Berwickshire Youth Piping and Drumming Foundation
Funds Received - £2,200
Berwickshire Youth Piping and Drumming Foundation was set up with the mission to establish bagpipe and drumming tuition in five of the Berwickshire primary schools - Chirnside, Duns, Coldstream, Greenlaw and Swinton. Our ambition, as set out in our application, was to attract between 40-60 pupils. We have far exceeded this target with, pre Covid, around 90 pupils receiving lessons. As well as introducing pupils to the discipline of learning a musical instrument, the tuition has been successful in establishing music as a cool thing to do and built pupils sense of achievement and self worth. We believe that we are well on our way to achieving our initial objectives, which are:
- To advance the musical eduaciton of the young people of Berwickshire.
- To promote our national heritage and culture.
- To increase public exposure to music and the performing art.
- To build links between young people and the wider community.
The estabilishment of a school pipe band is one year closer.
The first step in estabilishing the tuition programme was to recuit a tutor and we were very fortunate to engage Andrew Warren (who also tutors at James Gillespies in Edinburgh) to deliver lessons. His enthusiasm and hard work has played a large part in the success of the programme. Lessons commenced in October, by February we were looking to intriduce another tutor to ensure that pupils could be taught in smaller groups and this would still be the plan once live lessons recommence.
The shutdown of schools in March did not mean an end to the teaching programme. Lessons and tutorials were posted on line for children to complete and we hope this will have been sufficient to sustain interest and maintain numbers once we are able to start teaching in schools again. Precisely when lessons can resume remains uncertain, however, as although schools have reopened, instrumental tuition has not restarted. If this situation was to continue, we may have to pause the programme until the new year.
The much better than anticipated numbers meant that we had to purchase more practice chanters than anticipated. We also took the decision to delay the introduciton of drummng tuition, primarly to lessen the demands on the schools timetable. We were successful in gaining significant funding from Fallago Rig Community Fund and the Scottish Schools Pipes and Drums Trust and this, combined with the generous support from BWCF (for which we are very grateful) has meant that we were able to support the more intensive teaching programme and be in a solid financial position for the coming year.
Photos to follow.