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"Students will learn more than the finer points of a pibroch or a lament"
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David Calder hears the skirl of the pipes
"The students will learn all there is to know about this traditional instrument"
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Friday, 25 August, 2000, 08:12 GMT 09:12 UK
Degree pipes in new era
The degree course is hailed as a landmark
The world's first degree course in Scottish piping is being launched.

The qualification is a collaboration between the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama (RSAMD) and the Piping Centre in Glasgow.

Students will be offered a four-year course leading to a Bachelor of Arts (Scottish Music - Piping).

The course's organisers say the aim is to bring the bagpipes into the mainstream of musical education and the degree is a major step forward for the instrument and musicians.

Nowadays there's huge interest in piping from abroad

Roddy McLeod, centre director
The new course will cover piping technology, the tone of the Highland bagpipes and their construction.

Students will be offered the chance to study at teacher training colleges, where they can learn to become school music teachers.

They will also be able to study Gaelic and Scottish folklore.

The aim is to provide graduates with better career opportunities and a module on business studies has been included.

Five students from Scotland will initially be accepted on to the course, on top of which the academy hopes to attract people from overseas.

Piping centre
The Piping Centre is involved in the joint venture
Centre director Roddy McLeod said: "Nowadays there's huge interest in piping from abroad, particularly the US and Canada, but Australia, New Zealand and other hotbeds of piping.

"We even have pipers coming to us from Japan and Brazil.

"It's a very broad-based degree. It goes much further than just training the pipers in performance. It has piping repertoire, history and a component in the technology of the instrument."

The RSAMD says the new degree is being used as a pilot for other traditional Scottish instruments.

If successful, courses could be introduced for the accordian and fiddle.

Piping centre co-founder, Oona Ivory, said: "The government and higher education authorities are recognising the importance and value of traditional Scottish music and in particular the role of the Great Highland Bagpipe."

The degree's launch on Friday comes a day before the start of the World Pipe Band Championships in Glasgow, which are expected to attract more than 200 bands from all over the world.

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