Hiring A Piper

Bagpiper Hiring Guide

Bagpipers are a fantastic and very popular choice of entertainment for traditional weddings and many other types of events. Although most famous in Scotland, Bagpipers are popular across the World and can be found in Europe, Western Asia, Northern Africa, and other places. And originated back in the Middle East as far back as 4000 BC! If you are thinking of booking bagpipers but don’t know where to start, take a look at this list of tips and advice before you part with your money and book a bagpiper.
Bagpipes are great for:

• Funerals, Memorials, Celebration of Life Services, Graveside and Committal Services
• Wedding Ceremonies, Receptions, Engagements, Rehearsal Dinners, Elopements
• Birthdays, Anniversaries, Holidays, and other family celebrations
• Police and Fire Department Award Ceremonies, Graduations, Promotions and Retirement Parties
• Veterans, Patriotic, and Civic Events: Memorial Day, Veterans Day, Independence Day,
• Sporting Events: golf tournaments, ball games
• and more!

How To Choose A Piper

Choosing a piper for an event is a very important decision. There are no do-overs, second chances, or "mulligans." Before choosing a piper, please consider the following items that will enable you to make an informed decision.

Review the piper's experience:

  • Full-time vs. Part-time performer?
  • Is the piper a professional or amateur musician?
  • Repertoire: Is the piper familiar with an extensive repertoire of piping music, various music styles, and musical genres?
  • Is the piper experienced playing at various types of events: Weddings, Memorials, Patriotic, Stage and Film, Educational, and Sporting Events?
  • Is the piper familiar with the venue? (i.e., wedding venues, churches, cemeteries and other locations)
  • Is the piper familiar with the rules, regulations, and procedures of the venue? (i.e., procedures at National Cemeteries, National and State Parks, church customs, Standard Operation Procedures (SOP), Protocols for Law Enforcement and Public Safety Agencies, and Military organizations?)

Visit pipers' websites and compare music and piping skills: watch videos and listen to audio recordings

  • Conduct an online search and narrow your choices to the most qualified
  • Is the website content new, up-to-date, and accurate?
  • Visit all pages on Piper's website.
  • Read reviews and recommendations. Are the published reviews recent?
  • If a picture is a thousand words, a video is worth music more. Watch videos on Pipers' websites and on YouTube channels.
  • Listen to actual playlists and audio recordings by the piper. Listen for the quality of the tone quality, clarity, and tuning. If you are not a musician, seek help from an experienced musician who is familiar with bagpipe music.
  • Compare videos and audio recordings of a song with those of other performers.
  • Request a live remote, in-person, or virtual audition via Zoom, Skype, or video call.

Review and compare music education and piping training

  • Review formal music education, music degrees, and credentials listed
  • Formal piping instruction received: individualized or group instruction
  • Piping instruction by a qualified and credentialed instructor in an accredited institution

Appearance and presentation

  • View and Inspect performance photos and videos on the website and other sources
  • Types of uniforms: Semi-Formal, Formal, Military, and others
  • Presentation: professional, clean, neat, tidy, properly groomed
  • Review and compare

Contact the piper by phone, text, or email; take note of:

  • Is the piper friendly, courteous, patient, kind and understanding?
  • Are you being pressured to book or hire the piper? If you feel pressure in any way, walk away!
  • Is the piper available to talk to other family members and decision-makers?
  • Is the piper available to consult with your event coordinator, church pastor, priest or rabbi, funeral director, military honor guard, or other participants?
  • Request a written quote via email or text. Ask about required deposits to book and payment options offered.

Costs, deposits, payment options, rebooking and refund policy

  • Request an itemized written quote via email or text.
  • Deposits: deposits are usually required to book a piper for a future event. Deposit can be the full total of the quote or an agreed percentage (50%)
  • Payment options: I accept cash, check, Zelle transfers, PayPal, and Venmo.
  • Refund policy: ask for details in writing
  • Rebooking policy: ask for details in writing
  • Other possible costs: travel time, mileage, tolls, lodging, meals.

Other Things To Consider

When planning an event with bagpipes, please consider the following:

Bagpipes can be very loud

The Scottish Great Highland Bagpipe and the Irish War Pipes are very powerful and loud musical instruments, and their sound can be heard over great distances. The piper has little control over the sound volume of these bagpipes. When played in enclosed areas or for a prolonged period of time, the sound of bagpipes can sometimes be overwhelming to some people. I do play other types of bagpipes that are quite suitable for indoor performances.

Physical demands on piper, weather conditions

Playing bagpipes can be quite physically demanding. Bagpipes are wind instruments that use reeds to produce sound. Reeds can be affected by many factors, including temperature, moisture, altitude, atmospheric pressure, and more. When planning an outdoor event, be mindful and considerate of the weather conditions where the piper will be playing the duration of the performance, and rest periods.

Bagpipes have an unique tuning

Bagpipes use a tuning system (temperament) that is somewhat different from other instruments; that is part of the allure and attraction of bagpipes. As a professional musician, I often perform with other musicians (organist, pianist, orchestra, or band), and with ample notice, I can modify my instruments to tune to the proper key and temperament.

Preparation before playing

Bagpipers get ready by doing an initial tuning of the pipes, then playing to warm up, and then fine-tuning to achieve the playing of overtone series that make the instrument come to life. Before arriving at any performance, I invest a considerable amount of time preparing my instrument to achieve the tuning, warm-up, and fine-tuning beforehand. When I have to travel to perform at a distant location, it is important to have a place to perform these preparatory steps without disturbing the guests. At times, pipers need to re-tune their instruments just before playing.

Ready To Book?

Booking a bagpiper for your event is a simple and straightforward process.

Please call or send this booking request form to get your performance scheduled on the calendar today.