The Great Highland Bagpipe
Course Outline and Material
This course was written to fulfill a specific need - to guide new piping students, in a group format,
in learning how to play the bagpipe, with the ultimate goal of playing with St. Andrew's Pipes & Drums.
It assumes no prior ability to read music or play an instrument. Classes have been completed for the
2021 - 2022 session. Contact us for the next session.
The course consists of 27 classes, or modules, designed to be held weekly. Our experience
has been that students need more time on some lessons, and jobs, medical issues, and family
priorities get in the way, leading to the course being extended as needed. It may stretch out to a
period of 8 or 9 months. The above link to the COURSE is for registered students only.
The most important part of learning the pipes is your practice at home on
what is known as a “practice chanter”, the instrument we all learned on and continue to use for practice
at home and with the band. After about 16 classes, with a little dedication, you will be able to play many
standard tunes and will be ready to acquire and begin playing the bagpipe.
You must be prepared to spend a half hour to one hour EVERY DAY
if you want to play the pipes by the end of the course.
In spite of its length, this is an accelerated course. Most teachers will tell you that it takes a year or two
to become proficient on the pipes. We plan to teach the simple band tunes of St. Andrew’s (SAP&D),
practice together as a group, and get you “on the pipes” in 16 to 24 weeks.
The initial investment is small - students will need these 3 items:
The Course for Learning the Great Highland Bagpipe workbook. SAP&D will provide,
free of charge, a printed copy of this workbook.
The Highland Bagpipe Tutor Book 1 as a textbook. Known as the “Green Book“,
we will follow its lessons for the course. It is published by The National Piping Centre in Scotland.
Make sure you get the 2019 or later edition. It goes for about $35 at most bagpipe suppliers. The
listings on Amazon or eBay are often older versions.
Note: Do NOT buy The Highland Bagpipe Tutor Book: A Step by Step Guide as Taught by the Piping Centre.
That is a more extensive course, and is quite different from ours. That book will be listed at $60 or so.
A “practice chanter”, which is a quieter version of the part of the bagpipe that is played with the
fingers. We may have some used practice chanters for sale, and some that can be lent out. If you want to purchase
a new chanter, prices start at around $85. See Get a chanter and the book below for reliable vendors.
Contact Us Now!
If you want to learn to play the bagpipe and join our band,
fill out our contact form at
SAP&D Contact Us. Please include any experience you have had, what city you live in, and your age
(approximate is fine - we need to know who are school age, young adults, middle age, centenarians, etc.).
We will let you know when our next beginner's course is scheduled. Meanwhile,
you are welcome to stop by Tuesday evenings at our practice hall in Largo.