Bob McMichael is currently accepting new students in the Boise, Idaho area, and via Skype to students outside Boise. To schedule bagpipe lessons or for more information, please contact Bob at

The standard rate per lesson is $30 for one hour at the Piping Centre or via Skype. For lessons at other locations, such as your home, rates will vary depending on distance from the Piping Centre (which is located, fittingly, in the Highlands of Boise just off Bogus Basin Road).

Beginning instruction overview:

soldiers playing bagpipe practice chanters

For students new to the bagpipes, regardless of whether you have any experience on another instrument (which does help), all students begin on the practice chanter (pictured at left). After acquiring a certain degree of competence on the practice chanter students are ready to move to the Great Highland Bagpipes. This is a difficult transition even for the best and most gifted students, and requires a serious commitment to the instrument (not least because a decent set of bagpipes will cost over $1,000).

Bob can assist any student in selecting a decent set of new or used bagpipes, as well as offer suggestions on where to purchase them. If you already have a set of bagpipes but have not played them, he can evaluate them and help you set them up and get them into good playing condition.

Learning to play the bagpipes is one of Bob's most satisfying achievements. Teaching others and sharing his passion for the instrument and its incredible music and culture is equally gratifying. Bob's only regret is that he did not learn them at an early age.

If you've been thinking about learning the pipes, there is no time like the present!

Getting Started

There are a few items you'll need to get started learning how to play the bagpipes. There are many on-line stores offering bagpipe supplies and books. I have had the best service from and recommend Henderson's.

The College of Piping Highland Bagpipe Tutor, Volume 1.
This link is a package that includes the "Green Book" beginning instruction book and CD, a quality practice chanter, two reeds, and a case for the chanter.

Blank music manuscript book.
A crucial part of learning to read music and understanding what makes bagpipe music different is to write out exercizes and tunes in a blank manuscript book. You can get these at any music store, or at the link which goes to an inexpensive book available from

Rhythmic Fingerwork book and CD by Jim McGillivray. This is optional for the absolute beginner, but any student of the bagpipes will need this book eventually. It is the "bible" for developing good technique on the Great Highland Bagpipes. Any student that gets beyond the first few lessons in the "Green Book" will be assigned exercises from Rhythmic Fingerwork.