The National Piping Centre (NPC) this week finished its year-long programme of schools for youngsters under the age of 18 with its autumn Young Stars school. This school had 18 young learners on it, including three who were awarded scholarships from the Matt Brown Scholarship from Govan Schools Pipes and Drums. Matt was the father on NPC instructor Wilson Brown, who passed away last year.
Mr Brown said: “We [he and his brother Gavin] always had many opportunities to learn as boys and it is great that we can keep the tradition going in Dad’s name, by providing this scholarship.
“Govan is particularly close to our hearts as we both played in Strathclyde Police for many years, which has its roots in Govan Police, making this award to Govan Schools particularly poignant.”
The school starts daily with a game of ‘whoosh’ – an icebreaker game that is played to get everyone active and engaged with the day. Then there are workshops, group lessons and practice time through-out the week. One workshop was about technique and looked specifically at gracenotes.
At the end of the week, parents are invited into a short recital and concert where the young players showcase their learning from the week of teaching. One key part of the week is learning about tune composition. The students create a new tune and at the end of the week receive a copy as a memento of their hard work. This makes composition a fun feature of the school, whilst teaching them about tune writing, music notation and more.
One young participant said: “ I’ve had a great week. I love coming to these schools as it’s not just the practice and learning different tunes, it’s meeting new friends too. I enjoyed all the workshops and composing the tune, but my favourite part was playing whoosh!”
A spokesman for the NPC, a registered charity that promotes the study of the music and history of the great highland bagpipe, said its school dates for 2020 will be finalised shortly.