Tom Roberston reports from the event held in
Dundee, 1st-6th August, 2010

Five pipers, all LBPS members, took part in this year’s Common Ground Week  held in the West Park Centre, Dundee, and a very enjoyable week it was. The Centre is  a large extended Victorian villa complete with meeting rooms, bar, dining rooms and so on, with ample parking. and excellent,  comfortable accommodation.
Three of our members had travelled   considerable distances to attend, Kincraig in the Highlands, Pembroke in Wales and from Berlin, the economics of a five day event with both tuition and variety proving beneficial for them.
The piping course was once again excellently tutored by Neil Paterson. The structure  of the week involved two sessions in the mornings one in the afternoon session and then a '`talk to the piper session". The morning sessions concentrated on new tunes, learning by ear and music, group playing and harmonies. The Talk to the Piper was for individual problems and pipe maintenance.
Common Ground Week is an all-encompassing experience with top class tuition being given in fiddle, mandolin , whistle, harmonica, ukulele, and bluegrass guitar and fiddle. This is complemented by an Arts section involving felting, weaving, song writing, painting etc. - a tremendous mix which participants have the afternoons to explore as they fancy.
One of the afternoon sessions was called "mixed music" and all the pipers opted to attend this. This consisted of taking a tune and examining and exploring harmonies and playing arrangements with other instruments. We had six pipers with small, border and Irish, guitars fiddles, mandolin, accordian and whistles. These were really enjoyable sessions and it was amazing to see how our instrument blended in and enhanced what you would imagine to be some quite bizarre combinations of instruments.
The week was further enhanced by a top-class concert every evening ranging from fiddle and harp to bluegrass, followed by sessions designed to be inclusive of everyone.
Common Ground is organised by Living Tradition; the website and booking arrangements could have been better, but the week itself was a truly enjoyable one. 

The 2011 Common Ground school will be held between July 31st -Aug 5th
details at