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 are under way for 2021. Watch for our
announcement about a new course beginning in 2022.
The course consists of 27 classes designed to be held weekly,
and will thus require a period of about six months of attendance and 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.
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 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 $30 at most bagpipe suppliers. The
listings on Amazon are all 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 $50 - 55.
A “practice chanter”, which is a quieter version of the part of the bagpipe that is played with the
fingers. We will have some used practice chanters for sale, and some that can be lent out. If you purchase
a new chanter, it will cost at most $70. 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.
Course for Learning the Great Highland Bagpipe
This is the workbook (not the textbook above) in web page format.
If you are viewing it from Safari on an iPhone, increase the size of the text by clicking the
AA icon at the upper left of the screen. This will
make the text readable and still wrap the lines at the right margin so you won't need to move
the displayed text back and forth as you would a zoomed image. There is a similar adjustment
for other browsers and phones. On a Windows computer, press CTL + as many times
as needed to increase the font. Likewise, CTL - gets you back down to normal.
This is the printable version of the course workbook you will receive from us.
Download this file for printing (45 pages) if you don't have a copy from us.
Get a chanter and the book
Where do I get a practice chanter and the Green Book? Click on this link to go to our SUPPLIES
page for some recommendatons for acquiring them.