Competition info

Why solo competition is encouraged

  • Motivating goal or focal point for students to work toward
  • Specific, constructive feedback from a professional musician / adjudicator
  • Improved skill development to work on with instructor
  • Build experience toward competing with playing band (in the circle)
  • Camaraderie with fellow band members / players

Selecting the tune(s) to perform

  • Refer to BCPA individual piping / drumming matrix
  • Speak with your instructor to select appropriate and enjoyable tunes

Private Instruction

It is highly recommended that your player have a solo instructor to fully reach their competition potential. The band instructors will have minimal time to spend on solo material.  For chanter and drum pad students, it is not as important. Beyond that, it’s a necessity in order to pick the correct tunes and get the proper feedback prior to competing. There’s just not enough time in a group setting (for 1-2 hrs a week) to achieve this.


Unlike band competitions, the PGPB uniform specifically is not required for solo competition performances.  Highland apparel worn properly is highly recommended for best presentation to the judge.  Solo Competition dress recommended:

  • Drum Pad and Chanter: black shoes and pants, black vest with PGPB vest buttons, PGPB dress shirt, tie and Glengarry (optional).
  • Pipes and Drums: full uniform: Glengarry (optional), dress shirt and tie, buttoned vest, kilt, sporran, belt (optional if kilt fitting properly), highland dress hose (very tall socks), and gillie brogues.
  • Wear your competitor number pinned to your kilt or bottom edge of vest. Games do not necessarily provide pins to secure the competitor number. We recommend keeping several safety pins secured with the uniform.
  • Dress requirements vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. Glengarrys are required in Ontario, check before setting out.

British Columbia Piper’s Association – BCPA

  • Provincial regulating bodies
    • membership
    • sanctioned events / list of all events and links to same
    • Level of play / competition in BC:
      • Chanter / Drum Pad,
      • Grades V, IV, III, II, I, Professional
      • Annual aggregate competition results and promotions
      • Speak with your instructor regarding appropriate competition level

Registering for solo competitions

  • PGPB volunteer coordinates band registration for games
  • Parents are responsible to ensure solo competitors are registered as per the posted deadlines – Sanctioned events will request your BCPA membership #.
  • Registration may be done through BCPA for sanctioned events or as directed by the respective games information (website – email -mail out)
  • Competitors generally play in reverse order of registration, e.g. last to register must play first for judge, not the best playing position so register as early as you can.
  • Not all games handle confirmations the same way.  Some mail them out with a competitor number and info kit; others have you pick up your number and kit on site.  It is recommended that you confirm with the specific games contact person to ensure your player is fully registered and allowed to compete.
  • Most games do not allow late entries or field entries – get your entries in prior to the published deadlines to be sure your player is on the event playing schedule.

The Event, Steward and Judge

  • Every event (determined by specific tune or set to be performed for the judge) will have its own event number, location and start time.
  • Prior to your competition start time, check in with the Event Steward (volunteer standing near the judging station generally holding the clipboard and paper with competitor names).  The Steward coordinates the competitors to perform, in turn, for the judge.  Stay near by; it is not the Steward’s responsibility to find or collect competitors to play.  Specific play times may vary as other competitors may withdraw or not appear, changing the performance time schedule.
  • The judge is a professional musician who has met the necessary requirements to adjudicate these performances.  They hope to hear the best of each competitor and provide constructive written feedback on virtually every performance.

Should the parent enter a competition room / space?

  • Judges don’t usually mind if friends or family accompanies a competitor, but it is at the judge’s discretion! Ensure you ask the steward or judge prior to making a commitment to a young player.
  • You know your competitor best. Let them decide based on their comfort level and confidence if they’d like you to be in the room.
  • If desired and admitted, be discrete.  Give your competitor the advantage of an undistracted environment, the quiet and focus they need to do their best.

Highland games and events we may attend:

BC Indoor

Victoria Highland Games

BC Highland Games