Bellows pipe classes now appear at traditional music festivals around the world. Here piping teacher and maker Geoff Jones describes one in the Australia autumn, and piper Ben Miller reports from one on the same weekend in springtime Maine, USA.

The 9th South West Coast Piper Drummer Workshops weekend was held from 7 – 9 May 2010. The event, which is organised by the Warrnambool & District Pipes & Drums Inc., opened on Friday evening with a recital at the Warrnambool RSL (Returned and Services League of Australia) featuring some of the local, national and international piping and drumming tutors. On Saturday, workshops were conducted for the Highland pipes, Scottish smallpipes and pipe band drumming. Whilst the piping workshops have usually been for the Great Highland Bagpipe, Scottish smallpipe workshops have also been offered in the last couple of years. This year the smallpipe workshop was conducted by Geoff Jones. The handful of keen players attending this workshop enjoyed working on a range of tunes, from basic to more advanced, harmonies (using the same and different pitched pipes – A & D), different playing styles, and adapting tunes for playing on the smallpipe, such and Highland (pipe band) tunes and general session (mainly Irish folk) tunes.
In the evening we returned to the RSL for tea, where we were treated to a blackboard concert of performances from various groups and individuals. A performance by a few of the smallpipe players, demonstrating the versatility and lovely harmonies of the instrument, was particularly well received.
Sunday morning began with more workshops - 'electives' this time. The regular ‘playing pipes with other instruments’ workshop was well attended. About a dozen (Highland) pipers interested in ‘other’ pipes had a go playing Scottish & Northumbrian smallpipes, shuttle pipes and border pipes. The workshop concluded with the group playing a few common tunes on the various pipes accompanied by piano, guitar and tin whistles. The weekend finished with a BBQ lunch, giving of awards and much socialising.
Details of next year’s event will be posted on the WADPADI website ( and information about other smallpipe workshops and events in the region are on my website (