PDQB: changes to drumming syllabus / CLASP online contest

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Members of the National Youth Pipe Band of Scotland sitting their PDQB exams last weekend.

The Piping and Drumming Qualifications Board (PDQB) has made changes to the drumming syllabus for both snare and bass/tenor examinations.

This relates mainly to the performance element of the examination and was implemented to align with the performance requirements of the piping examinations. This work was carried out by the PDQB Drumming Sub Group which consists of experienced members of the drumming community.

Due to the pandemic the PDDQ will continue running both the current and new syllabus for Level 6 snare drumming until the end of 2020. This is due to the significant changes that have been made and this will give give the students and instructors sufficient time to prepare. As of January 2021, only the new syllabus for Level 6 snare drumming will be offered.

The PDQB has introduced a new entry level examination for snare drumming, SCQF Level 2. The syllabus for this and other examinations can be found at PDQB.org. The main change is with Level 6 snare drumming where the performance requirements have significantly increased with the student requiring to submit two Marches, Strathspeys, Reels, Hornpipes and Jigs, of which, they will be required to play one of each. This mirrors the Level 6 piping requirements. The required drumming exercises have also been amended and streamlined to better reflect this level of examination.

The PDQB has also introduced an additional two levels for the bass/tenor drum and now offers levels 2-6 which again mirrors both piping and snare drumming. The main change is the introduction of a legend (see below) that identifies the required visual movements with their respective names. There will also be visual exercise sheets that will be required for Levels 3-6.

Wilson Brown

Wilson Brown, PDQB Training Co-ordinator for the National Piping Centre, (pictured) said: “These are significant changes to the drumming syllabus and a tremendous amount of work has been carried out by the drumming sub group to develop these changes. All our assessors have and will be fully trained in the new format and it is essential that we raise awareness with both teachers and students with regards to the new qualifications available and also the changes to existing examinations.”

The details of all examinations can be found at pdqb.org and for any additional information please contact the National Piping Centre or any of the other member organisations.



CLASP – the Competition League for Amateur Solo Pipers – is running its second competition of 2020 online tomorrow. The CLASP End of Season competition is being being run in a broady similar fashion to the previous one but with some improvements.

CLASP logo

We will post the results when we have them.

CLASP’s next competition is the World Solo Amateur Piping Competition, which is usually held during Piping Live! This will also be an online competition.