The popularity of piping continues to grow in Falkirk with a new tuition class starting up in the town centre.
Bagpipes – and the noise they can emit when an untrained exponent is providing the puff – might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but the instrument has become synonymous with Scotland and is played by thousands of skilled musicians throughout the country.
Now fully qualified piping and drumming tutor and examination assessor Neil Clark is looking to start up a piping tuition class for all ages at Falkirk Trinity Church.
The new initiative, which launches on Tuesday, February 2, is aimed at pipers of all levels and abilities.
Neil said: “There have been a lot of people looking to join the class.
“Historically there were a lot of good pipers in the area, but not so much now – even though there are great pipers and pipe bands around at the moment, just not as much as there used to be.
“There are only nine notes available to someone looking to play the bagpipes, but one of the people I used to teach was a music professor who played ten different instruments and he said bagpipes were the hardest to learn.
“It is difficult, but not if you approach it in the right way. I started when I was four, but my dad played the pipes so it was a natural progression for me.
“There are a lot of self-taught pipers out there who are not very good. You need to learn the proper techniques early on.”
Neil, who is based in Larbert, has taught the pipes all over the world including a recent stop in Oman, but hopes he can settle here in Falkirk and build up his class.
Several pipe bands have been in touch with Neil, who helped drill Grangemouth Air Cadets pipe band into a high flying outfit, asking if he can train up some of their young pipers to make them even more proficient on the instrument.
“There is no serious solo piping tuition going on in Falkirk,” said Neil. “I hope the class can change that.
“There was a piping teacher in this area called Hugh Wilson who really did a great job – there are a lot of great pipers around today because of Hugh.
“I hope I can follow in his footsteps with this new class. I will also looked to get the students involved in live performances, actually piping to an audience. That’s really important.”
Visit www.greatglenpiping.com for more information on Neil and the new class.