A lot of people think they want to play the bagpipe. How about you? How long have you been thinking about playing this instrument? Are you concerned that you won’t have time to devote to instruction? Are you worried about commitment?
Indeed, the biggest concern for a new student is how to fit playing the bagpipe into their lives.
Playing any instrument is a habit. A habit is something that you do every day. Do you have 15 minutes per day to devote to playing the bagpipe? Most people do. If you can find that 15 minutes every day (and not the last 15 minutes before you go to bed), you could learn to play anything, including the bagpipe.
I suggest that if you carry a phone and you use it for scheduling that you access the calendar feature and make an appointment with yourself so that you can practice each day and get off to a good start.
Do you have $100 to spend on the materials? For $100, you can buy a practice chanter and a book with audio. These are the only tools needed to get started. Don’t buy a set of pipes! You don’t need them yet. These are an educated purchase. Find someone that you know that already plays the bagpipe and let them help you with that when the time comes. The best person to ask is your instructor.
You can teach yourself via various educational materials if you have an unlimited amount of time each week and can’t fit in lessons, or you could hire an instructor. Most instructors will meet with you once per week and teach you how to proceed in your daily practice so that you meet the goals of your teacher as well as your goals.
When hiring an instructor, you usually have the option of making a week-to-week commitment or a monthly commitment. I personally favor the monthly commitment as you can’t bail immediately if you hit a snag. Continuity and consistency will result in solid learning.
Therefore, the secret to playing the bagpipe is that there is really no secret! You simply need to get started! By following the advice above, you’ll be playing your first tune in no time at all.
Gary Guth is a professional bagpiper with over 45 years of playing experience and has been teaching bagpipes full time for the last 20 years. He has written "Bagpipes For Beginners", "the Bagpipe Hymnal", and " A Piper's Christmas".