Tips for learning to play the bagpipes online

Your bagpiping journey can easily commence with only a practice chanter and reed. Below, you’ll find some helpful tips and advice for starting online lessons.

bagpipe lesssons

Getting Started

  1. A Good Quality Practice Chanter
  2. Practice Chanter Reed
  3. Bagpipe Hemp
  4. A Bagpipe Tutor Book
  5. Metronome
  6. Requiements For Online Bagpipe Lessons

A Good Quality Practice Chanter

Before you start playing a full set of bagpipes, you’ll begin with a practice chanter. It’s a smaller, quieter version of the instrument that allows you to learn fingerings and basic tunes. Practice chanters are relatively inexpensive, but it’s important to seek professional advice and invest in a high-quality chanter. This can enhance your learning experience, make it more enjoyable, and facilitate a smoother transition to the full bagpipes.

Be cautious when considering cheaper chanters for sale on platforms like Amazon and eBay, as many of them are virtually unplayable and can severely hinder your learning experience. Remember, a practice chanter is an investment that you’ll use throughout your piping career to learn new tunes and practice at home. If you join a pipe band, you’ll also use it for practice around the table. And if you find playing the bagpipes is not for you, a good-quality chanter should hold its value and be easy to sell on.

Practice Chanter Reed

Bagpipes, as with practice chanters, derive their sound from reeds. It is imperative to ensure that your supplier provides a high-quality reed, such as the Frazer Warnock reed, known for its exceptional performance. With proper care, these reeds exhibit remarkable longevity and maintain a consistently superior tone. Consider acquiring a spare reed as a precautionary measure against any unforeseen mishaps, a prudent investment to sustain the instrument’s optimal performance.

Bagpipe Hemp

Hemp plays a crucial role in the maintenance and assembly of bagpipes, extending to the practice chanter. Its primary function is to establish airtight seals and joints, ensuring optimal airflow and sound production. Although practice chanters have fewer joints than full bagpipes, they may still feature threaded connections that benefit from hemping. Bagpipe hemp can be conveniently sourced online from various bagpipe supply websites, making it readily accessible for maintenance needs.

A Bagpipe Tutor Book

A bagpipe tutor book serves as a valuable resource, offering detailed and concise guidance between lessons to strengthen your understanding of music theory. In addition to aiding comprehension, it provides extra exercises and tunes for independent practice, complementing the material covered by your tutor. One highly recommended tutor book is ‘The Highland Bagpipe Tutor,’ produced by The National Piping Centre, renowned as one of the best resources available.


Using a metronome is highly recommended for learning the bagpipes. A metronome is a valuable tool that helps you develop a sense of timing, rhythm, and consistency in your playing. It’s especially crucial for bagpipers, as maintaining a steady tempo is essential in this musical tradition.

Whether you use a traditional standalone metronome or a metronome app, both can be suitable for bagpipe practice.

Requirements For Online Bagpipe Lessons

For the best experience in online bagpipe lessons, make sure you have a computer, laptop, or tablet with a big screen for better visuals. Also, it’s important to have a separate webcam and microphone if they’re not already built into your device. And don’t forget to have a strong, fast internet connection for smooth communication and top-notch teaching quality.

Presently, Ed’s lessons are conducted via Skype, with the flexibility to explore alternative platforms such as Facetime and Zoom. This adaptability ensures a tailored and professional approach to your virtual learning experience.