I was perusing the Bob Dunsire Forums and saw this as a topic in the “Beginners” section. As I am not allowed to post anything that might be construed as selling my own business, I have decided to address that issue here.
I sell a lot of “Bagpipes for Beginners” kits. There is a market for people who want to teach themselves. It’s like gravity. I’m not going to fight and argue with them. I make a living teaching those people when they burn out in their 20’s and come back in their 40’s finally admitting that they can’t do it alone.
I think the real question is not whether it is possible or not, but how much time are you willing to sacrifice to reach the goal. You can definitely teach yourself. The question is do you want this to be a 2 year project or a 20 year project before you can enjoy the benefits of being a bagpiper.
There are two different approaches to bagpipe education: The Classical Method and the Folk Method. Personally if someone is going to invest their money with me, I want them to have a return on that investment. That means that in 2 years or less, they should be on pipes and able to sight reed any tune that is put in front of them. Why? Because the goal in my humble opinion of lessons is not to pay a teacher for the rest of your life to learn new music. The goal of lessons is to become independent. A lot of this instrument is still taught like other Folk Instruments, by imitation. The problem in the long run is that you become dependent on someone else forever.
If you want to have faster results, it is worth paying someone to teach you and be willing to practice every day.
Good luck.