Archived Q&A and Reviews
Oddly, my son has expressed interest in learning to play bagpipes. Does anyone have any earthly idea where to take such lessons? And by the way, is it possible to rent a bagpipe(s)? (is it singular or plural?)
piedmont adult school has bagpipe lessons - from www.piedmont.k12.ca.us/pas/music.htm :
N735 BAGPIPES, BEGINNING Ellison Dunlap, Jr. This is an introduction to the great Highland bagpipes. Students will learn the basics of reading music and playing bagpipes by playing a practice chanter, the preparatory instrument for bagpipes. No experience is necessary. As students progress to playing the bagpipes, they will have the option of working with more advanced students in a classroom setting (Wed, 8-9pm) and/or within a pipes and drums band (band practice is Mondays 7-9pm). Very beginning students 7-8 pm, Intermediate students, 8-9pm. WED. RM. 501 PMS. $55.
Katherine (Jan 2000)
... I know that you can get bagpipe chanter kits. Try the music stores in the area (Forrest's, Tupper etc). I've also seen them advertised in catalogs (maybe Signals or Wireless? almost undoubtedly Lark in the Morning, which is a music catalog). You start learning with just the chanter because you can actually practice in the house that way!
Another idea is to go down to the Starry Plough on Monday nights. This is a bar (so I'm not sure your son could go in!), where they hold Irish Dancing and Music every Monday night, starting around 7 and running till everyone is exhausted (usually between 11 and 12 mid). The local Celtic musicians show up to play, and one of them a) might play the uillean pipes (not sure of the spelling--it's pronounced illin, and means elbow pipes--the smaller, Irish pipes as opposed to the larger Scottish ones), or b) might know someone who plays or even gives lessons. The Starry Plough is located on Shattuck south of Ashby, at Prince, I think.
And lastly, the local SCA (Society for Creative Anachronism) branch might have ideas for people to contact about this. (Many's the time I was awakened at a Tourney by some over-enthusiastic piper!) The College of St. Katherine meets Wednesdays on the UC Berkeley campus; contact Liaden (Jennifer Reinhart) at delerium AT uclink4.berkeley.edu, or call 510-981-1774.
My son Ryan decided that he would learn bagpipes a few years ago and there are a number of resources out there. Piedmont Adult school at Piedmont High gives classes. For bagpipe lessons, you will start with a chanter. It's the oboe part of the bags - the pipes. No one starts with bags. The chanter is expensive enough. We got the chanter and book at Forest's music on University. Do go for the more expensive European made chanters. There are cheaper ones made in Asia, which, though acceptable are not as good tone quality. Playing the pipes are difficult. It takes a lot more air and tonguing than most instruments. Each traditional note is preceded by a grace note, so for each note you hear, there is a split second note ahead of it. Did you look in the yellow pages under bagpipes? There are pipers there that can give you names of local teachers. Ned Garrett at 843-4862 was Ryan's teacher, but I don't know if he's available. He was marvelous - patient, kind, understanding, inspiring. Ryan is playing three different instruments in three different bands now and hopes to get back to bagpipes. I love the sound.
My neighbor plays the pipes and said one can learn to play in the Piedmont Adult School. The class is Weds night at 7pm. Call to arrange a visit. Initially you start by buying the book for $15 and a chanter (practice pipe without bags) can be bought for $30 at Lark in the Morning, a great music store in San Francisco (Ghiradelli Square?). Good luck, Jeffrey
A few newsletters ago someone asked for bagpipe lessons. My good friend is a drummer in a fine pipe and drum band. They have done well in competions all over the western US. Here are the names of Bagpipe players from her band who teach lessons. My drummer friend is Barbara Crawford in case they ask who gave the referral.
Janice Richey, 415-898-4840, janice AT well.com
Teri Broadhurst, 415-892-5565, teri AT lmi.net
Annette Huddle, 415-206-0684, ginanet AT igc.org