers and drummers aged 18 and over and have been designed to give a fantastic social learning experience
Where will we meet?
Join us on Zoom each day for your day of tuition! Once you have registered, we will be in touch with more information about the school and how you can log in each day.
What will I learn?
Over the four days there will be group lessons, 1-2-1 tuition, Masterclass workshops and more for pipers and drummers. Each piping student will be provided with a digital music pack so everyone will have new music to learn and drummers will work closely with Gareth to hone technique.
Which level should I choose?
There are two levels available.
Starter/Beginner is a half school option for people just starting on their piping or drumming journey. They may have just bought their starter pack during lock down. This half school course is designed specifically for adults, whose experience playing is limited to playing the scale or less. This option is £80 for a half school option.
Full School option - for those who have learned more than the scale! Once registered you will be asked to submit a short video of your playing ability, so we can group you before the school starts, so you will be in a group with those of the same playing standard. This option is £130 for the full school.
What will my timetable look like?
We are just finalising the exact timetable. However, if you are in the EU your day will run from 9am BST- 5pm BST, with group lessons, 1-2-1 lesson and a masterclass workshop at 4pm BST each day. For those from the USA and Canada, your day will begin with the Masterclass workshop at 4pm BST (which is around 11am in Toronto) and run until around 9.30pm BST, and will include the group lessons, 1-2-1 lessons during your day. You will have the opportunity to work with our World Class teachers through the week, whatever your timings so this will be a fantastic learning opportunity for you - so register now!
Who will be teaching me?
We have a fanatstic line up of World Class teachers. If you want to know a bit more about them, click on the grey name bar to open and close their biographies!
Willie is a native of Campbeltown, where he learned piping primarily from his uncles Ronald and Hugh and P/M Ronald McCallum, Piper to the Duke of Argyll. His roots go right back to the early days of piping competition and his 4 times great grandfather, John MacAlister, won the Prize Pipe in 1782.
This season has seen Willie involved in the normal circuit of competition where he competed in some of the major events at Piping Live!, the Springbank Invitational as well as major prizes at Inverness and Oban.
Some of his notable career wins are the Glenfiddich Piping Championships with a record 8 overall wins, the Gold Medals at Inverness and Oban, Senior Piobaireachd Oban (3), Bratach Gorm (4), Silver Chanter (3), Former Winners MSR Oban (5), Former Winners MSR Inverness (4), P/M Donald MacLeod Memorial (9), Springbank Invitational (9), Dan Reid Memorial (7), Donald MacDonald Quaich (3), Former Winners MSR London (5).
He runs his own piping business, Willie McCallum Piping, which involves teaching, as well as selling bagpipes, being consultant to bagpipe maker McCallum Bagpipes Ltd, in Kilmarnock and similarly involved at Bannatyne Ltd, Pipe Bag maker, working on developing bags and moisture control devices. His teaching career started in the early 1990s and since then he has been involved in teaching several champion pipers who have won Silver Medals, Gold Medals, Former Winners MSR, Clasps and the Silver Chanter.
Willie lives in Bearsden with his wife Christine and has two children, Hailey and Scott.
Finlay MacDonald has been at the cutting edge of piping, teaching and composing for over 20 years, gaining an international reputation as a highly skilled performer and an inspirational leader in this field. His piping began with instruction from his Father, Iain MacDonald, Pipe Major of the Neilston and District pipe band and he was then taught by legendary pipers Duncan Johnstone and Pipe Major Angus MacDonald. He was one of the first cohort of students to graduate from the newly created degree programme, BA Scottish Music (1996 – 1999), Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama, and since then has gone on to develop a successful career as a performing artist of international standing. A highly experienced recording artist, he has released 4 albums and has appeared on over 20 commercial recordings for other artists.
In 2008 he was appointed head of the then BA Piping degree and was a key member of the team which developed and implemented the new BMus Traditional Music and BMus Traditional Music (Piping) degrees with the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. He has also been a key part in the artistic direction of the Piping Live! Festival, bringing in new international groups and appearing at the internationally renowned event since its inception in 2004.
His international teaching experience has seen him conduct workshops and seminars worldwide and he has also undertaken an Erasmus teaching exchange with the Traditional Music School at the University of Tartu, Estonia.
He has performed and toured internationally with acts including Tryst, Rura, The Grit Orchestra, Capercaillie, La Banda Europa, The Old Blind Dogs, Deaf Shepherd, Chris Stout, Phil Cunningham and Aly Bain, The Unusual Suspects, Breabach, The Treacherous Orchestra, The Chieftains and Carlos Nunez. He has even played on stage with leading mainstream international artists like Biffy Clyro, Brian Adams and P. Diddy.
As well as touring with traditional artists and international stars he has also worked on a range of orchestral projects, including a role as guest soloist with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, BBC Symphony Orchestra, Scottish Chamber Orchestra, the Trondheim Symphony Orchestra, Eden Sinfonia and Northern Sinfonia.
Throughout his 20 year career in music he was a competing member of the Scottish Power Pipe Band (2003-2008) and musical representative/collaborator on British Council projects in Argentina, Chile and Algeria. He also currently performs with piping super group TRYST, pushing the boundaries of contemporary piping, performance and composition.
As a skilled Composer/Arranger his compositions have been used by many leading artists including the World Pipe Band Champions, the Field Marshal Montgomery Pipe Band, as well as Phil Cunningham and Aly Bain, Rura, Session A9 and the Scottish Power Pipe Band for whom he was Musical Director/Producer of the band’s two recent Pre-Worlds concerts, Energy in 2011 and SP+R in 2019. In 2007 he co-published a book of pipe music with Dr Simon McKerrell. He has also produced music for large scale events such as the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo, The Avenches Tattoo in Switzerland where he was Musical Director for the Massed Pipes and Drums, the Basel Tattoo Switzerland and Celtic Connections New Voices.
For all of his work and projects Finlay has appeared in a variety of media including as a regular contributor to BBC radio programmes Pipeline, Take the Floor, and Travelling Folk as well as on live and studio TV recordings for BBC Alba, BBC Scotland and ITV. He was a mentor on Sky Arts show First Love with Alastair Campbell and was a guest musician on Gareth Malone’s Community Christmas TV documentary, and undertake regular interviews and features with mainstream radio and TV shows as spokesperson for Piping Live! and other TNPC activity bringing piping to the wider world through all the work he has undertaken.
Kenny Matheison, The Scotsman 12/5/07
Finlay began learning the pipes at the age of 8 with his Grandfather (Alastair Sinclair) during a summer spent with him at his home on the Isle of Tiree. He began receiving lessons from Ronnie McShannon shortly afterwards and continued to do so since.
Finlay has been surrounded by piping his whole life – His mother (Anne Johnston) was a very successful solo piper, being the first woman ever to win the Silver Medal. His father (Tommy Johnston) was also a successful pipe band drummer and played under Leading Drummer Alex Duthart.
Finlay has played in several pipe bands over his career, most recently with Inveraray & District under Pipe Major Stuart Liddell during their rise from Grade 2 to the top end of Grade 1. Prior to this he played in The Spirit of Scotland Pipe band under Pipe Major Roddy MacLeod.
Prior to joining The National Piping Centre, he worked as a reed maker and is a time-served Mechanical Engineer.Some of Finlay’s main results include:
- Glenfiddich Overall Winner 2018 and 2019
- Donald MacLeod Memorial Overall Winner 2019
- Uist and Barra Overall Winner 2019
- Northern Meeting Clasp 2016
- Northern Meeting Gold Medal 2015
- Argyllshire Gathering Gold Medal 2012
- Northern Meeting Silver medal 2006
From the City of Belfast, Gareth began drumming at 8 years age playing for Glasdrummond and North Belfast Pipe Bands. He was taught by Stephen Rourke of Field Marshal Montgomery Pipe band, and the drumming legend, the late Bobby Rea, himself a 3 time World Solo Champion and Champion of Champions.
In 2007 Gareth moved to play with Field Marshal Montgomery Pipe Band, winning the World Championship in his first year with the band, a feat they repeated in 2011 and in 2012 he helped the band win a Grand Slam and become Supreme Champions by winning, The Scottish, British, European, Cowal and World Championships all in the same year. Since then Gareth has went on to win a further 2 World Pipe Band Championships in 2016 and 2018 with Field Marshal Montgomery.
Between 2013 and 2017 Gareth also lived in Perth, Australia being employed by the Western Australian Police as a professional musician and Drummer in their various bands and ensembles. While living and working in Australia Gareth, travelled back and forth to play with the most successful Pipe Band in history, Shotts & Dykehead Caledonia, from Scotland, under the leadership of 19 times World Champion Jin Kilpatrick MBE, even though traveling back and forward over thousands of miles, Gareth was able to help the Shotts band win the World Drumming Championships in 2014 and the Overall Title in 2015. The following year, while still based in Australia he moved back to Field Marshal Montgomery and won the World Championship with them again! As a young player, Gareth showed immense talent and was World Solo Junior Champion in 2006. He was 5 times Ulster Junior Solo Champion, and 5 times All Ireland Junior Solo Champion, but just a few months ago he narrowly missed out on achieving the zenith of his career when he came 2nd in the Adult World Solo Championships.
Ross Ainslie is one of Scotland’s finest traditional musicians and composers, playing pipes, whistles and cittern. He is renowned for his highly acclaimed solo material, and as a skilled performer and prolific collaborator who performs regularly with bands Treacherous Orchestra – of which he is a founding member – Salsa Celtica, Dougie Maclean, Ali Hutton, Jarlath Henderson, Charlie Mckerron, India Alba and has performed with Kate Rusby, Blue Rose Code, Zakir Hussain, Trilok Gurtu, Capercaillie, Shooglenifty, Carl Barat, Papon, Karsh Kale, Flook, Breabach, Soumik Datta, Tim Edey, Patsy Reid and Hamish Napier.
Born in Perthshire in 1983, Ross began his career as a member of the Perth and District Pipe Band, before joining the Vale of Atholl Pipe Band, where he was mentored by piper Gordon Duncan. Hugely influenced by Gordon’s fearlessly innovative spirit and groundbreaking compositions, Ross began exploring his own abilities as a composer and writing his own tunes, and in 2002 he was a finalist in the prestigious BBC Radio Scotland Young Traditional Musician of the Year competition.
Ross has 3 solo albums to date Wide Open in 2013, Remembering in 2015 and Sanctuary in 2017, he is currently working on his 4th which is due out in spring 2020.
Prestigious industry recognition has come in the form of a multitude of awards
- Won Best Duo at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards with Ali Hutton in 2017 and Nominated for the same award in 2018.
- Nomination for Musician of the Year at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards in 2013, 2016 and 2018.
- Nomination for Best Duo at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards with Jarlath Henderson in 2014.
- He’s also received various awards at the Scots Trad Music Awards,
- Nomination for Instrumentalist of the year in 2010.
- Nomination for Live Act of the year with Jarlath Henderson in 2008 and with Treacherous Orchestra in 2009 and 2010.
- Nomination for Album of the year in 2013.
- Treacherous Orchestra won Album of the year in 2015
- Ross was also Composer of the year in 2015.
- His debut album ‘Wide Open’ was voted 9th out of 50 Top Scottish Albums of 2013 in the Sunday Herald.
A native of Airdrie in North Lanarkshire, Dan got his piping from his father John before receiving lessons from Bob McFie, Jim Semple, Logan Tannoch, James Wark, Donald MacPhee and William J Morrison.
Dan was one of the inaugural members of The National Youth Pipe Band of Scotland and holds a BA with Honours in Applied Music from The University of Strathclyde.
In September 2005 Dan joined the then Robert Wiseman Diaries Vale of Atholl Pipe Band and began his Grade One pipe band career. From 2010 – 2018, Dan was a member of Shotts and Dykehead Caledonia Pipe Band. Winning the world pipe band championships in 2015. After spending the 2019 season as the interim Pipe Sergeant of The Glasgow Police Pipe Band Dan has now taken a hiatus from pipe bands to focus on writing and recording his own music and researching a book about the history and culture of Ceol Mor.Dan has qualified to compete in the 2021 Silver medal contests.
Andrew Bova was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and shortly thereafter moved to Perrysburg, Ohio, where he began piping at age 12 under the tuition of Richard Winslow and Iain Macey. He would return to Pittsburgh to attend Carnegie Mellon University and receive both a Bachelor of Fine Arts ('11) and a Master of Music ('13) degree. While at CMU, he studied under the late Alasdair Gillies, Jimmy McIntosh MBE, and Andrew Carlisle.
In 2013, Andrew moved to Glasgow to pursue a PhD from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland focusing on the development of competitive piping. He has presented his research at numerous conferences and schools including the British Forum for Ethnomusicology Annual Conference and the Conservatoires UK Research Student Conference, and is published in The Scottish Journal of Performance. He frequently assists students on The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland's Traditional Music and Piping degree courses and regularly conducts seminars at The University of Glasgow and The University of Edinburgh.
Andrew's research is grounded in his experience as a performer. He has been a consistently successful solo competitor in the USA, Canada, and Scotland. In addition to his solo career, Andrew is an avid bandsman with a varied history in pipe bands, having been a member of the Grade 1 Windsor Police Pipe Band, Peel Regional Police Pipe Band, and 78th Frasers Pipe Band. Upon moving to Scotland, he joined Shotts and Dykehead Caledonia Pipe Band, who went on to win the World Pipe Band Championships in 2015. In 2020, Andrew joined the Field Marshal Montgomery Pipe Band. Outwith his competitive piping career, Andrew is a regular recitalist and instructor at piping workshops in Europe. He holds a level 8 SCQF, is an approved assessor, and sits on the Piping and Drumming Qualifications Board.
Along with his BFA in Piping Performance, he earned a minor in conducting from Carnegie Mellon University and has experience conducting bands, orchestras, and choirs, having previously served as the conductor of the CMU Flute Choir and as the Assistant Conductor of the Bach Choir of Pittsburgh.
The National Piping Centre requires all students to use hearing protection at all times when playing pipes. Hearing protection is available for purchase in our shop or free of charge from the earplug dispenser in both our piping school venues.
Find out more
Please check back soon for more information about the NPC Autumn Gathering