Objectives of the Scottish Schools Pipe Band Championships

The Championships were established in 2013 with the main aims of:

  • encouraging the formation of new schools pipe bands and offering an entry level taste of competition;
  • celebrating Scotland’s musical tradition and the talent of young people;
  • and showcasing the versatility of the pipes and drums alongside other instruments.

The Championships are for full school or combined schools pipe bands (as opposed to the mini band format normally associated with indoor competitions). The Championships are also open to school pipe bands from outwith Scotland.

Categories

Categories are designed to provide a forum for top level competition as well as a positive and encouraging environment for school pipe bands with minimal or no competing experience. Schools should ensure that they enter into the spirit of the event by selecting carefully the most appropriate category, or grade, in which to take part.

Please note that the Debut ‘A’ category introduced in 2017 has been removed.  Bands that would have entered this category will now play in the Junior ‘B’ category.

 

Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association

The Championships are independently organised by the Scottish Schools Pipes and Drums Trust (SSPDT) but carry the support of the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association (RSPBA).  They are not an RSPBA competition and are not run under RSPBA rules.

No competitor is required to be registered with the RSPBA unless they are competing in one of the categories for RSPBA-registered pipe bands (i.e. Juvenile, Novice Juvenile ‘A’ or Novice Juvenile ‘B’). A school or combined schools with a pipe band registered with the RSPBA cannot enter a band in the Junior ‘A’, Junior ‘B’ or Debut categories.

 

RULES

Combined Schools Pipe Bands

If a school is unable to enter a pipe band due to lack of players, a combined schools pipe band may compete provided that all the players are from schools (primary and/or secondary) within the same education authority.

If a pupil is eligible to play for both a school pipe band as well as a combined schools pipe band, priority should be given to the school pipe band unless the relevant head teacher gives permission to the contrary. A pupil cannot play in both bands.

Adults

In all competition categories one adult instructor may play either as pipe major or, in the case of the Freestyle Musical Ensemble category, one adult either as conductor or leader. No other adult players are allowed.

Pupils

All pupils must be in full time education at their school at the time of The Championships.

No pupil will be allowed to play in more than one of the competing pipe bands or piping quartets.

Players in combined schools pipe bands and piping quartets must attend schools within the same education authority.

Playing formation

All pipe bands and quartets must play in a half circle formation facing the adjudicators.  Drummers can be within the half circle along with the pipers or behind the pipers in the half circle.

Entry forms

Pipe bands and piping quartets must submit online in their entry form:

  • the names of all schools represented;
  • the total number of players in each discipline (pipers, snare drummers, tenor drummers and bass drummer) and;
  • for Junior ‘A’, Junior ‘B’ and Debut categories the names and grades of RSPBA-registered players.

Any changes made prior to the competition must be notified to the organisers.

Number of players

The minimum number of players in each pipe band must comprise:

  • Six pipers
  • Two snare drummers
  • One bass drummer.

Bands playing with less than these numbers will be disqualified.

There is no maximum limit of players.

Sustainability

SSPDT supports the development of school pipe bands that can be sustained long term.  Pipe bands formed only for the purpose of competing at The Championships with no expectation of continuing are not encouraged.

 Adjudication

The pipe band competitions will be judged by RSPBA-approved adjudicators. Where appropriate the adjudication team will be as for RSPBA major championships (i.e. two piping adjudicators, one drumming adjudicator and one ensemble adjudicator). The Quartet Piping and Freestyle Musical Ensemble competitions will be judged by a panel of adjudicators.

CATEGORIES AND ELIGIBILITY

 

Pipe Band Rules & Eligibility Quartet Piping Rules & Eligibility Freestyle Musical Ensemble Rules & Eligibility

 

 

Entry1 PIPE BANDS

RSPBA-Registered Pipe Bands

Tunes

For Novice Juvenile ‘A’ and ‘B’ all tunes must be selected from the list of tunes prescribed on the RSPBA website – www.rspba.org (and may include parts one and two of the four-parted tunes).

RSPBA registered pupils

School pupils already registered with an RSPBA-registered school or combined schools pipe band may play only with that pipe band (i.e. any school pipe band which includes a player or players registered with the RSPBA must play in either their Juvenile, Novice Juvenile ‘A’ or Novice Juvenile ‘B’ category of registration).

Juvenile Pipe Band Competition

Open only to RSPBA-registered school or combined schools pipe bands in the Juvenile Grade.

Playing requirements:

  • One March, Strathspey and Reel (each with a minimum of four parts).

Novice Juvenile ‘A’ Pipe Band Competition

Open only to RSPBA-registered school or combined schools pipe bands in the Novice Juvenile or Grade 4 ‘A’ Grade.

Playing requirements:

  • two x two-parted 2/4 Marches or one x four-parted 2/4 March; and
  • two x two-parted Strathspeys or one four-parted Strathspey; and
  • two x two-parted Reels or one four-parted Reel

Novice Juvenile ‘B’ Pipe Band Competition

Open only to RSPBA-registered school or combined schools pipe bands in the Novice Juvenile or Grade 4 ‘B’ Grade.

Playing requirements:

  • four x two-parted 2/4 Marches

 

 

 

Pipe Bands that are NOT registered with the RSPBA

Note: Debut ‘A’ category has been removed for 2018.  Bands that would have entered this category will now play in the Junior ‘B’ category. 

Tunes

A list of recommended two-parted and four-parted Marches, Strathspeys and Reels is available from the RSPBA website – www.rspba.org – but bands may play other Marches, Strathspeys and Reels of their own choice.

RSPBA registered pupils

Pipe bands in each category (Junior ‘A’, Junior ‘B’ and Debut)  may include pupils who are registered with RSPBA community pipe bands provided that they comply with the following conditions:

  • no more than one third of the pipers (including the pipe major) are RSPBA-registered no higher than Grade 3 (except that the pipe major may be registered at any level);
  • only one snare drummer is RSPBA-registered no higher than Grade 3;
  • the names and grades of all RSPBA registered pupils are listed on the entry form;
  • the total number of players in each discipline (pipers, snare drummers, tenor drummers and bass drummer) are shown in the entry form.

It will be the responsibility of the school/ combined schools to decide the category in which they wish to compete, and, if necessary, to justify to the organisers the reasons for their decision. The organisers retain the right to allocate a band to a different category.

Junior ‘A’ Pipe Band Competition

Open to school or combined schools pipe bands:

  • with experience on a regular basis of non-RSPBA competitions (e.g. private schools, CCF or Glasgow Highland Club); or
  • which achieved one of the top three placings in the Junior ‘B’ category at previous Scottish Schools Pipe Band Championships; and
  • which are NOT registered with the RSPBA

Playing requirements:

  • two x two-parted 2/4 Marches; or one x four-parted 2/4 March (all of own choice); and
  • two x two-parted Strathspeys or one four-parted Strathspey; and
  • two x two-parted Reels or one four-parted Reel

 

Junior ‘B’ Pipe Band Competition

Open to school or combined schools pipe bands:

  • with limited previous competition experience; or
  • which achieved one of the top three placings in the Debut category at the Scottish Schools Pipe Band Championships in 2017.

It is anticipated that pipe bands in this grade will only have previously taken part in the Scottish Schools Pipe Band Championships.

Playing requirements:

four x two-parted 2/4 Marches; or two x four-parted 2/4 March (all of own choice).

 

Debut Pipe Band Competition

Open to school or combined schools pipe bands:

  • with no previous piping or pipe band tradition; or
  • which competed as a Debut pipe band at the Scottish Schools Pipe Band Championships in 2016 but did not achieve one of the top three placings and have not since competed in any pipe band competition; or
  • which have not taken part in any competitions for at least three academic years.

Playing requirements:

  • Any two x two-parted tunes, or one x four-parted tune in quick march time signature (i.e. 2/4, 3/4, 4/4, 6/8 or 9/8).

 

 

 

PIPING QUARTET COMPETITION

Open to schools unable to form a pipe band but that wish to give pipers a competing experience. Combined schools quartets may also enter the competition provided that all participating pupil players attend schools within the same education authority.

Schools or combined schools without a pipe band may enter up to two quartets, after negotiation with and subsequent invitation by the organisers. A combined schools quartet should not contain a player from a school which enters a quartet in its own right. There is no limit to the number of years a pupil may compete as part of a school quartet.

Playing requirements:

  • two x two-parted 2/4 Marches, or one x four-parted 2/4 March (all of own choice).

 

 

 

 

FreestyleFREESTYLE MUSICAL ENSEMBLE COMPETITION

General

Open to all schools or combined schools that have entered other Championships competitions. Whilst a less constrained and more informal category, this event is nevertheless intended to be a serious if somewhat different competition aimed at highlighting the versatility of piping and drumming percussion.

There will be only one category for the event.

Entrants can be:

  • a pipe band performing an innovative concert-style medley; or
  • a mixed musical ensemble comprising pipers and a range of other instrumentalists in which the percussion need not involve pipe band drummers.

Each school or combined schools participating in the pipe band or quartet competitions may enter only one concert-style pipe band or musical ensemble.

Each Freestyle band must comprise at least six players, of whom at least two must be pipers and one a drummer (not necessarily a pipe band drummer).

One adult only may play either as conductor or leader. No other adult players are allowed.

Choice of music will be entirely up to the school or combined schools concerned, but the piping and drumming element will be expected to be prominent.

Musicianship, harmony, originality, innovation, musical interpretation, presentation, rhythm, musical ensemble and vitality will be important as well as piping/ drumming technical proficiency.

A maximum of eight minutes to set up is allowed.

A maximum of five minutes playing time is permitted.

 

A maximum of 15 entries is allowed for the competition, on a first come first served basis, as the intention is that the freestyle musical ensemble competition will run for no more than half the day due to time and accommodation constraints.

 

Technical Guidance

Stage Plan

We would like you to submit a stage plan. This should be an approximate drawn ‘picture’ of where your musicians/ instruments will be on stage along with your need for PA equipment. The layout should indicate approximately where you would like microphones and DIs to be placed. The layout should indicate the (approximate) number of musicians.

 

Technical Basics

  • There will be an eight-minute change-over period between performances. Freestyle Ensembles will be allowed no more than five minutes’ playing time.
  • An in-house production manager will orchestrate the movement of band members and their instruments into and out of the stage area.
  • Professional sound engineers will be available all day to help Freestyle Ensembles set up and prepare.
  • During the change-over period all instruments will be line checked to make sure they can be heard by the PA. We will provide a basic minimal monitor mix and can make minor adjustments at line check. We have no time to sound check monitors or PA beyond the time provided by the line check. We cannot supply sound checks in advance of the competition.
  • Standard stage equipment will include six microphones and 6 DI’s available on stage.  These can be placed wherever you need (we will set out according to your stage plan). We can supply additional mics and DI’s if you let us know in advance (via the stage plan). Please try to keep any additional requests to a reasonable limit.
  • If using DI’s please provide what you need to plug into the DI (at minimum a jack to jack cable from instrument to DI).
  • There will be a guitar amplifier, a bass amplifier and a drum kit on stage – please use these and do not bring your own.
  • On completion of their performance, Freestyle Ensembles should vacate the stage as quickly as possible
  • There will be risers towards the rear of the stage for multiple pipers (for use if you wish) – each can accommodate four pipers.

 

Instruments

Drums

A drum kit will be available, so there is no need to bring your own:

  • Pearl Masters Custom or similar. Sizes: Kick – 22 x 18, Rack Tom – 12 x 9, Second Rack Tom – 13 x 10, Floor Tom – 16 x 16.
  • Mapex Black Panther snare.
  • Zildjian A Custom Cymbals. Sizes: Hi-hats – 13, Crashes – 15 and 18, Ride – 20.

 

Keyboard

We will also supply a keyboard on stage, which will be a Rhodes MK80 electronic stage piano. The keyboard will be factory pre-set so, should you choose to use any of the onboard sounds, they will be available. We would encourage you to use this keyboard rather than bring your own. If you wish to bring your own keyboard this will be set up in advance (whilst waiting at the stage door) on a ‘riser’. The riser will be wheeled into place and plugged in at change over.

 

Your own instruments

You need to bring all your own instruments (e.g. guitars, fiddles), pedals and jack-jack leads with you to the event (less drum kit and keyboard).

 

 

 

The 2018 Championships take place on Sunday 11th March.

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