Looking to hire a Bagpiper in Yorkshire?
My name is Mark Jamieson and I've been playing bagpipes for longer than I care to remember. I suppose I could start going on about all the sense of pomp and ceremony the bagpipes will bring to your special day. I could also say that there's nothing quite like the bagpipes to "stir the blood". I could go on and on about it......., but I won't as you already know all this. Why would you be here otherwise? I would think you're looking for a bagpiper to play at a wedding, party or something like that and you're wondering who's available and how much will it cost.
Hiring a proficient bagpiper for your special occasion can be a difficult task. Bagpipes, when played by a competent piper are in a class of their own and can add considerably to the ambiance of the event. Bagpipes played badly sound like several stray cats having a significant difference of opinion whilst trapped inside a dustbin!! It pays dividends to check out potential bagpipers for your wedding, funeral or party before you pay good money for them to perform. You have been warned!!!
How can I tell if the bagpipe player is any good?
If you don't play yourself or know someone who can, it's still not too difficult to judge. A bagpiper who uses the title Pipe Major warrants further investigation on your part as it's an often abused title which may suggest a level of competence not based on reality. A Pipe Major is someone who, past or present has gained the knowledge and experience required to fulfill the role of band leader in a bagpipe and drum band (a pipe band in other words). If an individual has not at some point in their career led a band, they are not, in my humble opinion entitled to use the title. It is an appointment, not a rank obtained by any other means. I have been the Pipe Major of three bands in my career those being 19 Regiment Royal Artillery, South Durham Pipes and Drums and finally North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service Pipe Band. After 30 years service, I decided to retire from active band leadership and focus my attentions on helping others to fulfill the role.
Musical ability varies greatly amongst bagpipers and I would personally request a bit of a "cv" from the bagpiper in question before you commit to having them play at your event and lightening your pocket of your hard earned cash. If at all possible try to hear them play. I've put some sound samples of me playing some of the more common music I play on my tunes page for you to listen to. Even if you know nothing about the bagpipes, when listening to your bagpiper it should sound musical. Ask them to play a tune you know well so that you can compare.
What can your bagpipe player do?
Once you have found a bagpiper that you're happy with, what do you actually do with him? I have been to many events where the organiser is not actually quite sure what they would like me to do. I can of course advise you on what is possible on the day calling upon nigh on 40 years experience of playing bagpipes at all sorts of engagements. Check out the links at the top of the page which give some general guidance.
I will also advise you where you may be going over the top. There are times to use bagpipes for effect and then there are times when perhaps you should not. I know it's hard to believe but not everybody loves the bagpipes as much as you do!.
I have been known to play my bagpipes in strange places and I'm not averse to hiding until the moment arrives. I will, if it's physically possible, legal and morally decent, try to accommodate what you have in mind.