Objectives of the Scottish Schools Pipe Band Championships
The Championships were established in 2013 with the main aims of:
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 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’ Grade. Please note the playing requirements for your categories, or grades.
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 grades 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’ or Junior ‘B’ grades, or the Debut category.
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.
In all competition categories and grades 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.
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.
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.
Pipe bands and piping quartets must submit online in their entry form:
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:
Bands playing with less than these numbers will be disqualified.
There is no maximum limit of players.
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.
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.
GRADES, CATEGORIES AND ELIGIBILITY
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.
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.
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.
Pipe Bands that are NOT registered with the RSPBA
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 grade or 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:
It will be the responsibility of the school/ combined schools to decide the category or grade 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 or grade.
Junior ‘A’ Pipe Band Competition
Open to school or combined schools pipe bands:
Junior ‘B’ Pipe Band Competition
Open to school or combined schools pipe bands from schools:
Four x two-parted 2/4 Marches; or two x four-parted 2/4 Marches (all of own choice)
Debut Pipe Band Competition
The Debut category is for schools that have no recent history or tradition or piping. The parent body of The Championships, the SSPDT, exists to promote piping in schools where pupils have no opportunity to learn piping and drumming in class like other musical instruments. The debut category exists to give competition experience to schools, or combined schools, which would otherwise feel unable to enter a pipe band competition. The category is not for beginner pipers from schools that have established bands. The piping inexperience of the pupils is irrelevant: those schools, or combined schools, with a tradition of piping are not permitted to take part in Debut.
Open to school or combined schools pipe bands:
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.
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:
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.
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.
A drum kit will be available, so there is no need to bring your own:
We will also supply a keyboard on stage, which will be a Roland RD600 (or newer equivalent). It has a transpose function. 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.
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).