How to learn to play the bagpipes
First buy a practice chanter. It is:
A recorder-like instrument that is inexpensive.
Used by all for learning and teaching.
Used for practice by even the best pipers.
You can find our practice chanters online here.
Next buy a tutor book:
College of Piping (World's best selling).
Logan's (old fashioned and inexpensive - very popular).
You can get one of our kits, which includes a companion CD, here.
Next find a teacher. It is wise to make sure your prospective teacher is competent. Some mediocre players are good teachers because they had good teachers. The sine qua non of a good teacher is the ability to recognize good and bad playing habits. A good teacher must know what is correct. All good players know what is correct, but they may not be able to explain clearly what to do and what not to do. The worst you can do is find a teacher who doesn't know correct from incorrect, and can't explain anything.
Clues for the competence of a teacher:
Teacher's other pupils are competent.
Experience teaching at piping schools.
Prizes won in competition (including amateur).
Member of a good band (grades three, two, or one).
Pipe Major (leader) of a mediocre band.
A list of teachers can be found at http://www.ceolas.org/instruments/pipes/teachers/.
Other teacher lists.
Many bands also teach beginners (usually with the proviso that
the learner join the band).
A list of bands can be found at http://incolor.inebraska.com/derby/bagpipe/thelist.html.
Other band lists.