Put this in your pipe

An initiative to teach the bagpipes to pupils in Edinburgh's schools has greatly exceeded expectations, the city council says.

Initially, it was expected that around 300 primary pupils would take up the opportunity, but demand has been so high that 650 are now learning to play the chanter as their first step on the way to learning to play the bagpipes.

The council has appointed two bagpipe tutors, David Barnes and Stuart Cassels, who are teaching P5 pupils. Mr Barnes is pipe major with Lothian and Borders Police pipe band, while Mr Cassels is a member of the popular group the Red Hot Chilli Pipers and was the first graduate in piping from the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama.

Edinburgh's scheme is funded through the national youth music initiative, which aims to introduce every Scottish pupil to a musical instrument by the time they reach P6.

Andrew Burns, the council's executive member for children and families, says they now intend to create an Edinburgh Schools Pipe Band to provide pupils with additional opportunities and the experience of performing.

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