Getting Started on the Bagpipes: How to Hold and Blow a Bagpipe Practice Chanter

Jun 16, 2024

How to Hold and Blow a Bagpipe Practice Chanter

Learning to play the bagpipe practice chanter is a journey that begins with mastering the fundamentals. Among these fundamentals is the proper technique for holding and blowing the instrument. In this guide, we'll walk you through the steps to ensure you're holding and blowing your practice chanter correctly for optimal sound production and comfort.

Holding the Practice Chanter

Step 1: Find Your Grip

Hold the practice chanter with both hands, much like holding a recorder or flute. Your left hand should be positioned closer to the top (near the mouthpiece), while your right hand should be towards the bottom end.

Step 2: Left Hand Placement

Place your left hand's fingers over the top three holes on the chanter. Your index, middle, and ring fingers should cover these holes, while your pinky finger remains relaxed and slightly away from the chanter body.

Step 3: Right Hand Placement

Position your right hand's fingers over the remaining holes on the chanter. Your index, middle, ring, and pinky fingers should cover these holes, with your thumb providing support at the back of the chanter.

Step 4: Maintain a Relaxed Grip

Ensure your grip on the practice chanter is firm enough to control the instrument but relaxed enough to allow for fluid movement and airflow. Avoid gripping too tightly, as it may restrict your finger movement and affect your playing technique.

Blowing the Practice Chanter

Step 1: Proper Seal

Place your lips firmly around the mouthpiece, ensuring a tight seal to prevent air leakage. Your lips should cover the entire circumference of the mouthpiece, with no gaps or spaces.

Step 2: Controlled Breath

Take a deep breath and exhale steadily into the practice chanter. The airflow should be consistent and controlled, with enough pressure to produce sound but not so forceful that it causes distortion or instability in the notes.

Step 3: Maintain Steady Pressure

As you blow into the practice chanter, maintain steady pressure to sustain the sound. Avoid sudden changes in airflow or excessive force, as it can lead to inconsistencies in tone and pitch.

Step 4: Practice Patience

Learning to blow the practice chanter effectively takes time and patience. Start with short practice sessions, focusing on producing clear and steady notes before gradually increasing the duration and complexity of your playing.


Mastering the art of holding and blowing a bagpipe practice chanter is the foundation upon which your journey into bagpipe playing is built. By following these steps and practicing regularly, you'll develop the necessary skills and technique to produce beautiful music and embark on a fulfilling musical adventure.

Remember, consistency and attention to detail are key. So, grab your practice chanter, find your grip, and start blowing those melodious tunes!