“The school definitely helped me to become a much better piper.”
Luke Bell, Pennsylvania session

Student in session

Admissions Policy

Piping and drumming students of all ages are accepted to the Balmoral School. We do accept students under 18 years of age who are self-directed and require little supervision. Adult chaperones are assigned to students under 18. Students 12 years of age and under must be accompanied by a parent or a designated adult. All applicants must sign and abide by the honor code pledge found on the registration form.

Instruction & Class Information
The focus of the Balmoral School is to provide high-quality musical instruction for beginning, intermediate, and advanced students in small classes (up to five students). The classes are usually oriented toward improving technique, musicality, and tone; instrument maintenance; and the teaching of new tunes and the polishing and refining of existing tunes. Instruction is geared to individual needs.

Beginner and intermediate classes will cover music fundamentals such as rhythm, tempo, tuning, and tone production, as well as execution and expression. Students usually learn to better control their instrument and put more expression and tone in their music. We accept motivated students with no prior experience in piping and drumming. One-to-one instructional appointments are available.

Advanced classes focus on the refinement of competition and performance skills with world class players. Advanced students may also elect to train and study for performances of their tune sets for major competitions in North America and Scotland.

Students at the Balmoral School have the option to prepare and be examined for a skill level certification program established by the Eastern US Pipe Band Association. Upon successful completion of the Progressive Certification Program (PCP) examinations, certificates are issued attesting to various skill levels in piping and drumming. The non-competitive exams consist of a practical and playing portion to show mastery of rudiments, repertoire and written or verbal questions on maintenance and musical theory. For more information, see EUSPBA's Progressive Certification Program.

Drumming & Smallpiping Sessions
Please note that Scottish snare, tenor, and bass drumming will be taught at all sessions. Smallpiping will be offered at the Pittsburgh, and East Stroudsburg sessions. Fiddle will be offered at the East Stroudsburg session.


Daily Schedule
All students are requested to bring a practice chanter or practice drum pad and, if possible, a set of pipes or a snare or bass drum.

Classes run from Sunday evening through Friday noon for each week. No classes are held on Saturday. Classes are held 9am to noon and 2pm to 5pm.

Indoor practice areas for general use are identified at each location, as well as outside practice areas during daytime hours.

Students are permitted to record all the classes, workshops and recitals for their personal use. Videotaping of recitals is permitted on a limited basis.

Piping students will have a full day:
The daily schedule includes 3-4 personalized small classes per day plus several 60-90 minute school-wide sessions.

Members of the same band can choose to be assigned to the same classes

Time is set aside each day for students to become familiar with new music and progress to the next levels.

Beginning students will have sessions with the same excellent instructors as the advanced students as well as with additional qualified instructors. Remedial help is always available on a one-on-one basis.

Students can choose to prepare for the EUSPBA's Progressive Certification Program (PCP) and be examined for certification attesting to skill level.

Intermediate and advanced students will have some of the greatest pipers in the world to review their competition tunes and continue with new work.

Afternoon and evening sessions are held on various topics, such as:

• Matching chanter reeds to chanters

• Tuning drones and chanter

• Bagpipe maintenance

• Phrasing and playing with rhythm

• Massed band sessions M-T-W in the afternoon on starting with a drum roll, marching in step, stopping on a dime, and deportment. Massed band tunes and settings are sent to students in advance of the session.

• Choosing tunes and preparing for competition

• Judging a competition

• A primer for pipe majors

• An introduction to piobaireachd

• Playing the bagpipe for dancers

• Playing the bagpipe with other instruments

• Student evening recitals

• Instructors' public evening concert

Drumming students will have a full day:
• Group and one-on-one sessions covering fundamentals of drumming technique on snare, tenor, and bass drum

• Personal instruction on simple-time and compound-time tunes, covering marches, strathspeys, reels, hornpipes and jigs

• Special emphasis on phrasing and playing with rhythm

• Massed band sessions coordinating pipers and drummers, including the fundamentals of tuning the drums to the pipes and playing in unison

• The instructor will personally review each student’s progress, and give him/her instruction on how to improve drumming accompaniment to his/her band tunes

• Instructor will, upon request, review and/or modify drum scores for particular tunes or medleys