Greater Ipswich College of Piping and Drumming is hosting its open day on February 6.
Greater Ipswich College of Piping and Drumming is hosting its open day on February 6.

Unusual hobby appealing to Ipswich parents

WITHIN as little as three months, you could be playing tunes on bagpipes, according to City of Ipswich Pipe Band’s leading musician Nick Tomkins.

Aspiring musicians across Ipswich are able to check out the classes on offer at the pipe band’s educational arm at its open day this Saturday.

The Greater Ipswich College of Piping and Drumming will showcase its classes, giving new students the chance to sign up and learn a new instrument.

Pipe Major Nick Tomkins said, with a good tutor, learning the bagpipes wasn’t too tricky.

Greater Ipswich College of Piping and Drumming is hosting its open day on February 6.
Greater Ipswich College of Piping and Drumming is hosting its open day on February 6.

“Many people try to do it without a tutor and they find it difficult to learn but our tutors are all (highly qualified),” he said.

“We have a former world champion and other tutors at the top of their grade.

“With that, it makes it a lot easier and more enjoyable to learn.”

He said, contrary to popular belief, playing bagpipes didn’t require enormous lung capacity.

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“A lot of people think you need to have really big lung capacity,” he said.

“But it’s really just about technique and co-ordination.”

Forming in 1909, the band has operated in Ipswich for 112 years since it was formed by the Caledonian society.

“It was about keeping the (Scottish) culture going, keeping the camaraderie going between fellow Scots,” Mr Tomkins said.

To draw in new members, the band launched its college five years ago.

“It was to rejuvenate the membership and try to really encourage young people into the piping and drumming and into the culture and community,” Mr Tomkins said.

Greater Ipswich College of Piping and Drumming is hosting its open day on February 6.
Greater Ipswich College of Piping and Drumming is hosting its open day on February 6.

Nearly 30 students are learning their instruments at the school, including a mix adults and children.

“I think the youngest is seven and the eldest would be probably late 40s,” Mr Tomkins said.

“It’s a really good thing for adults to get involved with.”

Mr Tomkins said often children would start taking classes, only for their parents to be tempted to sign up, too.

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“What we’ve found is a lot of parents start after because they decide to do it with their kids,” he said.

“We’ve got a real family culture and a lot of husbands and wives both play. There’s a family (at the school) where one of the sons plays the pipes and the daughter plays the drums and the mother decided to play as well.”

The Greater Ipswich College of Piping and Drumming offer private lessons for bagpipes, snare

drum and tenor drum with highly experienced tutors providing expert instruction. After mastering the basics, students will progress into performing with the City of Ipswich Pipe Band at local community events along with competitions throughout Queensland.

The McCullough Highland Dancing Studio will be at the open day, for those interested in signing up.
The McCullough Highland Dancing Studio will be at the open day, for those interested in signing up.

The Open Day will also feature the McCullough Highland Dancing Studio for those interested

in signing up for a new term of Highland Dancing. The McCullough Highland Dancing Studio

classes run on Thursday afternoons at the City of Ipswich Pipe Band Hall.

The open day will run between 4pm and 5pm on Saturday at the City of Ipswich Pipe Band Hall in Limestone Park, Ipswich.

Those interested in attending should register their interest at GICOPAD@ipswichpipeband.com.

Read more news by Ebony Graveur.



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