Our instructors have extensive experience and have offered bagpipe lessons to many students over the years.
Age is not an obstacle if someone is motivated, although we do recommend children be at least 8 years old to begin taking bagpipe instruction. Many people have taken up the pipes and had bagpipe lessons at mid-life or later. A beginner student does not need bagpipes to take piping lessons. A practice instrument, called a practice chanter, is all that is necessary to begin your bagpipe lessons. We will advise you on what you will need prior to your first bagpipe lesson.
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Answers to some commonly asked questions:
Who can learn to play the bagpipes? The main requirement is a commitment to learn. Learning to play the bagpipe is not any different than any other instrument in this respect. There is obviously practice involved, and the student must be willing to devote some of his/her free time. The result of committing the time and effort can be a satisfaction to play this historical instrument and music, which moves so many of us! A resolve to practice at least thirty minutes a day in the beginning is a great foundation for becoming a bagpiper. More time towards practice will only move the piping student along in a more productive fashion.
Instructor or not? In person or not? Many prospective pipers hope to be able teach themselves to play or to take lessons on-line. The bagpipes are a very unique instrument, as are many of the techniques involved, and can only be best taught in person by an experienced player and instructor. Trying to teach yourself can result in a waste of time and frustration for the learner, and at best the adoption of bad habits that will ultimately have to be unlearned in order to play the bagpipes and the music properly.
Beginners do not start on bagpipes. Students start on a practice chanter. This should be your first purchase.* Bagpipes will not required for an average of 4-12 months, depending on the learning curve and dedication of the student. (*Please do not purchase anything until we have a chance to discuss this, since there are many inferior products for sale, even at seemingly reputable dealers. Bagpipes are so specialized, it is not recommended that you buy your products from other than a recommended bagpipe dealer.)
Practice requirements Learning the bagpipes requires dedication to a consistent practice schedule. Many adult students begin lessons with a lifelong dream of being able to play the pipes, and imagine doing so soon after starting their lessons. That is not realistic; but many folks also fear learning the pipes, having heard it is the most difficult instrument in the world to learn! The truth lies somewhere in the middle. All instruments require the student to practice consistently in order to make progress, but you need not fear learning to play the bagpipes either.
The bagpipes do require your daily attention, and will require the development of stamina and technique which cannot be done with a once a week practice regimen. Initially a minimum of 30 minutes daily working up to practicing the length of your lesson daily. In the end the rewards will be well worth the time.