News » 11th April 2019

Summer School 2020

Summer School 2020 will be the start of a new era with a number of exciting changes being announced.

The popular educational retreat will be moving to Wellington in January next year to ensure more people can take advantage of world-class tuition. 

RNZPBA Education Leader Mike Sander said the school will take place at Scot’s College to help those in the North Island to be able to more easily attend Summer School.
“By moving from Christchurch, where the school has successfully been held for some time, we’re hoping pipers and drummers from around the country will be able to attend this North Island Summer School, where they might not have been able to in the past.”
Mike said future Summer Schools could work on a rotational basis around main centres, but decisions on the location of each Summer School would be decided in after the 2020 Summer School.

Wellington Summer School manager Marion Horsburgh said the goal of Summer School 2020 will be for each student to gain knowledge and skills to become a better player. 

“While there will still be a performance aspect to the school, the emphasis will be more on developing individual skills and knowledge and helping people with tunes they need for their own band, rather than spending most of the week trying to learn new tunes - although this will still be an option,” she said.

“Apart from the performance band and own band sessions, rather than being assigned to a group for the week, students will be advised of all the workshops in advance of the school so they can plan their time effectively to take full advantage of what is relevant to them. Students will be asked to indicate on the enrolment form which performance stream they will be best suited to and tunes will be released prior to the school so they can turn up already familiar with the tunes.”

Marion said new workshops as part of the school will be wide-ranging.

“They will include such topics as tuning, maintenance, tying in a bag, changing a drum skin, reed manipulation, solo piping and drumming, kitchen piping, improving technique, reading music, writing music, ensemble, piobaireachd, and the opportunity to learn new tunes.”

There will be an option for a band enrolment, with cost savings for 10 or more players and the opportunity for bands to have a daily session on their own set and medley.

“If band members are looking to set up new reeds or replace their drum skins they will be welcome to bring them to the school so this can be incorporated into a practical class,” Marion said.

A world-class line up of top pipers and drummers from around New Zealand and further abroad are currently being confirmed to teach at the school, with tutors to be announced shortly. 

Summer School 2020 will take place at Scot’s College in Wellington, kicking off on the evening of Wednesday January 8 with a tutor recital and concluding on Sunday 12 January with a student concert. The school will also feature a mini band competition as well as ceilidh, with the results of a Summer School tune writing competition and scholarships being awarded during this event.

Enrolments will open shortly. For more information, keep an eye on the RNZPBA Summer School Facebook page, the RNZPBA Facebook page or at