Monday, June 24, 2019


Brett Tidswell of Dernancourt has again made his mark on the Australian piping community by taking the country's top solo piping prize at the recent R U Brown Piobaireachd Society Gold Medal competition, which also incorporated the 2019 Australian Solo Piping Championships.

Brett began piping at age 9, receiving his first lessons from his uncle, Michael Clark of Aberdeen, Scotland.  He has over the years competed with a number of local bands in Grade 1 and 2, and with the famous Strathclyde Police Pipe Band, one of the worlds top musical ensembles.  He was Pipe Major of the Grade 1, City of Adelaide Pipe Band for some 25 years, taking them on to win the Australian Grade 1 Championships.

Brett first won the R U Brown Piobaireachd Society Gold Medal in 1988. By 2008 Brett had won this title a staggering 12 times, which had by then become firmly entrenched as Australia's top prize for solo piping.  In 2012 the organisers introduced the Clasp for former winners of the Gold Medal.  This meant previous winners could no longer compete for the coveted prize and a new elite category was created.  Run the day before the main event, the Clasp is a popular attraction for spectators, which often includes the next days Gold Medal competitors.  Those vying for the title are truly the elite of the elite of piping from around Australia, New Zealand and Scotland.

Brett has been second in the Clasp a number of times and this year became the only the second Australian piper to win the ultimate title in Australian Piping.

Brett is a full time piper, teaching through the School of Piping and is National Piping Principal of the Australian Pipe Band College.  He has a number of publications on the market, namely "The Complete Pipers Handbook", "The Reed Book", "The Bagpipe Instruction Manual", and numerous musical recordings.

Brett is available for performances and often plays at funerals, weddings, corporate functions and the like. Contact can be made through

Monday, October 8, 2018

Australia's Leading Piper to Perform on Remembrance Day

Pipers from around the globe will perform at their local War Memorials on 11/11/18 as a part of the "Battles O'er" Project to remember the end of the Great War 1914 - 1918. This is being coordinated by the College of Piping, Glasgow, Scotland.

In Adelaide, South Australia, a massed Pipe Band will  perform in the CBD at 4:15 PM to mark the signing of the Armistice and various pipers will perform throughout the city and suburbs at various Memorial sites.

Australia's leading piper, Brett Tidswell, National Principal of Piping for the Australian Pipe Band Association and several times National Champion, will perform at 11:00AM at the Campbelltown War Memorial on the corner of Gorge Road and Lower North East Road, Campbelltown.

Brett has several family members named on the St. Martin's Memorial and family buried in the cemetery behind the church.  Brett played at the re-opening of the Memorial following its refurbishment at the start of the Great War centennial commemorations.

"This is a significant milestone and we will be the last generation that has a memory of those who committed such a significant sacrifice.  Our family lost several members to the war effort and those who returned had a significant impact on those around them."  The centenary cannot be allowed to pass without acknowledgment.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Parliamentary Inquiry Recommends Ivory Exemption for Bagpipes

The Federal Parliamentary Committee on Law Enforcement inquiry into the trade in elephant ivory and rhinoceros horn has recommended exemption of bagpipes from the domestic trade framework for elephant ivory.

The recommendation, contained in the inquiry report released today, covers musical instruments with ivory content of less than 20 per cent and made prior to 1975.

The report noted: A range of musical instruments have used ivory material: namely piano keys, violin bows and bagpipes. In recognition of their use, the UK framework establishes a separate exemption for musical instruments. The ivory content threshold is set at 20 per cent by volume, and applicable for instruments made prior to 1975. The UK government's submission clarified that the 20 per cent ivory content threshold covered 'the vast majority of commonly used and traded instruments'.
It further said acknowledged: Some pipes have traditionally used ivory mounts and ferrules, which prevent the cracking and splitting of wooden drones and chanters. Although this ivory is a decorative element, it is also integral to the functions of the instrument.

The recommendation is consistent with submissions by Pipe Bands Australia and the Celtic Piping Club that were among 84 submissions received by the inquiry committee.

Pipe Bands Australia welcomes the committees recommendation and will continue to monitor tabling of the report in Parliament and future draft legislation as it is presented.

Monday, September 17, 2018

Adelaide - Returned Services League Evicts Member Pipers

Some 30 members of the Prospect RSL Sub-Branch (South Australia) have been evicted from the premises by branch President, Mr Neil Rossiter, citing a change of policy by the Prospect City Council, the owner of the actual building, who he says want to prioritise local community groups hiring the premises.

The premises has been the long term home of the City of Adelaide Pipe Band, a local band who have been South Australian Champions every year since 1991 and multiple time Australian Champions in Grade 1 and 2.  The band services the local area and performs at many local and charitable events, including remembrance services across Adelaide and those conducted at the Prospect RSL.  All band members are financial members of the Prospect Sub-Branch and form well over 50% of the branches active membership.  Members of the band can boast active service in the First Gulf War, Falkland Islands, Northern Ireland, Malay Peninsula, Dhofar, UK Police, local law enforcement and all branches of the Australian Defence Force.

Members of the Prospect RSL also voluntarily conduct the Gracenotes Academy, a youth project that provides piping and drumming lessons for a growing number of young people within the prospect area. They currently have around 20 - 30 students attending on a Wednesday evening, which includes members of the 413 Australian Army Cadet Unit. Gracenotes has just been awarded a commendation for achievement from Pipe Bands Australia.

The RSL premises is also utilised by Pipe Bands Australia SA Branch for meetings and seminars and the R U Brown Piobaireachd Society for monthly recitals and tuition, which makes the RSL something of a hub for local piping activities. The future involvement of these groups is yet to be determined.

The activity of the piping organisations over the years has turned the Prospect RSL from a branch of some 36 ageing members that was dwindling in size, to a thriving musical community attracting many people of all ages and doubling the size of the branch membership.  It also gave local ex-servicemen the opportunity to pass on valuable world-class skills to up and coming players.

During daytime hours the RSL premises has recently been rented to U3A, an organisation that provides low cost opportunities for semi-retired or retired people to come together to learn, socialise and belong. This is not affected by the piping activities that are all conducted of an evening or agreed weekends.

In correspondence received from Mr Neil Rossiter, Sub-Branch President the groups have been given until the 14th December 2018 to remove all equipment and return their keys.  He stated that this would help the RSL: "meet Council policy and with the demand of local Prospect groups".

The Mayor of Prospect, Mr David O'Laughlin has responded to our request for comment and stated: Council has a policy that seeks to maximise the use of our very limited community facilities to local organisations or those providing material levels of service to local people. However the leases are in control of each club, who, within reason, have the ability to sublease or not sublease as they wish, provided they keep the policy in mind. Council has issued no instruction or direction to the Prospect RSL in this matter”.

Mr Rossiter was given the opportunity to respond and was asked to comment of the impact a loss of 50% of his membership would cause to the viability of the Sub-Branch in a state where the League has suffered significant financial difficulties and a substantial decline in memberships.  Rossiter had failed to respond at the time this article went to print.

A spokesman for the band has suggested that a desire to minimise involvement by a small group that see themselves as custodians of their own private club has seen the eviction of 50% of the RSL members, all of whom are involved in the piping activities. This eviction comes at a difficult time as the band prepares its second tour of Brittany, France.

“The band’s name, City of Adelaide Pipe Band Inc., was bestowed upon the band as it represents the entire city in local, national and international competition. It has for many years been based in Prospect, an inner Adelaide suburb and certainly considers itself a local community group.  The Gracenotes Academy has been located in Prospect since inception and cannot understand how it can possibly be regarded as anything but a local community group.  Combined with the fact that both groups are either all members of the Prospect RSL Sub-Branch, or in the case of Gracenotes, run by volunteers who are all members of the Sub-Branch, representatives appear rightly confused as to what makes some members more entitled to hire or use the premises than others.”

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Bagpiper in Adelaide South Australia

Australia's Leading Piper is in Adelaide, South Australia.

Brett Tidswell is the National Principal of Piping with the Australian Pipe Band Association. He has won Australia's most prestigious solo competitions on a record number of occasions and also directed bands who have won the Australian Pipe Band Championships on multiple occasions   He has also played numerous championships in Europe and the United Kingdom with the multiple Championship winning Strathclyde Police Pipe Band from Glasgow, Scotland.

Having performed in competitions and recitals around the world, this acclaimed musician is now available to perform in Adelaide, South Australia. Having played at Military Tattoos, state funerals, celebrity weddings and alongside performers such as Sir Paul McCartney, Sir Rod Stewart, Jimmy Shand,  John Farnham, the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra and many more, Brett will turn your event into a very special and highly memorable occasion.

Available for:

  • Funeral Services
  • Memorial Services
  • Weddings
  • Receptions
  • Corporate Events
  • Birthday Parties
  • St Andrew's and Burn's Nights
  • Remembrance Services
  • Seminars
  • Tutorials
Having been an instructor within the Defence Force and a full time Piping Instructor for many years, Brett also offers individual tuition and piping seminars at all levels both Nationally and Internationally. He holds the APBA Advanced Certificate, Teaching Diploma, Adjudicators Certificates in Piping and Ensemble and is an examiner for the Institute of Piping UK.

Always immaculately presented in full highland uniform, with smart military bearing.

To book a professional solo Piper of unparalleled ability and a musician of international repute and acclaim contact:

Telephone: 0430 726 618 (Brett Tidswell)

International: +61 430 726 618

Brett Tidswell Australian Principal of Piping


Thursday, June 5, 2014

The School of Piping Shop

Bagpipe supplies and sales in Adelaide South Australia.

The School of Piping Shop is able to supply all of your Piping needs and offer friendly experienced service and advice. We stock only high quality products and have a wide range of reeds, bags, maintenance items, bagpipes, and all accessories in stock. Located in Adelaide, South Australia, we ship anywhere in the world and welcome anyone who wants to drop in for face to face service.

Our price list can be seen here:

We also supply a fine range of quality highland outfits.

To make purchases even more convenient for our customers, we also have an extensive range listed at our ebay store. You can visit the store here:

Purchases through the shop help fund our website, sponsorships and teaching programs.

Saturday, May 11, 2013


It is known that drone reeds that are well balanced and well set for strength will stay in tune longer and also be easier to tune. Blowing obviously plays a part in this as well. Many pipers believe that a synchronicity between drones is also possible when they are well set.  When they are blown steadily during a performance and are well set they will vibrate in sympathy with each other, staying in tune longer and sometimes returning to unison if going slightly out of tune.

Often hoses, valves and tubes will prevent this.  Quite often they can also interfere with micro - managing the individual notes on the chanter or the drone chanter balance whilst playing as well.

This synchronicity has been shown with metronomes when placed on a moveable surface.  Energy from the motion of one ticking metronome can affect the motion of every metronome around it, while the motion of every other metronome affects the motion of our original metronome right back. All this inter-metronome "communication" is facilitated by the board, which serves as an energetic intermediary between all the metronomes that rest upon its surface. Similarly the vibration of reeds can be effected by the vibration experienced through the bag. In fact our entire instrument vibrates when we play.

The Reed Book DVD-Rom is the most advanced publication available today to demonstrate the methods used to obtain perfect strength and harmonic balance between your reeds.  The Complete Pipers Handbook also explains these methods in detail. These two publications are available from the School of Piping Shop.

When we sell drone reeds at the School of Piping Shop we select them for balance between strength and also tone before dispatch.  This will help greatly in set up.

While you are there you can download your free issue of the Gone Piping eMagazine.