2014 Summer Course

St-ColumbasThe Pipers’ Guild is pleased to announce details of next year’s Summer Course.  After a much-enjoyed Summer Course at Hinsley Hall, Leeds, in August 2013, the next Summer Course is to be held at St Columba’s House, Woking from 28 July – 2 August 2014.

Located amid wooded gardens, yet still close to the centre of Woking, St Columba’s House is centrally located for many Surrey attractions such as the Basingstoke Canal, the Surrey History Centre, and Woking Palace.  The venue is easy to get to via rail or air.

Further details and application forms are now available (be sure to download both files!) – and if you book by 28 February 2014, there’s a £50 reduction!

UPDATE:  As of 1 March 2014, the course is now waiting list only.  Contact the Organiser (see form) to get your name on the waiting list!


Bamboo Pipe Festival in Scotland

bamboofestivalWay back in July, the Bamboo Pipers in Scotland held a Bamboo Pipes Festival at The Engine Shed in Edinburgh.  A non-residential course, attendees arrived to fresh scones in the morning and left after cakes in the late afternoon, with a healthy and ample vegetarian lunch in the middle.  Over the five days, about a dozen pipes were started and nearly as many completed.  There were also up to four playing sessions per day, so that aspect of piping was not neglected.  As you can see from the photo, the participants had a grand time and would like to do it again.

About Us

The Guild was founded in Britain in 1932. Its main aim is the threefold craft of making, playing and decorating bamboo pipes. Pipes are made for personal use, and are not sold – i.e. if you want to play one, you’ll have to make one! The idea of making bamboo pipes has spread around the world, with groups and guilds in Great Britain, The Netherlands, Belgium, France, Germany, Denmark, Austria, Switzerland, Italy, Greece, the U.S.A., and Japan. All of the guilds are members of a federation, which meets every five years at an international course.

What are Bamboo Pipes?

The bamboo pipe is a simple hand-made wind instrument, similar to a recorder but with a gentler tone. While looking for a recorder-type instrument to use with her schoolchildren, Margaret James stumbled across a Sicilian shepherd’s pipe. After many experiments the simple treble pipe in D was perfected. Later a full quartet of pipes of alto in A & G, tenor in D and bass in G was developed. This range has since been extended to include sopranino in G, quartbass in D, and great bass in G. In addition, treble, alto, and tenor extended pipes with a range of an octave and a sixth or more are also made.

Why Bother?

Firstly, for the satisfaction: there is a special thrill in playing an instrument you have made yourself. Secondly, it makes you a craftsman as well as a musician. Thirdly, it is an ideal way of learning the rudiments of music. Pipes are made and tuned one note at a time; the complete beginner (of any age) learns to play their pipe as they make it. For more advanced players there is the pleasure of ensemble playing in trios, quartets and larger groups.