What Are Grades?

Grades are a way of regulating competition standards for CLASP competitions. Members of CLASP must obtain a grading from the officials in order to compete.
CLASP competition comprises of 3 grades; grade 1 is considered the highest standard of piping within the league, while Grade 3 is the entry level standard. However, Grade 3 is not a grade for learner pipers – some applicants may not achieve this standard when graded.
Competitors will be given a grade for Piobaireachd and/or a grade for Light Music. Competitors do not have to compete in both Piobaireachd and Light Music events and the grade may differ between the two disciplines.
After competing in competitions, members may be re-graded if their standard is considered, by CLASP officials, to be inappropriate for the grade level in which they competed.

Grade 4/ Grade 5 Events

With the addition of Grade 4 online events (March 2021) pipers with a current Northern American grade, will not require to be graded by The CLASP and can compete using their current home association grading.
For pipers who are not currently graded, but feel that Grade 4 event requirements are more applicable to their level, should record according to grade 4 event requirements which are listed here:
However, if the pipers aim is to compete in a higher grade, that should be reflected in the tunes recorded for grading purposes, for example, 4 parted tunes are the minimum requirement for grade 3 Light Music events and upwards. This also relates to the recording the piper submits for a Piobaireachd grading as Grade 3 and upwards requires a full Piobaireachd, but Grade 4 requires The Ground and next variation of a Piobaireachd only. However, ultimately the number of parts played for a grading purposes will not fully dictate the pipers grading outcome. Please note that pipers already graded 5 in North America can opt to play up and compete in Grade 4 CLASP events.

How Do I Obtain A Grade?

There are two ways to be graded. The submission of an MP3 audio recording or Video link via email or an audition.

MP3 Recording or Video Link

Where recordings are submitted via email, playing must be on the bagpipe and should include:

  1. One complete Piobaireachd if you intend to compete in Piobaireachd competitions and require a Piobaireachd grading.
  2. 2/4 March, Strathspey and Reel (Minimum 4 parts each) The March can be played separately from the Strathspey and Reel. This set of tunes will determine an applicant's Light Music grade.

Recordings must be emailed to


Auditions can be arranged by appointment and will normally take place at The National Piping Centre unless an alternative venue can be arranged. To arrange an appointment please email
At the audition you will be asked to play as in 1. and 2. above.

North American competitors who have a grading from any ANAPBA organisation need not apply for a grading and may simply submit their current grading via email to However, The CLASP reserves the right to request a recording from overseas members to check that levels are being aligned between different grading organisations.  Gradings from other overseas organisations will also be given due consideration.
In either case whether you submit an audio/video recording or take an audition you will be advised of your grading within 14 days.

CLASP Grading Process and Appeals

The CLASP Grading Committee is made up of CLASP organisers, Margaret Dunn, Wilson Brown and the National Piping Centre Instructors.
All members of the Committee will have access to the CLASP league table, full results from relevant CLASP competitions, standard sheets submitted by judges, and any relevant recording material submitted by CLASP members.
Factors which the Grading Committee will consider when looking at regrading or appeals:

  • Standard Sheet, filled in by judge, recommending the competitor is above or below the standard of their current grade.
  • Judges comments
  • Performance consistency throughout three or more competitions with large entries
  • High points standing in the CLASP league table

Grading and Appeals Timeline

End of Season (Immediately after Inveraray Highland Games Currently) - The National Piping Centre Grading Committee will meet to discuss members regrading.
Week following the final competition - A full grading list will be released via email to all members.
From release of regraded pipers list - 31st July - CLASP members can appeal the committees decision between these dates only. Members can support their appeal by emailing recordings.
1st week of August - Pipers who have appealed the decision of the grading committee will receive notification on whether their appeal is successful or not.
1st - 14th November - A final window for members to appeal their CLASP grade. Please note that anyone who appealed in the July appeal window should not reapply at this time. The only exception to this rule will apply to a member who receives two recommendations from two different judges, with regards to their standard being above/below the grade they are currently competing in. If this situation occurs, the CLASP Grading Committee will meet to discuss whether the member should be regraded. However, other than this scenario, CLASP will not accept any regrading requests out with the July or November window dates.
End of November - Pipers who have appealed within the November time window will receive notification on whether their appeal is successful or not. Please note that members who move grades midseason, will not be able to retain the points they have accumulated in their old grade. Also, this will not affect other CLASP Members points who may have competed against any regraded members.