Armagh Pipers Club is an independent Traditional Music Club based in Armagh City, which has developed into a centre of excellence since its formation in 1966. Its weekly music classes are attended by children and adults from a seven county radius of Armagh, while its annual Festival, the William Kennedy Piping Festival attracts piping enthusiasts from all over the world.


Armagh Pipers Club provides a 4 step Education Programme for all its members

STEP ONE Music Classes

STEP TWO Family Sessions

STEP THREE FonnFridays

STEP FOUR Professional & Creative Development

Attendance at all four strands will help to develop musicality and an understanding of traditional music.

The year is divided into two Semesters, separated by the Christmas break.

Registrations commence on Monday August 21st from 7.00pm at Áras na bPíobairí - 43 Scotch Street, Armagh
Registrations will continue on Monday August 28th from 7.00pm at Áras na bPóiobairí - 43 Scotch Street, Armagh
Classes commence on Monday 4th September
For more information phone 028 37518288 or e-mail

FEES FOR 2017 – 2018

SEMESTER ONE September to December 2017

One student (adult or child) - £100

Two students - £175

Three students - £225

Family Membership - £275

Fees are payable at the beginning of each semester.

Family membership is for members of the same family only, i.e. parents / children.

Fees include access to weekly classes, monthly sessions, FonnFriday concerts, Carol Service. They do not include admission to WKPF concerts, Burns Night, purchase of tin whistles, replacement of strings or reeds, instrument loans or deposits.

The Armagh Pipers Club Education Programme is generously supported by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland and Armagh, Banbridge & Craigavon Council.


APC holds its Monday classes (adults and children) in St. Patrick’s Grammar School and Wednesday classes (adults only) in Áras na bPíobairí. There is a short introductory Singing Class from 6.30 to 7 on Mondays for children aged from 4 to 8. The fee for this is £1, payable each week.

From 7.00 to 7.55pm, there are Beginner/Junior classes for Whistle, Fiddle, Flute, Banjo, Accordion, Concertina, Harp and Pipes. We recommend that all pupils play whistle for at least a year before beginning another instrument Also at 7pm: Advanced Singing class and Advanced Guitar Accompaniment (DADGAD) which is only for pupils who already play a melody instrument to at least Grade 4 level.

From 8 to 9pm there are Intermediate/Advanced classes for Whistle, Fiddle, Flute, Banjo. Accordion, Concertina, Harp & Pipes, as well as a Junior Singing Class and a Mixed Instrument Adult Session Class. All pupils may attend two classes as long as they are scheduled at different times, keeping in mind that this will involve double practice time at home.

Additional Classes for Adult Whistle/Flute and Fiddle beginners take place on Wednesday nights at 7pm in Áras na bPíobairí.


The Session is an essential part of the traditional music scene. Once a month all APC pupils come together with at least one parent and play their tunes in a convivial and relaxed atmosphere. The first half (7 to 8pm) caters for Beginners and Junior musicians, with simple tunes played at an easy pace. We take a break for tea at 8 and each family is asked to bring along some biscuits or cakes while we supply tea, coffee and juice. From 8.30 until 9.30 the Family Session is for Intermediate/Advanced players. All parents who play music are welcome to join in the Session.


As well as learning music in the Classes and the Session, FonnFridays are concerts with invited guests, giving learners an opportunity to hear live music played by some of the best musicians and singers in Ireland. The following day Masterclass workshops are offered to APC pupils. This is a truly exceptional opportunity, and attendance at FonnFridays will help pupils to understand musical styles, increase their repertoire and learn from some of the greatest musicians the traditional world has to offer.


Beginning Monday 24th April we have developed a new programme replacing normal instrumental and singing classes, in which APC students, as well as general members of the public, will be able to choose to learn new and different aspects of traditional music, some practical and technical, others research based or creative and exploratory. The following are examples of which the students can choose from:

Senior Classes:

a) Performance skills workshops – these to include arranging music/song for a group/learning how to set up and effectively use PA systems/learning how to sit on stage and engage with the audience

b) Piping Classes – intensive regular pipe maintenance and reed making classes. This could lead to apprenticeships within our piping making workshop

c) Workshops – to include composition only

d) Heritage project – developing the on-going heritage project, researching their family’s musical traditions and traditions of their locality

e) Collaborations – developing new collaborative links with i) Duncairn Arts and Cultural Centre ii) National Piping Centre, Glasgow iii) World Music Centre, Limerick University

Junior Classes:

a) Learning about, and trying, new instruments

b) LCM Exams – preparations for LCM exams

c) Performance – composing and rehearsing a musical play to include songs, tunes and dances to be performed for parents and teachers from local Primary Schools

d) Schools Outreach Programme – prepare a group of young musicians to tour local schools at the invitation of the school’s principal to promote interest on learning traditional music and songs to show what very young children can achieve through attendance at Armagh Pipers Club classes

e) General Music Making – organise regular children’s sessions and source performance opportunities


APC encourages pupils to take LCM graded exams. These are offered three times each year by London College of Music and provide an objective measure of musical progress. Check the Calendar for the closing dates for entries. Marks achieved in higher grades are accepted by UCAS for University entrance points.


Pupils should have their own instruments and tin whistles can be purchased at the class. If you need advice on instrument purchase our teachers will be able to help you.

APC has a small stock of pipes, harps, flutes, fiddles & accordions which may be borrowed by students for a year. Priority will be given to pupils who are already in APC and who have shown ability and commitment. There is a charge of £20 per academic year for the loan of an instrument. If you borrow pipes or harp there will be an additional £50 deposit which is refundable at the end of the year on return of the instrument.


You will receive e-mailed Newsletters each month regarding forthcoming activities and general information. It is vital that parents and pupils read the Newsletters and are aware of what is happening in the Club. Please ensure that you include an up-to-date e-mail address on your Registration form.

Classes will begin on September 5th and you will find all dates for the first Semester on your Calendar. On Sept 5th all pupils should come directly to the Lunch Hall where they will meet their teacher and be brought to their classroom. The Lunch Hall is also available between 6.30 and 9 for pupils to do homework and parents to wait for their children. We do not allow parents to sit in classes unless they are registered as pupils in those classes. Pupils should arrive on time for their classes and be collected promptly when lessons are finished. We are indebted to St. Patrick’s Grammar School for the use of the school - therefore all classrooms, toilets, Lunch Hall etc must be left as we find them e.g. if desks are moved they must be returned to their original positions. We expect the highest standard of behaviour from all pupils – if children cause disruption in our classes, we will ask you to remove them from the Pipers Club.

Parents must ensure that children practise at home. Practice times should be 10-15 minutes each day for beginners and increase to an hour+ for Grade 6/8 level. Pupils are expected to learn their tunes off by heart so that they can play them from memory. When they have memorised their first 5 tunes they are rewarded with a certificate.

Brian and Eithne can be contacted at e-mail: or by telephone at: 028 37511248 / 078 51016700 Eithne Vallely (Director of Music)