The NPS owns over 40 sets of Northumbrian smallpipes. Most of these have been donated by members who no longer play them, or by families who have lost a player, and do not wish to use the instruments themselves. The Society is extremely grateful for this generosity, which allows us to offer a hire service.
This hire service is to help beginners try a set, and discover whether the instrument is for them before committing to buy their own set; and also to cover the waiting period whilst a new set is commissioned, or a used set located.
Some of these sets have been donated with requests that they be utilised to assist young people, or those in restricted financial circumstances, so that people who might not otherwise have a chance to play, can in fact do so. The Society does its best to honour these requests.
Most of the sets have keyed chanters, (7 keys are the most common). Some of the keyless simple chanters belonging to the NPS are now on loan to the service providing traditional music teaching in Northumberland schools. A few sets are fitted with small bags and miniature bellows, making them suitable for younger children (six years is the about the lowest practicable age). These are hired either to the children of family membership groups, or to an adult society member for use in schools.
Sets are only hired out to paid-up Society members. They can be sent to anywhere in the UK, and we try to ensure that we put hirees in touch with a local more experienced player so that any small problems can be sorted out easily. When you first play the pipes, it is difficult to know whether any issues are your own mistakes, or something has gone amiss with the instrument.
This hire service is extremely popular, and there are times when there is a waiting list.
We ask that hirees pay quarterly in advance for the hire of pipes that incur a charge.
The present hire charges are:
NPS members: keyless sets £5 per month
keyed sets £10 per month.
Schools: keyless sets £15 per term