Aiming to drum up bit of interest
Youth piping policy
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