Q: How long does it take to learn to play the bagpipes?
A: It really depends on the person, how much time you put into practice, prior musical experience, etc. but on average, someone could be playing a few tunes on pipes or drums within 6 – 8 months.
Q: What would I need to get started?
A: A piper starts on a “practice chanter” which has finger holes in the same positions as a full set of pipes. A drummer starts with a practice pad and sticks. Either investment is around $100. Practice chanters and pads are tools pipers and drummers will continue to learn on after becoming members of the band.
Q: Are bagpipes expensive?
A: A nice set is around $1,200. Of course, the fancier the set, the more expensive! A good used set is an option and can be found for less than $1,000. (The Highlanders have several sets available to loan to new students.) Price is not an indicator of sound quality, PLEASE… speak with an experienced piper before buying your set!
Q: Do I need to have previous musical experience?
A: It helps some people, confuses others! Many pipers and drummers have no previous musical background.
Q: How much practice does it take?
A: A good guideline is an hour per day but it doesn’t need to be done all at once! Several 20 minute sessions in a day can be very effective. If you’re struggling with something, putting your instrument down and coming back later may avoid frustration.