Bagpipes are a woodwind instrument using enclosed reeds fed from a constant reservoir of air in the form of a bag. Though the Scottish Great Highland bagpipes are the best known in the Anglophone world, bagpipes have been played for a millennium or more throughout large parts of Europe, northern Africa, and western Asia, including Turkey, the Caucasus, and around the Persian Gulf.

The term bagpipe is equally correct in the singular or plural, though pipers usually refer to the bagpipes as "the pipes", "a set of pipes" or "a stand of pipes

About Bagpipes

Piping and Drumming Exams from PDQB and SQA

Set at SCQF levels 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6, the National Progression Award (NPA) in Scottish Bagpipes provides a progression route for candidates who are learning to play the bagpipes, taking them from beginner stages to an advanced level. This practical-based qualification covers the knowledge pipers need for performing in Scottish pipe bands and offers a consistent approach to the study of bagpipes in Scotland and internationally.

Each level requires 2 modules to be completed.



Tips for learning a new instrument

• Regular (if possible frequent) practise. One of the things that can help is using 5-10 minutes of spare time to fit a quick practise session in. If this is done often you will be surprised at the progress you make.
• Make sure that your instrument is always accessible. Always have it in the place (apart from work or school) where you spend the most time.
• if you do have longer sessions (anything over 30 minutes) try and have a break every 5-10 minutes for beginners or every 20 minutes for more experienced players. A break can be a 5-minute change of exercise or song or an actual break. The reason for the break is to make sure that you can remain focused on your technique and form. The sooner you can play music by employing the correct technique the easier it will become to play and you will improve a lot faster.
• Working on a mixture of exercises to help build correct technique. Also, students that use these shorter periods to work on technical exercises tend to improve faster than the students that work on pieces or songs.
• Learning versions of the songs you want to play that are at your level of ability.
• Have a goal for every time you are on your instrument it will contribute to faster improvement.
• Get a Love2Teach tutor to help guide you through technique and song choice

Fun Facts about learning to play the bagpipes

  • Traditionally, bagpipes were made from the skin of a whole animal, turned inside out, with the pipes attached where the legs and neck would be.
  • Following the 1745 Jacobite rebellion overt signs of highland culture were driven underground, which may have resulted in the suppression of the instrument, although no law explicitly banned it.
  • Before becoming famous in Scotland the bagpipes had been played for possibly thousands of years in Turkey, Asia, Africa, the Persian Gulf and some places in Europe.


Famous Quotes about playing the bagpipes

"Scottish bagpipe has two tenors and one bass - three drone pipes - and then the one chanter. If you put bagpipes together, it creates such a fine sound." Yoshi Wada

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