Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Free Bagpipe Lessons!

Are you interested in getting in touch with Macalester’s Scottish roots? If so, there is no better way to do it than learning to play the bagpipes.

This opportunity is open to any Mac student. Just email  the music department expressing your interest. And the best part about these lessons, aside from the fact that you’re learning to play an awesome musical instrument, is that they are absolutely free. Lessons are free in order to ensure the Scottish heritage of Macalester College is carried on. This incentive tempted me to take bagpipe lessons for a semester last year and I’m glad I did.
The Macalester Pipe Band, under the direction of Mike Breidenbach.

For beginners, the lessons start off using a very simple instrument similar to a recorder. You learn how to play all the appropriate notes and after the first couple of lessons, move on to playing complete songs such as “Amazing Grace.” The bagpipe instructor is extremely friendly and likes to joke around, so the atmosphere at these lessons is  chill and easygoing, which makes learning that much better.

Unfortunately, because my musical ability is not great (gross understatement),  I didn’t progress very far in the lessons. However, if you make it through the first year of lessons, you graduate from using the recorder-like instrument to using a complete bagpipe set. This opens up opportunities to join the Macalester Pipe Band, which performs at competitions against other schools (résumé booster!).

The free bagpipe lessons are a great chance to experience Scottish roots here at Mac. Not only do you get to learn how to play a unique musical instrument, but you also get to have fun doing it. Bagpipe lessons are a great way to enhance your Macalester experience.

- Ben Kaufman ‘16