Feel comfortable and confident, every time you play...

A Dojo University 'Core' Course: Transitioning to the Bagpipes

 Featuring a step-by-step, easy to replicate process, Transitioning to the Bagpipes will empower you to be comfortable and confident playing your pipes, no matter how recently you started learning to play.

Course Details
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The only comprehensive guide available for 'graduating' from practice chanter to pipes 


Many aspiring bagpipers around the world will try to transition from a practice chanter to a full set of bagpipes in the next year.

Unfortunately, many will give up in frustration, fail, and quit.

It's sad. It's frustrating for learners, tutors, and bands. And it's bad for the growth of our global piping community.

Let's be honest – the bagpipes can be a difficult instrument. At any one time, they have a lot of moving parts to manage, and traditionally, most bands and instructors have taught in a way that makes the journey from learning fingerwork on a practice chanter to playing on our full instrument... well, way more complicated than it needs to be. 

Here's just a few of the challenges that many players constantly struggle with on the Great Highland Bagpipe:

  • Hemping
  • Oiling
  • Seasoning
  • Tuning
  • Marching
  • Striking in without squeaks, squawks, or double toning
  • Stopping without trailing drones
  • Playing a setup that is too hard to blow
  • Trying to blow steadily
  • Playing with a reed that keeps 'choking out'
  • Not knowing how to tune the chanter and/or drones
  • Frequently 'ruining' reeds
  • Having too much moisture in the bag
  • Struggling to focus on tunes because the pipes are too hard to play...

This list could go on and on. We hear issues like these and many others raised by our students at Dojo University every week in our classes and courses...

If you're just getting started as a piper, this may be a list that you'll be all too familiar with in your future. And if you've been playing for a while... I'd be very surprised if you didn't identify with at least a few items on this list.

Well... it doesn't have to be that way.

Bagpipes are complex, but should never be complicated.

What's the difference? 

Complex = something with a lot of moving parts, which the bagpipe certainly has.

Complicated = something difficult, which requires a high level of skill to operate. 

And, I cannot stress this enough – the bagpipe is definitely not a complicated instrument.

When you break operating a bagpipe down into its components, and sequence the learning process in the right way, feeling comfortable and confident with the instrument is just a matter of time.

There's nothing hard about it. 

Just a few examples...

  • Anyone can cut hemp off of a bagpipe joint and replace it with new hemp.
  • Anyone can cork up a bag to check if it's airtight.
  • Anyone can cork off all chanters and drones, put the pipes on their shoulder, and look in a mirror to observe the quality of their posture.
  • Anyone can open up one drone to begin to learn the skills of steady blowing pressure (although going straight to opening up the chanter here would be a huge mistake). 

These are just a handful of the processes you'll become intimately comfortable and confident with in this course.

The problem with the way most of us currently learn the pipes is that it's disorganized and out of sequence! If you haven't quit yet, you're likely running around, being ordered where and how to play, doing as you're told, playing in bands and doing performances while – let's face it – you're probably utterly confused about how this thing should actually work!

In this course – the only one of its kind in the entire world of bagpipes – we will guide you incrementally through easy-to-follow, easy-to-replicate processes, explained in a way that's simple to understand.

Wouldn't it be nice to feel empowered as a piper?

Knowing exactly how your instrument works, how to troubleshoot issues, how to play it efficiently and comfortably, how to tune it accurately, and how to repeat the processes you've learned and be able to show them to others as well?

Let me show you the way.

What You'll Learn in This Course

7 frustration-free phases to becoming a comfortable, confident piper

Frustration, confusion, and overwhelm are the feelings most pipers have as they try to conquer this beast that is the bagpipe. But it doesn't have to be this way. Finally, over many years of teaching, we've discovered a truly elegant, step-by-step process that gradually (and easily) works our way up to playing a fully functioning bagpipe. These steps are grouped into 7 key phases, and you'll learn them all in due time as you journey through this course.

How to identify and maintain the parts of your pipes, set them up, and reassemble them by yourself

In the mad rush and excitement to learn the pipes, so many of us skip over simple bagpiping tasks that, not having mastered them early on, come back to bite us. We're going to set up (or re-set up) our instrument together in this course, making sure we have all of the 'wee' skills needed to truly love the process of honing-then-playing this great instrument.

Avoid confusion by learning bagpipe skills in the right order

As it turns out, we (and the vast, vast majority of bagpipe learners world-wide) had the order of lessons totally mixed up when it came to learning to play the 'big instrument'. In this course, we show you the right way – and it'll blow your mind just how doable this is for literally anyone.

Actionable exercises for each step of the process

After each lesson, we spend time carefully discussing how to best implement what you've learned to generate efficient improvement. We'll show you extremely simple exercises, which will leverage amazing progress in an amazingly short period of time.

Be Comfortable and Confident with Your Bagpipes Today!

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"In today’s technological age The Piper’s Dojo has created an educational institution where pipers of all levels can obtain much needed instruction. Living in Memphis I am in an area devoid of higher instruction, The Dojo has given me an extremely affordable outlet where I can learn on my time from some of the top pipers in the world allowing my playing to truly flourish"

Ken Hiner, Memphis Tennessee

"The Transitioning to the Bagpipes Course by Dojo University is, simply put, truly exceptional.

It introduces the student to this complex instrument with a rational and logical method, unlike anything we have used in the past."

Dr. John Holcombe, Indiana

Module 1

Assembling Your New Set of Bagpipes

  • Unboxing Your Bagpipes
  • Is your bag already tied on?
  • Assembly Phase 1: Self-Hemping Your Instrument
  • Assembly Phase 2: To Oil Or Not to Oil?
  • Assembly Phase 3: Basic Bag Air-tightness
  • Assembly Phase 4: Tying On New Drone Cords
  • Assembly Phase 5: Putting Your Bag Cover On
  • Assembly Phase 6: Moisture Control Components
  • Assembly Phase 7: Every-day Piping Actions
  • Part 1 Retention Quiz

Module 2

Would You Wear Your Bagpipe in Outer Space?

  • Introduction to Bagpipe Maintenance
  • What Does Bagpipe Maintenance Really Mean?
  • Bagpipe Maintenance Question 1: Is My Bag Airtight?
  • Bagpipe Maintenance Question 2: Are My Joints Airtight?
  • Bagpipe Maintenance Question 3: Are My Reed Seats Airtight?
  • Part 2 Conclusion: We’re now ready to launch!
  • Part 2 Retention Quiz

Module 3

Developing Great Posture

  • Theory: The Principle Behind Great Posture
  • Practical: Working On Our Posture Before We Try to Play
  • Part 3 Retention Quiz
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Module 4

Opening up a Drone: Physical Blowing Mechanics

  • Theory: A perfect, continuous pressure.
    Anatomy of a Drone Reed
  • Opening up 1 Drone, and the 4 'Sound
  • Layers' of a Drone Reed
  • Life with Reeds Going
  • Introduction to Drone Reed Calibration
  • Opening and Closing a Drone Reed
  • Very Basic Calibration of 1 Reed
  • Introduction to the Manometer
  • Bonus – Mega Accurate Calibration
  • Part 4 Retention Quiz

Module 5

Adding More Drones

  • Introduction
  • Opening Up the Bass Drone
  • Calibrating a 2nd drone to the first drone
  • Introduction to Tuning (Throw Away Your Digital Tuner!)
  • Tuning Two Drones to Each Other
  • Recommended: Be a 2-Droner for a While...
  • Part 5 Retention Quiz

Module 6

Marching, Striking In, and Cutting Off

  • Introduction: Key bagpipe 'real world' challenges
  • Introduction to marching
  • Marching with the bagpipes
  • Bagpipe Basic Strike-in technique and mechanics
  • Bagpipe Marching Strike-ins
  • Bagpipe 'Cut-off' technique and mechanics.
  • Cutting-Off Your Pipes 'In Time'.
  • Bagpipe Skills Final Challenge
  • Part 6 Retention Quiz
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Module 7A

Integrating the Chanter (No Drones)

  • Introduction
  • What’s the right strength?
  • “Balancing the Reed”
  • Urgent! Taking the reed in and out of the Chanter Stock
  • Playing Your Bagpipe Chanter and Re-visiting Posture
  • Re-visiting physical blowing mechanics
  • Introducing the Sweet-Spot!
  • Practice: Playing Tunes on the pipes, at the sweet spot
  • Discovery: Mental Blowing Anomalies
  • Revisiting the Strike-in
  • Part 7A Retention Quiz

Module 7B

Chanter with 1 Drone

  • Calibration of One Drone to the Chanter
  • Tuning One Drone to the Chanter (and the 'Blow Trick')
  • Tuning as a continuous process...
  • Reviewing Essential Skills
  • Revisiting the Cut-off
    Exercise: Strike-in, march, and cut-off with several tunes
  • Part 7B Retention Quiz

Module 7C

Chanter with multiple drones

  • Reviewing calibration of one drone to other drones
  • Tuning Other Drones to our First Drone
  • Reviewing Essential Skills...
  • Exercise: Strike-in, march, and cut-off with several tunes, with multiple drones going.
  • Part 7C Retention Quiz
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Just $99


The Transitioning to the Bagpipes Course 

  • 7 Core Modules
  • 30+ Video Lessons
  • Detailed Reference Text to Accompany Each Lesson
  • Quizzes after each module.

Course Details:

  • Tuition: $99
  • Level: Beginner through Advanced (no matter how long you've been playing you'll benefit from a complete bagpipe re-boot!).
  • Setting: Online/Virtual
  • Course Length: 15-20 Hours
  • Expected Completion Time: 1-3 Months (Depending on how hard you work!)

About your instructor

“My name is Andrew Douglas and I'm the founder of the Piper's Dojo and creator of Dojo University, our online learning portal for bagpipers. I'm super excited to be your guide as we drill into some of the most esstential fundamental elements of bagpipe instrument comfort and maintenance... So glad to have you aboard!"

— Andrew Douglas

  • Founder, Creator, and CEO of the Piper's Dojo and Dojo University
  • 2017 & 2019 World Champion with Inveraray and District Pipe Band
  • 2017 Winner of USA Silver Medal for Piobaireachd
  • 2008-2013 Pipe Major of Grade 1 Oran Mor Pipe Band
  • Multi-prize winner, Silver Medals at Oban and Inverness
  • Former Winner of B-Grade Strathspey/Reel at Oban (2004)
  • EUSPBA Adjudicator
  • Certified Teacher and Examiner with the Scottish Qualifications Authority

Frequently Asked Questions

Become Comfortable and Confident with Your Bagpipes!

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Dojo University Is Different.

Yes, you can find bagpipe instruction elsewhere on the internet and in person, but a Dojo University course is unique because it's built and taught by real-world bagpipers who have actually built these courses based on real-world experience (read: successes).

In other words, we aren't people who couldn't do so we made a course instead. We've been in the trenches teaching AND performing - we detest untested theory and believe that the best way to learn something is to roll up your sleeves and get your hands a little dirty. If that sounds appealing, then welcome! In Dojo U you've found your bagpipe home.