practice chanters are durable with good tone. A combination plastic mouthpiece top andwooden chanter body can sometimes be the best of both worlds.
Some practice chanters offer counter sunk finger holes, making it easier to feel where the holesare. The holes also feel larger which is similar to the finger holes on a bagpipe chanter. Somemanufacturer’s chanters are quieter than others. Some makers offer water traps.
Your instructor will likely have a tutor book they prefer to teach from. If you are trying toteach yourself, there are many good options. The College of Piping Centre Volume 1Book, or “Green Book” as it if often referred, comes with a CDROM. It is a good tutor book to start with as it begins with the very basics, assuming no prior knowledge or musical experience by the student. This allows the student to start in on it alone. It isstructured so that the student piper can learn one lesson a week, making a complete courseof just over six months. It explains all of the required first movements and when used inconjunction with the audio and video files on the CDROM, gives the student maximum benefit.The National Piping Centre Tutor Book also contains rudimentary information and is avery good resource for someone who wants to learn on their own. It i
ncludes a CDROMwith step-by-step guide to supplement book as well as an appendix that talks about the bagpipein comparison to other instruments for those individuals who have previous musicalknowledge.Bagpipe Solutions are 7 highly detailed volumes from world class piper John Cairns. The first3 volumes cover the practice chanter and the following 4 are for the bagpipes. Each volume isaccompanied by a CD. They contain in-depth material on all aspects of piping includingtheory, maintenance, tone, tuning, band and instrument drill, technical playing, reading music(time and rhythm), the wearing of highland dress, music instructional training, bagpipe historyand ear training.
It is strongly recommended that you get an instructor as the Bagpipes are a complicatedwind instrument.
Bad posture, poor fingering techniques, and poor tuning can be easilycorrected with an instructor but difficult to learn after poor habits set in.When finding an instructor, consider what your goals are and find an instructor to match themwhether it is for competition, fun, or piobaireachd (pronounced “pee brock”, which is the“classical music” of the bagpipes). Depending on what
goals are, your instructor’smethods may or may not be a good fit. Inquire what grade level your potential instructor is (or was) and if he/she has ever competed. You should ask how long he/she has been piping andteaching, how many students he/she currently has, if he/she can provide you a list of referencesof his/her students for you to contact, and the cost.