SUMMERSIDE, P.E.I. - Some may think that dance lessons are just for kids or that the opportunity to learn a new instrument has passed, but the College of Piping and Celtic Performing Arts of Canada has free and engaging new trial lessons open to all ages and abilities to disprove those theories one musical note and step at a time.
Chris Coleman, the principal drumming instructor at the College, says the two-day trial lessons that run today and tomorrow, 6-7 p.m., are an opportunity to dip into one of the five Celtic disciplines offered at the College.
“We hope to give everyone a taste of the basics, meet the instructors and see that we are regular people, and give them the opportunity to see if this is something worth pursuing,” he explained.
Classes to choose from include bagpipe, drumming, Highland dance, step dance and fiddling.
“I teach snare drumming, so for the two-day program we will be going over basic patterns, movements and techniques,” continued Coleman.
“The patterns we teach relate to almost all forms of percussion, so whether you play in a school band, garage band, the cadets or dream to be in the pipe band, these lessons provide a solid foundation.”
Through the Department of Education, these programs offered at the college now count towards high school credits. Grade 12 students can apply for the external credit program, which is offered for piping, drumming, Highland or step dance if they meet the requirements and pass examination.
Students of piping may also pursue a bachelor of arts with a major in music, certified in Highland bagpipes, at the University of Prince Edward Island. All disciplines are administered and taught by world-class instructors from the College of Piping.
To assist parents with tuition costs there’s the Doug and Debbie Hall Pipe Band Scholarship, which enables all Island youth aged eight to 18 to take bagpiping or drumming in group lessons at no cost. To date, the couple has provided support for over 50,000 lessons. Signups for the fall session of lessons are available now.
For those unable to attend the college due to geography or mobility, there is now private online instruction in piping, drumming, step and Highland dancing. Students from around the world with a high-speed internet connection and a webcam are taking this instruction.
Classes are offered in Summerside and in Holland College in Charlottetown.
For more information on the classes offered in three semesters at the college, the free trial lessons or scholarships, click here or call 1-877-224-7473.