Piping Tuition

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How to get started
A series of videos, available on YouTube, were created by Maureen Davison and Nick Leeming to help absolute beginners, especially those starting without the benefit of an experienced piper to help them.  The tuition books by John Liestman (See how to get a copy by from Evans pipes below) and Richard Butler (available from his website ( are good, and the videos are intended as an additional aid to the beginner.  
Note also that the method of getting started is not the only 'method': it follows that recommended by Richard Butler, of starting with the drones first.  Other teachers prefer starting with the chanter.  This can work well if you have a teacher with you, but it has a significant disadvantage for the beginner in isolation.  The chanter reed is much more sensitive to pressure than the drone reeds.  The 'chanter-first' advocates claim this is an advantage in that it shows the beginner how to keep a very steady pressure (whereas drones are more forgiving and will show less variation in pitch with pressure changes).  However, this sensitivity can quickly result in an absolute beginner subjecting the chanter reed to excessive pressure, which can close the reed, and stop it sounding.  The chanter reed may need require expert help to reset it and  can even be permanently damaged.  Far better for the beginner in isolation to start with the drones and try to not sound the chanter until they can hold a reasonably steady pressure with the drones.  Another disadvantage in starting with the chanter is that people tend not to use the drones later on.  This is particularly the case for those who can already read music and play other instruments, and those playing in groups.  If you always play with others, this might not be noticeable, but you will never make a good solo piper if you can't use the drones.
For help with tuning the drones, I advise complete beginners to go to Rob Say’s website where he has a clever electronic simulator that helps you .  You may need to download some software, but the website helps you do this.  Very clever stuff.  
John Liestmans Tutor is available as a PDF download, in return John has asked that you place a donation of at least 12 pounds to Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders - You can gift aid it as well if you are in the UK to help even more. 
Once you have done this, please contact Richard and Anita Evans via Email.   and they will provide you with access. 
You tube Videos
There are eight videos.  You can either click on the links or if you search for 'Northumbrian piping basics' they should come up.


No.2  handling bag, drones and chanter with posture advice -



No.3 bag pressure -
No.4 drone tuning to each other -
No.5 drone tuning to chanter -
No.6 basic chanter technique and scale –



No.7 packing away the pipes  -
No. 8 packing the bellows and correct storage -



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