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Launch Pad Summer School 2016

The 2016 Summer School returned to Glasgow Gaelic School for the second year and was held from Monday 1st to Friday 5th August. This year, the school was host to 31 people from all over Britain and included a participant from New Zealand. The piping and drumming school was made up of twenty pipers and six drummers.

Our teaching team was made up of well-established teachers within the Association brought together by John Nevans, Principal of the Summer School. Allan Craig, supported by Fiona Bowes, managed the drumming tuition. Keith Bowes Senior and Junior provided the classroom teaching for pipers. Glenn Brown took students for one to one piping sessions.

For the first time in the Summer School's history, five drum majors joined us for part of the week, with tuition provided by John Noble, Drum Major Adjudicator. The drum major's programme was designed to suit all levels of Drum Majors - from those aspiring to be a Drum Major, to those currently competing and who would like to further enhance their skills.

The RSPBA summer school takes direction from the PDQB syllabus and offers pipers and drummers the opportunity to see what is required to improve performance through education and training.

In between the classroom practical work, short theory sessions were offered on written music, rhythm, melody and harmony. Glenn Brown presented two highly interesting sessions on the history and structure of Pibroch with a superb performance of the tune Isabel McKay.

The programme was about providing entertaining and stimulating opportunities designed to inspire and motivate our students. The motto was "Look up" so the week allowed students to see exemplary performers in action. This year, our special guest was Pipe Major Chris Armstrong from Scottish Power Pipe Band, who came along on Wednesday to discuss the production of sound and to perform a range of traditional musical forms. His contribution was fascinating and entertaining and held our group enthralled from start to finish. It is indeed a great privilege to have the support of Chris and we thank him for his time with us.

On Tuesday and Thursday, the students were given the opportunity to visit the rehearsals of Glasgow Skye and Lomond and Clyde Pipe Bands. These Bands provided a warm welcome and an excellent evening's entertainment, encouraging the students consider what they too could achieve in their performing career. Our thanks go to Pipe Major David Wilton, Pipe Sergeant Fraser Sargeant, Leading Drummer Allan Craig of Lomond and Clyde Pipe Band and from Glasgow Skye Pipe Band, Pipe Major Euan Henderson, Pipe Sergeant Kurt MacIntosh and Leading Drummer Arthur Cook for allowing us to come along to their practices and for the hospitality shown to our students.

Throughout the week, the students worked very hard and gave a massive commitment to improving individual performance. Towards the end of each day, the group would come together and work as a band as part of the preparation for our end- of-school concert on Friday. These end of day sessions took place in the playground and attracted great interest and applause from passing tourists.

The week flew in and drew to a close on Friday morning with the students preparing to deliver a short concert to parents, family and friends.

The concert included performances from the group as a whole, a drum salute, pieces from members of Kilbarchan Pipe Band and members from Johnstone Pipe Band, with a solo performance from Ross Strain. The drum majors also enthralled the audience with their skills.

The concert finished with the band being led from the performance area by our youngest student and very talented Drum Major.

In conclusion, the 2016 school was a great success and staff and students had a great time working together. Our planning for next year's summer school has already started and we hope to see you there.

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