Piping | Drumming


Pacific Institute of Piping & Celtic Performing Arts

Piping & Drumming Summer School

Well taught musicians make fine performers and successful competitors!


Click below for specific programme details:

General Programme Overview: There are lots of great piping and drumming schools.  Most focus on the development of competitive pipers and drummers rather than the evolution of skilled musicians who can perform and entertain well.  At the Pacific Institute of Piping & Celtic Performing Arts Summer School for Piping & Drumming, we do it all. We provide a broad and rich experience that will better prepare pipers and drummers to be enjoyable performers and successful competitors.

Our world-class school of piping and drumming is taught by internationally renowned musicians and teachers in conjunction with CeltFest. Using state-of-the-art classrooms and facilities at Vancouver Island University, our school provides an unparalleled learning experience for the student in a relaxed ocean view setting. Add to this great accommodations and opportunities for families to join in the festivities, classes, or simply enjoy vacationing on Vancouver Island and the possibilities for a meaningful and memorable experience are even greater.

Surrounding our Highland piping and drumming school are classes in several other Celtic instruments, dance and visual arts.  Each evening the festivities begin with a main performance event such as a concert featuring star performers, many of whom will be on staff as instructors.  One night features a Wacky Jig & Hornpipe Contest, open to pipers, drummers and all other students.  The only requirement is that the performance must be a jig and/or hornpipe.  Creative costuming, zany antics and overactive imaginations are highly encouraged.  Leering, jeering, applause and prizes aplenty are included.  Following each evening's main event is an authentic ceilidh.  This is an opportunity for anyone and everyone to socialise, dance and perform.  It is a wonderful opportunity for pipers and drummers, on their own, as small groups or full bands, to strut their stuff.  There is a stage, an MC, sound equipment and a sound technician to make everyone's performance the best it can be.  It is also an opportunity to not only enjoy the performances of other musicians and dancers, but to observe how they perform.  There is so much we can learn from other performers, whether they are amateurs or pros,  about what is involved in performing and entertaining others well.  To have the opportunity to develop and practise these skills in a genuine performance situation is unique to our programme.

Each day we work hard  on all the skills necessary to become world-class pipers and drummers, or pipe bands.  We practise technique, learn new music while improving what we already know and we learn how to get the best sound from our instruments.  If we are band pipers and drummers, we learn how to play better as a band by improving band skills.  Add to all this what we may learn and experience from the other opportunities presented at CeltFest and you can see many possibilities to become a better, more knowledgeable piper or drummer.

The term musician refers to someone who has developed BOTH the technical knowledge and skills to play an instrument well PLUS the ability to perform an enjoyable, musical experience for an audience.  The piper or drummer who has aimed for excellence in developing these skills will be a successful competitor.   They will also have the ability to entertain an audience beyond their competitive peers, and they will be able to successfully join in with a variety of musicians. 


  • Colin Magee

    Colin Magee, originally from Glasgow, Scotland, is a drummer and piper and is one of the founding members of the innovative City of Victoria Pipe Band. He was leading drummer of the band for ten years and was also a guest drummer with the original Triumph Street band.   He is a published...

    James P. Troy

    James began both piping and drumming at age six, studying piping with his father, James W. Troy, and drumming with his uncle, Colin Magee. He joined his first band, the renowned City of Victoria Pipe Band, at age 11, and has since been a member of the Peel Regional Police Pipe Band, the Toronto...

    Rene (RPF) Cusson

    A school teacher by profession, René (R P F) Cusson from Nanaimo, BC, on Vancouver Island, is in regular and popular demand as a piping teacher, recitalist, adjudicator, dance piper and composer. He has many years of experience in teaching, organising and heading piping workshops throughout Canada...

    What to Bring
  • Pipes  
  • Chanter (penny whistle for Irish pipers)  
  • Solo and band music  
  • Maintenance items for instruments 
  • Practice pad, sticks, drums, and drum scores
General Items For Everyone
  • Pens 
  • Pencils 
  • Notebook  
  • Binder or folder for handouts  
  • Recording devices for musicians (optional)  
  • Water bottle  
  • Wacky costume for those participants in the Jig and Hornpipe Contest  
  • Shorts  
  • Long Pants  
  • Raingear  
  • Sweater for evening
  • Outdoor Sportswear & Sunscreen 
  • Bathing suit 
  • Beach towel 
  • Bug repellent  
  • Highland Dress/Irish Costumes are Optional  
  • Your best attitude for a fun-filled week of learning!


Class Schedule/Location

The class schedule and location will be finalized once registration closes on June 25. We will post it here as soon as it is available.

Register Now!

Pipe Band