New competition in the pipeline
The first Scottish Schools Pipe Band Championships will take place at Broughton High in Edinburgh on 10 March.
About 40 schools have signed up for the event, which attracts pipe bands of all ages, sizes and standards, and includes categories for bands registered to the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association, as well as competition novices.
The competition was launched by the East Lothian Pipes and Drums Trust, which for the past five years has been providing one-to-one piping and drumming tuition, as well as band practice, to hundreds of children in East Lothian who would not have access to professional tuition.
Motivated by the belief that pipe bands can make a huge contribution to school ethos, Angus Tulloch founded the trust five years ago when he found East Lothian council was unable to include piping and drumming in its music provision.
"All the trustees believe a pipe band can have a disproportionate effect on a school, much more so than any other musical instrument," David Johnston, deputy chairman of the trust, told TESS.
Privately funded tutors now provide one-to-one classes in school, band practice, Saturday workshops and holiday schools for children at Preston Lodge High, Knox Academy and their cluster primaries.
In addition to the work the trust does in local communities, this means it now reaches 400 children from P6 all the way through to the end of their secondary years.
"Piping stays with you for the rest of your life. How many of us have started piano lessons and have let it lapse when we left school?" says Mr Johnston.
The new competition was set up to promote the formation of pipe bands in other state schools, he says, adding: "Every school needs a pipe band."