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PDQB Examinations

We offer a process to help piping and drumming students have their performance and theory skills officially recognized.

In striving to increase the uptake of piping and drumming in our region, we utilize the framework established by Scotland’s Piping and Drumming Qualifications Board (PDQB). This framework is divided into different piping and snare drumming levels as set out by the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SCQF). The PDQB also has different levels for bass and tenor drumming.

This framework provides curricula for teachers, a way for students to progress in a non-competition based manner, and it provides fully recognized certification to successful examination candidates that could be leveraged for broader educational aims.

How it Works

Step 1: Familiarize yourself with the material

Before moving forward, students (and their teachers) interested in certification should take the time to familiarize themselves with syllabi and test requirements (both theory and performance) for different levels.

Step 2: Express your interest in taking an exam

We will hold two piping examination dates per year (one in the fall, and one in the spring), and drumming examinations once per year and/or when the number of candidates is sufficient.

To proceed, you must first complete an expression of interest.

The forms are available below. The forms will be open in the lead up to specified due dates:

The next deadline for expression of interests will be communicated when a date is determined. Covid-19 has impacted our ability to deliver on the frequency of examinations noted above.

Step 3: Complete the paperwork

Students that have completed the expression of interest will be contacted by the Branch to complete the required candidate paperwork by the specified due date.

Step 4: Prepare!

The onus is on students (and their teachers) to be prepared for both the theory and performance components of the exams for their respective levels.

Step 5: Take the exam

The date and location for examinations will be communicated in advance. Candidates will be asked to pay the associated fee on the day of the exam. Afterward, the facilitators’ assessments will be sent to Scotland for vetting, after which candidates will be informed of their results.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much does it cost to participate?

The price per candidate is:

  • $95.00 for Ottawa Branch members

  • $120.00 for members of other branches

  • $140.00 for non-members


This cost partially offsets both the Branch’s cost of bringing in a PDQB recognized facilitator, as well as the PDQB’s administration fees.

Where will exams be held?

Exams will be hosted at a suitable facility in the Ottawa Branch region.

When will exams be held?

Piping exams will be held twice annually. Once in the fall and once in the spring. Exact dates may vary each year.

When will I know if I passed my exam?

After exams, facilitators’ assessments will be sent to Scotland for vetting, after which candidates will be informed of their results. This process can take a few months. Successful candidates will receive an official certificate thereafter.

What if I didn't pass my exam?

Candidates may begin the process again and make another attempt in the future.

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