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THIS year's Edinburgh Folk Festival saw it’s first Lowland Piping Course and by all accounts it was a tremendous success. It was run as an experiment to “test the ground" as to the national interest in Lowland piping and whether we could turn such a course into an annual event.
There were five extremely keen pupils, all at different stages of piping and all with entirely different and individual needs. They came from a' the airts—Essex, Birmingham, Lincolnshire, Argyllshire and Perthshire—their progress during the week was exceptional.
The course ran from Monday, March 31, to Friday, April 14th; 10 - 12.30pm and 2 – 4.30pm each day, with breaks for the very important cups of tea. The Festival Club venue was ideal, having at our disposal the room annexing the Debating Hall for individual tuition plus the main hall and side corridors for practice. Although the teaching of Lowland music was the main theme there was a lot of instruction on setting up and maintaining the pipes. Midway
through the course we all made our way down to the National Museum of Antiquities at Queen Street, where Hugh Cheape talked about the pipes in the small piping exhibit in the museum. It is disheartening to think that Scotland, the country to whom the bagpipe world looks up, does not have its own National Bagpipe Museum, or even a proper exhibit of pipes within one of its museums.
To round off the extremely successful week there was a very well attended concert devoted to the bagpipe, featuring Anthony and Carol Robb on Northumbrian pipes; Neil Martin, uillean Pipes; Hamish Moore, Scottish small pipes; and Fred Morrison, Highland pipes.
The course will definitely be repeated next year and already places are booked. A meeting with Robin Morton, the festival organiser, is soon to take place to discuss the feasibility of running a small Bagpipe Festival within the confines of the folk festival - along the same lines as the very successful Harp Festival.
Finally, I would like to thank Robin Morton and Marian Ramsay, for their interest without which this course could not have taken place.

THE students out-numbered the tutor by only five to one. Hamish Moore was the tutor, and it was very much his requirement that the number of students be limited. He wanted to give each one an effective amount of individual attention.
The pipers attending the course had a great diversity of experience - and inexperience! Some had a good grounding in the Highland pipes, but had never buckled on a set of bellows; others had played various types of bellows blown pipes, but in the process had picked up some interesting habits - much of which had to be unlearned before Hamish would nod his approval. There was a great deal for everyone to master, each starting from a different base line, so the individual attention that was given provided a most necessary ingredient.
Each day was spent listening, learning, looking at new music (Gordon Mooney's Tutor was used) and PLAYING. There was room in the hall for each piper to tuck himself away and get on with it—until called in by Hamish to check progress and plan the way ahead. That was every day except the Wednesday, when the class was taken on a “school outing" down the road to see the pipes in the National Museum of Antiquities.
A great afternoon, which was both an instruction and a rest - after two and a half days of continuous playing the arm muscles really made themselves felt!
On the last day everyone analysed what they had learned, all surely went away with a better knowledge of the pipes, the techniques and the music.
More important, each had obtained a good grounding on which to build further his own expertise. Of one thing I am sure; if there is a similar course organised for 1987, it will be oversubscribed. JOHN AGNEW