Table of Contents 

Welcome Page 5 

Introduction: The Practice Chanter; The Reed Page 6 

Section 1: The Names of the Notes Page 8 

Section 2: Learning to Play The Top (Left) Hand Notes Page 12; Hear the London Police Car Page 16; I Can Learn To Play A Tune Page 16; Everybody Learns To Play Page 18; Hot Crossed Buns (Top-hand Version) Page 19; Rhythm Page 20; Leaving Lewis (One-hand Version) Page 25. 

Section 3: The Bottom (Right) Hand Notes Page 26; D-C-D-C Exercise Page 29
Can You Play Some Right Hand Notes?  Page 29 C-B-C-B Exercise Page 31;B – Low A Exercise Page 32; Can’t Make the Low G Note?  Page 33 

Section 4: Moving Back Up The Chanter Page 35; Can You Cover All the Holes? Page 35; I Can Play Low G Page 35; I Can Play C-B-A-G Page 36; Do You Want to Hear a Bagpipe Tune?  Page 36; Hot Crossed Buns (Bottom Hand Version) Page 37;

The Complete Bagpipe Scale (Ascending) Page 37; The Bagpipe Scale – Up and Down Page 39; This E-D-E Is So Funny! Page 39; E-High A Exercise   Page 40;

D-High G Exercise Page 41; Down Two, Up One Page 42; When First I Heard My Teacher Playing Page 43. 

Section 5: Gracenotes Page 44; Triplets Page 46; Change of Note With a Gracenote Page 47; Gracenotes Can Make a Tune Page 52; Hot Crossed Buns (With G Gracenotes) Page 53; Zachary Can Play This Tune Page 54; Kieran Likes to Play This Tune Page 54; Strikes, Echo Beats Page 55; If I Could Learn a Brand New Tune Page 56; If I Sat Down to Play a Tune  Page 56; This Old Man Page 57; London Bridge Is Falling Down Page 57; Mary Had a Little Lamb Page 58; Happy Birthday Page 59. 

Section 6: Some Music Theory Page 60; Duration Page 60; Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star Page 62; Using Dots Page 63; Leaving Lewis (Intermediate Version) Page 65;

The Treble Clef Page 67; Key Signatures Page 68; Time Signatures Page 69; Michael Row Your Boat Ashore (4/4 Time) Page 69; Michael Row Your Boat Ashore (2/4 Time) Page 70; Low G Strike Page 70; Tempo Page 71; Simple and Compound Time Page 71; Fairy Lullaby Page 73.

Section 7: Throw On D Page 74; The Light Throw On D Page 75; The Heavy Throw On D Page 75; Charles Baldner Page 79; Changing Notes With E Gracenotes Page 79.

Section 8: Doublings Page 80; Double High A Page 81; Double High G Page 83

Half Doubling Page 84; Double F Page 87; Thumb Gracenote Page 88; Thumb Doubling Page 89; Double E Page 90; Double D Page 92; Double C Page 93; Double B Page 94; Double Low A Page 95; Double Low G Page 96. 

Section 9: Slur On D and The Birl Page 97; The Brown Haired Maiden Page 98; The Birl Page 99; The Birl Song (1) Page 101; The Birl Song (2) Page 102; The Fair Swan Page 103; Ken Thornton Page 104. 

Section 10: Tachums and More Tunes Page 105; Kenmore’s Up and Awa’ Willie  Page 106; Corriechoillie’s Welcome to the Northern Meeting Page 107; Amazing Grace Page 108; Brother James’ Air Page 109; Iain Millington’s Christmas Visit Page 110; McKenna’s Ceilidh Page 111.

 Section 11: Grips and Taorluaths Page 112; Grips Page 112; Gertie MacPherson’s March Page 114; Taorluaths Page 115; The Skye Boat Song Page 118; MacPherson’s Rant Page 119; Keah’s Wedding Page 120; Scotland The Brave Page 121; Aspen Bank Page 122; The High Road to Linton Page 122.


Acknowledgements Page 123


The Author            Page 124



             Welcome to the wonderful, fun-filled world of bagpipe music! You are about to embark upon a musical journey that has been a source of enjoyment and pride for countless thousands of people, young and old, not only from Scotland, the home of the Great Highland Bagpipe, but from all over the world.  

All you need is a good practice chanter with a reed, a willingness to learn your lessons, time to practice what you are being taught, and patience, for you will not learn to play the bagpipes overnight. The late Seumas MacNeill, Principal of the College of Piping, Glasgow, Scotland once said, “The policy… has always been to ‘hasten slowly’, taking the view that when God made time he made plenty of it, and that it is more important to get all the basic work correct than to rush ahead learning lots of new things.” This should be your policy too as a learner who wishes to become a very good bagpipe player. 

This program is designed especially for use with young learners, but it can be used to good advantage by learners of all ages.  It is preferable that you have regular weekly lessons with an experienced teacher who will guide you through the program and check to see that you are learning correctly, but not all piping ‘wannabees’ have access to an instructor full time. This program should be of help to you as an independent learner, but you should try to have your progress checked by experienced players or teachers at frequent intervals if that is at all possible.  

You must learn many things on the practice chanter before you will be ready to play the bagpipes. If you practice what you are being taught for fifteen minutes every day, you will learn well, but if you can find half an hour to practice, you will master skills and tunes even faster. As you progress through the lessons in this tutor book, you will learn many things that need to be rehearsed often. Repetition is necessary when learning anything new. By the time you are ready for the bagpipes, you might be practicing an hour and more every day!  

But that is for later. Right now, stick to your lessons and practice daily as much as you are able and you will find that the music will come very quickly.


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