MP Praises Work Of Piping & Drumming Academy


Dumfries and Galloway MP Richard Arkless has met with Andrew McCartney, Chair of South West Scotland Piping and Drumming Academy (SWSPDA), to find out more about the important work that they do to expand the availability of drumming and piping tuition to young people across the region.


The SWSPDA is a Charitable Trust that was founded in 2013.  The aim of the trust is to ‘increase participation in and raise enthusiasm for piping and drumming in the South West of Scotland’.


As well as working directly with pipe bands and schools to give piping and drumming lessons, the SWSPDA also holds an annual residential summer school at the Barony College.  Over the course of a week, the children are given high quality piping tuition, with the opportunity for both beginners and more established players to work towards recognised Piping and Drumming Qualifications Board (PDQB) qualifications.  The week culminates in a concert held for the children’s families and friends, giving the children the opportunity to show off some of what they have learned during their week at the Barony.


Participation in this unique summer school has increased every year with over 40 children taking part last year.  This February, a weekend residential course at Ringford will also take place with over 20 children expected to attend.


Commenting on the meeting, Mr Arkless said:


“It was wonderful to learn more about the important work of the Piping and Drumming Academy.  Being in a pipe band gives young people a wide range of skills. It encourages teamwork, builds confidence and friendship and it can also open the door to travel opportunities and paid employment in the future.


“Piping and drumming are an important part of our heritage but they must also be in Scotland’s cultural future.  In order to guarantee that pipe bands continue, our children and young people must be given the opportunity to learn to play the instruments and the SWSPDA does just that. It is clear that without the work that they are doing across our region’s schools and in our communities, we would see the number of skilled pipers and drummers fall.”


Mr McCartney added:


“Our aim is to work with pipe bands and schools, and also directly with youngsters, to build both motivation and ability.  Our ‘Piper in Residence’, Callum Moffat, who is one of our tutors, demonstrates with his competition successes, both individually and with the Scottish Power Pipe Band, just what can be achieved.”


To find out more about SWSPDA, please visit their website at www.swspda.co.uk

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