We offer a number of piping and drumming qualifications able to be attained at the Army Cadet Force:

Piping & Drumming Qualifications

  • APC Music Star Levels
  • Piping and Drumming Qualifications Board (PDQB)
  • BTEC Music
  • Duke of Edinburgh's Award

APC Music Star Levels

The Army Cadet Force Piping and Drumming activity is structured, progressive and achievable. It offers a sensible approach to learning which also provides maximum opportunity for achievement. The syllabus has been devised to cater for all forms of instrumentation incorporated in the Pipe Band: Bagpipes, High Tension Snare Drum, Tenor Drum and Bass Drum.

There are various levels of achievement in total and these are linked directly to the Piping and Drumming Qualifications Board / Scottish Qualifications Authority(SQA) syllabus. However, there are strict guidelines regarding the Army Cadet Force Star Awards and Music within the Army Cadet Force.

The Army Cadet Force offers two career paths up to 4 Star Cadet and these are the APC Military Syllabus and the APC Music Syllabus. However all cadets must complete their 1 Star APC Military Proficiency before progressing through the APC Music Syllabus although this can be completed concurrently with the Music training. Cadets also have the option of completing both the APC Military and APC Music Proficiencies. Many cadets are achieving both awards. Cadets who do achieve both are normally of a very high calibre and highly motivated individuals.

View the APC Music (Piping and Pipe Band Drumming) Syllabus

Piping and Drumming Qualifications Board (PDQB)

The Piping and Drumming Qualifications Board (PDQB) has been embraced by the piping and drumming world as a major step forward in the development of internationally recognised qualifications for Bagpipes and Pipe Band Drumming.

The brainchild of Alastair Aitken OBE, this has been a huge success, bringing together the Army School of Bagpipe Music and Highland Drumming (ASBM&HD), National Piping Centre, College of Piping, Piobaireachd Society and the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association (RSPBA), the 5 major players in world piping and drumming.

More recently the Scottish Qualifications Association (SQA) has seen the potential and merged with the PDQB giving the qualifications on offer not only musical value but educational value, entering the qualifications on to the Scottish Creditation and Qualifications Framework (SCQF).

A great deal of time and effort has been put in to produce structured syllabi and assessments for the various levels pertaining to each instrument within the Pipe Band. As this provides a complete structured learning package, we in the Army Cadet Force have been keen to embrace the advantages of this and widely use the structure of the PDQB for the cadet development as pipers and drummers. It is very evident that, when a structured learning package is in place, progress can be achieved at all levels.

All of the ACF Piping and Drumming Centre Musical Staff are authorised Assessors on behalf of the PDQB and this is essential to the continued delivery of the PDQB qualifications within the Cadet Forces. The National Cadet Piping and Drumming Executive Officer is a coopted member of the PDQB Commitee and this position has become possible through the extremely successful delivery and achievement of qualifications throughout the Cadet Forces.

The ACF works closely with, and indeed, comes under the umbrella of the ASBM&HD for PDQB Administrative purposes. The ASBM&HD is one of the four Approved Centres for delivery of the PDQB Qualifications and we hope that this relationship will continue.

View Piping and Drumming Qualifications that are available in the Army Cadet Force.

BTEC Music

The Cadet Vocational Qualification Office (CVQO) offers cadets who are 16 or over and who have achieved 2 Star the opportunity to enroll on to the Level 2 BTEC First Diploma Music and the Level 2 BTEC First Diploma Public Services programmes.

All aspects of Cadet Force Piping and Drumming can be used as the medium to achieve the First Diploma Music and successful mapping of the Piping and Drumming Star Syllabus and BTEC Music has been achieved. Cadets are given two years in which to complete the Diploma and much of the necessary work is conducted at the various training events conducted by the ACFPDC. Pipe Major Iain Lowther, one of the ACFs national Pipe Major Advisers, is the focal point in Scotland for all Music and the focal point throughout the UK for all cadet pipers and drummers.

For more information email the National Cadet Piping and Drumming Executive Officer . Alternatively, contact the CVQO Music office direct on 01276 601 713 or 01276 601 709.

Duke of Edinburgh's Award

The Army Cadet Force offers all Cadets and Adult Volunteers aged 14-25 the opportuntiy to take part in the Duke of Edinburgh's Award. Army Cadet Force Piping and Drumming can be used to complete both the Skills and Residential sections of the award and is another very useful tool that can be utilised with musical achievement.