Want to become bagpipers? Choose Bag Piping Course

Mar 19, 2021

Learn how to become bagpipers

"For again, I hear you are piping, for I knew the tune so well, you rouse the heart to wander and be free."

With Wild beaches, deep lochs, and romantic castles and tunes playing on the bagpipe, Scotland is truly breathtaking. The British Royals, especially the Queen, wake up on tunes of bagpipes. The Piper of the Sovereign has filled the position in the royal household since 1843. 

King Edward VIII was a proficient player of the Highland bagpipe. He frequently, until his later years, played a tune around the table after dinner, sometimes wearing a white kilt. The mystic and romantic beauty of Scotland cannot complete without tunes on bagpipes. The music lovers' and students' love for bagpipes comes eventually and naturally. 

Often though, Scottish bagpipes are nevertheless an integral part of England, Ireland, France, and in different forms throughout Europe and some parts of the Asian continent. 

An Overview of Bagpipes

Bagpipes emerged as a pastoral instrument because of the availability of material (wood, reeds, and animal skin) in the countryside to shepherds and herdsmen. Many references to the bagpipes are found in art and literature since the ancient period. Today bagpipes have become an integral part of the martial tradition and are associated with marching bands of specific military units. Certain military groups are composed of pipers. Apart from bands belonging to armed forces, bagpipes are seen in groups of schools and bands belonging to other academic institutions. 

It Has Transformed Into a Degree Program

Carnegie Mellon University, first of its kind, offered a study program, bachelor's degree in music. You can get a complete grounding in music as well as specific instructions on the instrument like bagpiping. Students interested in learning to play the bagpipes could enroll in this degree program. Aspiring and skilled students around the world get allured to Carnegie Mellon for its extraordinary well-regarded program in fine arts. It is a perfect home for students who are drawn to this Scottish heritage and are willing to continue playing in a pipe band throughout their undergraduate years.

Carnegie Mellon has its very own Pipes, and Drums band made up entirely of current students and alumni. Bagpiping has been an integral part of the campus life at Carnegie Mellon University since 1939. That's quite a period if you ask me. 

The University of Glasgow is an Alternative

The University of Glasgow provides a unique opportunity for students of Scottish music/piping to study Scottish Culture and heritage combined with an exploration of Scottish music. It gives access to fantastic teaching and a unique chance to experience backstage working with the Piping Live Festival. The National Piping Centre delivers the experience. Additionally, it allows students to continue with their academic work and gain transferable credits to their partner educational institutions and obtain qualifications at undergraduate and postgraduate levels. The National Piping Centre also collaborates with the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and the Universities of Edinburgh and Glasgow.  Royal Conservatoire of Scotland offers a full length four year BA (Scottish Music-Piping) and postgraduate Diploma, Masters and PhD qualifications.

But there are a couple of other Universities abroad which have a partnership arrangement with the Scottish Universities,

Royal Conservatoire of Scotland

Royal Conservatoire Of Scotland homepage

The RCS partners with the National Piping Center to offer piping programs, which allows interested students to pursue a degree in bagpiping. This is in line with the Scottish tradition, which still adores the music culture. With this degree, students can focus on studying all forms of piping depending on what you select when joining the University. Additionally, you will also develop and enhance your skills under some of the best players within the institution. The best of all is that you will have the chance to attend workshops, where you can learn more in small groups. 

Besides knowing the art of bagpiping, you will also learn some history, traditions, contexts, repertoire, which will help you in becoming an expert in what you do. Finally, you will also have a chance to learn and appreciate other traditions. 

You can find out more about Undergraduate BMus with Honours here. Likewise, you can find out more about the Master of Music (MMus) through this link.

University of Edinburgh

University of Edinburgh webpage

Upon joining the University of Edinburgh, you will get an introduction to the history of the Great Highland Bagpipe. Additionally, you will have a chance to learn the essential playing hacks that you can implement fast. This learning will be conducted in weekly sessions, tuition sessions. It is also important to note that you will learn the exodus of bagpiping in its culture, as well as its international setting. Undergraduate Course: The Highland Bagpipe: History, Context, and Performance. Check out this to find out more.

University of Glasgow

University of Glasgow homepage

The University of Glasgow, in partnership with the National Piping Center, has brought forth a unique program that will see more international students join Glasgow University to pursue a degree in piping. This is good news, especially to those international students who have always wanted to learn more about bagpiping.

Once you join, you will have a chance to take credit courses in piping at NPC in line with the program guidelines. With this flexibility, rest assured that you will gain more academic experience, which will allow you to match what you learned at home with what you have been taught while studying abroad.  The best of all is that this program will allow you to develop your bagpipe skills while also enhancing your studies in socio-cultural history and practices, making you learn and appreciate other cultures, as well. 

For bagpipes history, repertoire and performance, feel free to check out more here

Bottom Line

Bagpipers occupy a somewhat sophisticated world, inhabited by devotees and specialists, as well as practitioners. Perhaps not surprisingly, the passion for bagpiping shows no sign of fading and has got globalized in today's world than before. We can probably put forth like it is a fine whiskey, with one small taste, that may hook for life. If you have a passion for bagpiping, follow your "personal legend" by pursuing it. Don't blame yourself later for not following your dream when you have the opportunity today. And because it's something that relies on your interest, there is no doubt that you will succeed. Gor for it, mate


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