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

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

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

Are you an eager learner who's ready to pick up the full bagpipes for the first time?

Are you an experienced player who feels afraid to touch your setup, or dependent on a pipe major or tutor to help you with tuning, maintenance or basic bagpipe mechanics?

Are you a piping veteran, looking to refresh your knowledge of bagpipe maintenance, posture, and fundamentals?

Or, are you a bagpipe instructor, wanting to compare how our world-class team guide beginners through this piping rite of passage?

Pipers at every level of experience and ability will find essential knowledge, valuable resources, and replicable methods in this core Dojo University course.

Join me and my team of world-class pipers instructors as we take you on an in-depth journey through the theory and practicalities of setting up a set of pipes from scratch, bagpipe maintenance, posture and blowing mechanics, tuning, marching, strike ins and stops, and much, much more.

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.


Bagpipes are a complex instrument, but they should never be complicated...

...with Dojo U's Step By Step, Simple System for Developing Bagpipe Coordination and Mechanics

A mind-map showing the core skills taught in the Dojo University Transitioning to the Bagpipes course

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.

Our user-friendly learning system makes it easy for you to work your way through the content and track your progress.
Enroll Today >>

A mind-map showing the core skills taught in the Dojo University Transitioning to the Bagpipes course

You'll learn how to be confident and comfortable with your pipes by sequentially working your way through the 7 phases of the transitioning process.
Enroll Today >>

Be Comfortable and Confident with Your Bagpipes Today!


"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

Bagpiper Kenneth Hiner


"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

Transitioning to the Bagpipes Course Details

In this comprehensive, 16-hour course, you'll learn everything you need to know to master the simple, uncomplicated fundamentals that create comfortable, confident bagpipers.

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

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

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

What You'll Get:

When you enroll today, you'll receive instant access to:  

  • The Transitioning to the Bagpipes (v2) Course
  • 7 Core Modules
  • 50+ Video Lessons
  • Detailed Reference Text to Accompany Each Video
  • Quizzes concluding each module.

Plus, because this is a core Dojo U course, when you successfully complete the course and the final exam, you'll also receive 'Belt Level Points' – a great way to measure your achievement as you take more courses and gather more experience at Dojo U.

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!)

How It Works


Sign up by clicking 'enroll now' anywhere on this page.

We'll send access instructions directly to your inbox.


The course usually takes between 1–3 months to complete, with several in-depth modules, quizzes on each module, and a final exam.


At the end of the course, 80% or higher on the final quiz means you've passed – and are a competent, comfortable, and confident piper!


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!)

Who Should Take This Course?

Sally the Newbie

Just graduating from the practice chanter? Transition to the Pipes the best way possible - skip the horrifying struggle step.

Band Player Bob

If you know you need to figure out how to resolve your bagpipe struggles, do a full "re-boot" beginning today!

Pipe Major Pam

If you need your band to grow in size and in aptitude, knowing this process inside and out is a must!

"Cool" Bagpipe Teacher Tim

Retain more of your students and watch them thrive by teaching bagpipes in the correct sequential, simple, sequence.

Martha the Mom/Spouse

It's always super handy when your mother and/or spouse helps you with your bagpipes. For real. It is!

Become Comfortable and Confident with Your Bagpipes!

Frequently Asked Questions

Is this course right for my ability level?

Regardless of who you are – the answer is a resounding yes!

Whether you are brand new to the pipes, or you have been playing for a while but need a fresh look at the process of becoming confident and comfortable on the instrument, or you want to get some different ideas for teaching the process to your students – this course is ideal for you.

What is a 'core' course?

Dojo U offers a wide variety of resources, materials, and activities to help make this truly the world's first fully digital, comprehensive piping school on the web.

Some of our courses are short and sweet, with only the bare-essentials presented.

Other courses are somewhere in between.

'Core courses' are our suite of essential, in-depth, comprehensive courses that we think are essential knowledge for any bagpiper.

They form the core of our teaching curriculum and our points and badge reward systems are based around them for students.

Can I take this course on my phone/tablet?

Yes! Our learning system and course interface jives extremely well with all modern devices.

How long will it take to access my course when I deliver it?

No time at all – once you receive your login info, access is immediate. We'll send you a username and password to access the course right to your email address. 

Can I download the course to watch offline?

This course is hosted and protected in 'the cloud', which means it's all online and can't be downloaded.

If you have an internet connection, you can literally access this course anywhere, on any device.

Unfortunately, none of the video materials are downloadable onto your device for offline viewing.

The documents and other share-ables are though!

Is there a guarantee?

Yep...all our courses have a 30-day, no-questions-asked, money-back guarantee.  

In other words, if you aren't happy for any reason, simply let us know and we'll give you your money back.

We believe in our product and stand firmly behind it, so we obviously don't think it'll come to that, but if you're even the least bit worried if this will work for you, then we hope this guarantee will put your mind at ease.

You will either get the results you want or you get your money back.

It's as simple as that!  

Become Comfortable and Confident with Your Bagpipes!

About Your Instructor

“I'm excited to be your guide to learning how to competently, comfortably, and confidently master your bagpipes, every time you play!"

— Andrew Douglas

Andrew is a prolific practitioner of the bagpipe, active at the highest level of pipe bands, solo competition, teaching, and creative endeavors for the past 20 years.

He's the founder and creator of The Piper’s Dojo and Dojo University, and his credentials include being 2017 & 2019 World Champion with Inveraray and District Pipe Band, 2017 Winner of the USA Silver Medal for Piobaireachd, 2008–2013 Pipe Major of Grade 1 Oran Mor Pipe Band, a multi-prize winner of Silver Medals at Oban and Inverness, and the 2004 B-Grade Winner Strathspey/Reel at Oban.

He holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Simon Fraser University, and is an Accredited Bagpipe Teacher and Examiner with the Scottish Qualifications Authority.

Dojo University Is Different

Dojo University is an online bagpiping school.

We've been established as the leading online bagpiping school for more than a decade, with an extensive, hundreds-strong global community of pipers; 20+ live classes running every week on every timezone; and more courses, tunes, articles and resources than you could work your way through in a lifetime, on every piping-related topic that you could think of.

While you may be able to find bagpipe instruction in person and elsewhere on the internet, our Dojo U courses are unique because they're built and taught by real-world bagpipers who have not only built these courses based on real-world experience (read: successes), but who actually build and run the school. If you have questions, issues, or need advice, you're always speaking directly to the source.

In other words, we aren't people who couldn't do it, so we made a course instead. We're world champion players and instructors who have 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 we're delighted to welcome you to Dojo U – your new home base for everything to do with bagpiping.