Learn to play the bagpipes so well, they'll feel like an extension of yourself.

A Dojo University 'Core' Course: The "Bagpipe as an Extension of Your Self" Beginner's Tutor

In this 5-part, 16+ hour course you'll learn everything you need to know to master the simple, objective building blocks of all bagpipe tunes.

Course Details
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Learn to play the bagpipes with our proven, easy, step-by-step bagpipe fingerwork course for beginners

Want to learn how to play the bagpipes?

Perhaps you're eager and curious to get started, but have no idea where to begin.

Or maybe you've asked around online or with pipers or bands in your area, and felt a bit overwhelmed with the often-conflicting suggestions and advice about how to get started.

Or maybe you've already given the pipes a try on your own or with a band or tutor, but things haven't exactly gone to plan...

Unfortunately, these are really common problems with the way bagpipes are taught around the world.

Generally speaking, the piping world has an antiquated master-to-apprentice system of learning that rarely works unless you've been lucky enough to chance upon a great master – which is about as likely as like winning the lottery.

Unfortunately, most aspiring pipers aren't taught by masters – they're taught by well-intentioned pipers with limited musical knowledge, who pass on what they can, but can't give you the whole picture because they don't have it themselves.

Plus, when you learn from a standard tutor book, it requires a teacher to be in the room with you to fill in the gaps of knowledge that can't be found in the text. What if you, like most learners, don't have that luxury?

That's where our in-depth, online course – where you'll be supported with regular feedback from world champion pipers and a network of thousands of other students around the world – can help you build the essential bagpipe fingerwork fundamentals you'll need to be a great piper.

And best of all? You don't need any musical knowledge at all to get started.

We're going to teach you how to play the bagpipes, from scratch, and with a comprehensive, proven approach that will have you playing bagpipes in no time at all...

If you love the sound of the bagpipes, it's because of the amazing music that can be produced on this rich, diverse, complex, beautiful instrument.

All bagpipe tunes have four simple 'layers' every beginner should understand.

They're logical, pretty simple, and tie directly into universal musical concepts...

Therefore, when we set out to learn the bagpipes, we should be setting out to learn the basics of producing amazing music!

So what are the essential components to creating great music on a bagpipe?

How are they produced?

Where do they differ from other types of instruments and where are they the same?

Well, as it turns out, you only need to understand four essential 'layers' of fingerwork fundamentals in order to create great bagpipe tunes.

That's where this course comes in. We're going to show you how to navigate each layer, and with moderate, diligent practice, they aren't difficult to master.

By the time you've finished the Bagpipe as an Extension of Your Self Tutor Course with us, you'll have developed a keen sense of how to build each of the layers to produce great music out of any tune you attempt.

Starting today, you'll have an interactive beginner's tool to take bagpipe learning into your own hands and control your own musical destiny!

Let's dive into the details.

Pssst... are you brand new to the idea of learning the bagpipes? 

Let's cover some of the basics together...

When you're first getting started it can seem a bit overwhelming to know where to begin, so here are some of the very basic things you need to know if you're a total piping newbie:

  • You don't need any musical background at all to learn to play the bagpipes with us. 
  • The only instrument you'll need to work your way through this online course is called a practice chanter (plus a computer and an internet connection, of course!).
  • A practice chanter is an instrument in its own right – similar to a recorder you might have played at school, but it has a reed and uses the same fingering to make the notes that we'll play on the bagpipes themselves. 
  • Practice chanters are a quieter way for bagpipers to learn proper fingering techniques, scale navigation, and rhythmic accuracy (you're welcome, neighbors!). 
  • All bagpipers learn to play on a practice chanter, and continue to use them for, well, practice, even after they have transitioned to the full bagpipes. 
  • You don't need to rush out to buy a set of bagpipes, because it usually takes between 3 and 12 months (depending on how much time you invest and how quickly you progress) of learning fingerwork, technique, rhythm and tunes on a practice chanter before you’ll transition to a set of bagpipes – and don't worry, we have a course that can help guide you through that as well!

Be very wary of cheap and imitation instruments when buying your first practice chanter or set of bagpipes.

Unless you're buying from a reputable maker or supplier – and as a new piper, it can be hard to know who they are! – you may be buying what are often called 'eBay' chanters or bagpipes (they're called nastier names than that too). These are usually very cheap, mass-manufactured instruments, made from rosewood or another soft wood, that often have poor machining of finger holes and sound chambers and will rarely play properly. 

Unfortunately online commerce sites like eBay, Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist, Gumtree, and others are flooded with these inferior instruments. 

They're also usually priced just high enough that a layperson you might think they're legitimate – for context, a well-made practice chanter usually starts at around $80–100 (USD) and bagpipes usually start somewhere around $1000 for a basic set, not the $200–300 sets with light-coloured timber and a tartan bag that you often see on these sites. They will look great as a wall decoration, but you won't get far with learning how to play using them!

If you speak to your local pipe band or other pipers in your area, they may be able to recommend you a decent local supplier for your practice chanter.

Otherwise, if you're not sure what make or model to get, drop us an email at [email protected] and we can assist you with a few suggestions. 

Lastly - don't hesitate to purchase this course today. You can take some time reviewing the course content as you work on the logistics of acquiring a practice chanter. 

What You'll Learn in This Course

The Four Layers of Every Bagpipe Tune

Bagpipe music is like all other music. 

We need a way to produce our melody notes and our rhythms. We need a way to articulate our melody notes and rhythms to make things expressive and interesting. We need a way to embellish and texture our melodies so that they're fun to listen to. 

The "Bagpipe as an Extension of Your Self" Tutor Course breaks down these essentials into their 4 basic "layers," and we carefully, patiently, objectively work through each layer with you, making sure we leave no musical stone unturned!

How Does Our Bagpipe Music Relate to "Real" Music? 

In this beginner's course, we'll spend time carefully studying exactly how each element of bagpipe music-making relates to essential "real-world" musical concepts. Great music should have melody, rhythm, articulation, dynamics – and guess what? Pipers have tools to produce all of those things!

It's important that you develop each of the essential tools as you venture down the road of becoming a piper.

What do we want? TUNES! When do we want 'em? NOW!

By the end of Chapter 1 (yes, you read that right) of our tutor, we'll already be learning classic tunes that are fun to play. Of course there are some fundamental exercises that we'll need to get through to make it there, but we try to fill our course with as much actual music-making as possible, as soon as possible! 

By the end of Chapter 2, we'll have complete bagpipe tunes under our belt. And, by the end of Chapter 4, you'll be amazed to already be able to play as many as 20 classic bagpipe tunes (including some up-tempo dance music)!

How to Learn Faster and Better

Patience will be a great virtue when learning the pipes, but efficiency will be one of our main points of focus. We don't want to beat our heads against the wall, struggling to learn. We want to be focused, with a clear mission at hand each and every time we set out to do something.

Our Tutor uses a variety of techniques and tools to help you learn as efficiently as possible (and to help you learn how to learn more efficiently).

If you're ready to sky-rocket into your piping career as soon as possible, nothing should hold you back!

Learn To Play the Bagpipes – So Well, They'll Feel Like An Extension of Yourself!

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“The Piper's Dojo Tutor is an extremely effective and comprehensive resource, both for people learning on their own and for people learning the basics from established players."

“As a new piper I was introduced to the practice chanter with the Green Book and Archie Cairns’ tutor.

"While both have their value, the Dojo Tutors’ combination of well-thought-out approach, communication style and video learning made picking up the chanter a much more rewarding experience."

Sue Kennedy
Nevada, USA

“The success of improvement builds on my desire and I look forward to the time of day I get on my pipes!"

“I've been piping for 30 plus years and struggling along the way. The Dojo U method works! My family and pets have seen and heard the improvement in my piping! That as been the best kind of feedback for me. The success of improvement builds on my desire and I look forward to the time of day I get on my pipes! Thank You Dojo!"

Tim Gunn
Washington State, USA

“I am a retired teacher and I believe this method of teaching bagpipes is an excellent way for anyone to learn to play this amazing instrument.”

"I worked my way through the Dojo Tutor and having previously been mainly self-taught with the help of the Green Book, I started over again from the beginning, carefully completing every lesson. 

"My piping and musical knowledge improved a great deal. The Dojo method of skill building and the theory behind it is devised and delivered by Andrew and supported by many other excellent instructors. 

"I have recommended this course to a number of people who are interested in learning to play the bagpipes."

Elizabeth Ghent
Ontario, Canada

Module 1

Melody and Basic Rhythm

  • Lesson 1-1: Practice Chanter Basics
  • Lesson 1-2: The Scale
  • Lesson 1-3: Scale Run Exercises
  • Lesson 1-4: Simple Melodies Using Scale Runs
  • Lesson 1-5: Arpeggio Exercises
  • Lesson 1-6: Simple Melodies Using Scale Runs and Arpeggios

Module 2

Introduction to Gracenotes

  • Lesson 2-1: G Gracenote Scale in Quarter Notes
  • Lesson 2-2: Scale Runs with G Gracenotes
  • Lesson 2-3: Arpeggio Exercises with G Gracenotes
  • Lesson 2-4: Simple Melodies with G Gracenotes
  • Lesson 2-5: Simple Bagpipe Tunes with G Gracenotes
  • Bonus - Public Service Tunes with G Gracenotes

Module 3

Supporting Gracenotes

  • Lesson 3-1: D Gracenotes
  • Lesson 3-2: D Gracenote Combinations
  • Lesson 3-3: D Gracenote Exercises
  • Lesson 3-4: D Gracenote Melodies
  • Lesson 3-5: Taps and Strikes
  • Lesson 3-6: Melodies with Taps and Strikes
  • Lesson 3-7: Melodies with All Supporting Gracenotes
  • Lesson 3-8: Prelude Versions of Common Bagpipe Tunes
  • Bonus - Public Service Tunes with Supporting Gracenotes
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Module 4

Embellishments (Part A)

  • Introduction to Embellishments
  • Lesson 4-1: Type A Embellishments
  • Lesson 4-2: The E Gracenote and "Power Trio"
  • Lesson 4-3: Simple Melodies with Doublings
  • Lesson 4-4 (A): Our first Low G Oriented Movements
  • Lesson 4-5 (A): Your First Fully Embellished Bagpipe Tunes
  • Embellishment Appendix
  • Bonus - Public Service Tunes Fully Embellished

Module 5

Embellishments (Part B)

  • Lesson 4-4 (B): Completing Low G Oriented Movements
  • Lesson 4-5 (B): Completing the Must Know Classic Bagpipe Tunes
  • Lesson 4-6: Introduction to Strathspeys and Reels
  • Bonus - More Public Service Tunes Fully Embellished
  • Embellishment Appendix
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New! Optional 220-page Companion Workbook With Purchase

Amazing news! Our tutor now comes with an optional 220-page companion workbook, shipped to your door wherever you live in the world! Features:

  • 220 pages mirroring the world's best beginning bagpipe tutor!
  • All sheet music from the online tutor course.
  • Comprehensive explanations to reinforce the online course content, throughout the workbook.
  • Instructor feedback tools on each and every exercise.
  • Areas for ample note-taking!
  • Coil-bound for easy use on a table top or music stand.

Receive the workbook with purchase – it's just $29 additional plus shipping.

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Just $49


The 'Bagpipe as an Extension of Your Self' Tutor Course

  • 5 Core Modules
  • 50+ Video Lessons
  • PDF Lesson "Handouts"
  • Tune-building play-along videos with each and every tune
  • New! Optional 220-page Companion Workbook
  • Retention quizzes after each module

Course Details

Tuition: $49

Level: Beginners (or, those who know they should begin again).

Setting: Online/Virtual + Workbook

Course Length: 15–20 Hours

Expected Completion Time: 1–3 Months


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 you begin on this exciting journey to becoming a bagpiper... 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

Learn To Play the Bagpipes – So Well, They'll Feel Like An Extension of Yourself!

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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.