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Do you want to learn to play the Great Highland Bagpipes?

Courses by Julia Read

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Full lifetime access

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FREE Grace Note Glossary

bagpipe grace note glossary
learn to play bagpipes, beginner course

1. Beginner Bagpipe Course

"This is very well described and helpful so far

5 stars Bill Meyers, May '21

"I have been teaching myself from youtube, since 1 year ago. Wanted to watch a beginners video to make sure I have been using correct technique especially with gracenotes etc. I have just bought my full pipes so looking forward to the next course I have bought, transitioning to the pipes.

5 stars, Jacqueline Slattery, Apr '21

"So far so good. Clear instructions and fun.

5 stars, Stephen Duncan, Feb '21  

learn to play bagpipes, the tunes all pipers know

2. Learn the tunes most pipers play

Learn to play Scotland the Brave, Skye Boat Song and other well known piping tunes

No need to read music

learn to play bagpipes, transitioning to the bagpipes

3. Transition to the Pipes

"Very helpful

5 stars, David Hinbest, Feb '21

Valuable information, Clear explanations, accurate course description, knowledgeable instructor

4 stars, Chris Fox, Mar '21

learn to play bagpipes, amazing grace on bagpipes

Learn to play Amazing Grace on Bagpipes

Learn the tune from practise chanter through to playing on the full bagpipes, including how to play with a band. 

No need to read music


Teach yourself to become a solo piper...

I was playing the bagpipes at a private wedding function at Hampton Court House a few years ago. Myself and the bride and groom were waiting for the Master of Ceremonies to announce their arrival - the idea being that I was to perform that very traditional role of piping the happy couple to the top table. Well, we were hanging around by the buffet area, just outside the main dining room and the burly chef who was bringing the plates out onto the buffet table came up to me enthusiastically and a bit shyly saying that he'd always wanted to play the bagpipes. He played a bit of guitar but the instrument that he had had a yearning to play all his life was the great highland bagpipes. He just loved the sound and the tradition of them he told me. 

"Well why don't you?", I said. "We are in London and there are loads of pipe bands that would gladly teach you"

"I'd love to, but with this job, working in the kitchens with irregular hours, I just don't seem to be able to make the time. I couldn't commit to a regular band practice for example". 

We would have talked further but at that point the Master of Ceremonies was on the PA announcing "Ladies and Gentlemen would you please be upstanding for the new Mr and Mrs X". Off we went, Scotland the Brave, guests clapping. I got the married couple ensconced at the top table, then piped myself out to The Atholl Highlanders, squeezing past the tables of merrymakers, then cut the pipes off outside the dining room and left them all to it. 

There was my new chef friend still putting out plates onto the buffet table. 

"You know I could create a course on how to play the bagpipes, I've sort of been thinking of doing it. Would that be helpful to you?", I said to him as I sipped the glass of champagne that I'd been offered and nibbled a sausage roll (also offered to me, I don't raid the buffets of my customers!)

And that is how these courses came about. My new chef friend agreed that an online video course would be perfect. He could dip in and out when he wanted. Then when he got a bit more proficient, he would have the skills to play for friends at key events like Burns night or New Year's Eve.

That gave me the focus for my courses and so I concentrated on creating courses that: 

  • accelerates learning by focusing on tunes rather than exercises

  • enables self-learning, without the need for a teacher in person

  • gives students the skills to become a solo piper 

  • empowers students to start gigging by teaching tunes that are relevant at key events - Hogmanay, Burns night, weddings, funerals

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