Aim­ing to drum up bit of in­ter­est

Youth pip­ing pol­icy

The Galloway News - - GALLOWAY VIEW - Kenny MacDon­ald

Pipe band guru Andy McCart­ney has helped breathe new life into pip­ing and drum­ming in Dum­fries and Gal­loway.

And he is set­ting up a promis­ing youth pol­icy as chair­man of the South West of Scot­land Pip­ing and Drum­ming Academy by link­ing up with 18 schools.

Andy told how he was prompted to act by the con­stant loss of tal­ented mu­si­cians to ri­val bands in cities and towns.

He said: “There is a real dearth of young tal­ent and we are des­per­ate to bring more through.

“We are run­ning work­shops to help im­prove the stan­dard of young pipers and drum­mers while try­ing to get pip­ing and drum­ming tu­ition into schools through­out the re­gion.

“Al­though there are 300 bands that at­tend the world cham­pi­onships, there is a real short­age of play­ers.

“Th­ese bands come from all over the world and the prob­lem for us is the ur­ban ar­eas and cen­tral belt with big­ger cities at­tract a lot of our promis­ing young­sters.

“It is a bit like foot­ball, in a way. If a young player is do­ing well at Queen of the South and then a Rangers or Celtic scout spots him they take him away.

“In our world, we will teach a young piper or drum­mer but then they go to a bet­ter band or one in a higher grade and they’re gone for good.

“They also go to uni­ver­sity in big­ger places like Aberdeen, Glas­gow, Ed­in­burgh or Stir­ling and they don’t come back. They can also find jobs in the cen­tral belt so it is hard for us to keep them in a ru­ral place.

“That ’s why we are try­ing to in­tro­duce pip­ing and drum­ming tu­ition into schools and so far we have man­aged that with 18 schools.

“From a stand­ing start in 2014, that’s not bad. It’s made an im­pact and now we are try­ing to pro­mote our­selves even fur­ther with work­shops.

“We had one at Aber­nethy Trust and in Kirkcud­bright Parish Church plus a con­cert af­ter­wards.

“There were 41 peo­ple there in to­tal and the youngest was just eight years old while the old­est was about 15, so it was a suc­cess­ful week­end and we are plan­ning more.”

Beat Play­ing the big drum

Tu­ition Andy McCart­ney, from Cas­tle Dou­glas, in­tro­duc­ing Al­is­tair McLaren, direc­tor of the Na­tional Youth Pipe Band of Scot­land, at Kirkcud­bright Ready The end of the week­end band school was marked by a con­cert in Kirkcud­bright Parish Church, below

Tweak Al­is­tair McLaren, direc­tor of the Na­tional Youth Pipe Band of Scot­land, ad­just­ing pipes

Show­ing the way Pipe Ma­jor Ian Craw­ford led the band

Tun­ing up Young pipers warm up for the con­cert

Learn­ing Some of the young­sters who took part

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