Don’t Buy A Bagpipe!

That’s what I said.  You don’t need a bagpipe at the beginning to when you are learning to play this instrument.  You need 3 things:

  • A Practice Chanter
  • A Method 
  • and A Teacher

The Great Highland Bagpipe which is the instrument you are choosing learn consists of the bag, a blow stick, 3 drones and a chanter.  The chanter is the instrument that we play the melodies on.  When starting out to play the bagpipe we use a practice chanter.  The practice chanter is quiet enough for you to learn and practice so that your neighbors won’t be calling the police on you while you are learning.  On this instrument, we teach you to:

  • Read Music
  • Read Rhythm 
  • Develop your breath so that you have enough breath to eventually blow a set of bagpipes.

When you can play a list of tunes on the practice chanter, your instructor will offer you a choice of moving to a Small Pipe or a Big Pipe.  Personally I recommend the Small Pipe to my students before the “big pipe”.  The Small Pipe is easier to blow and easier to develop the “blowing and squeezing” technique needed to play the big pipe.  Because it is easier, they get immediate satisfaction out of playing it.  After that the transition is very simple.  

The big pipe has a variety of components.  The best way to buy the big pipe is from a recommendation by your instructor.  Your instructor knows which products will work the best for you.  Aside from the pipes themselves are the type of bag, reeds, and tools needed to make your bagpipe work.  Your instructor has had experience with these products and will write you a prescription to help make you successful sooner than later. 

Below are 3 products that you could eventually purchase:

  • The Getting Started kit is a practice chanter, a book with audio and 4 30 minute private lessons.  This is the first product I would purchase. 
  • The Kitchen Pipe is a small pipe that is between the practice chanter and the big pipe.
  • The Hardie P01 is an inexpensive poly resin small pipe.  This a great bagpipe for the price set up with the products that I personally recommend.  I wouldn’t purchase this product first.  I would definitely start at step one.