The Royal Scots Cap Badge



A free resource of Bagpipe Tutorials, Tips and Techniques brought to you by,

Pipe Major William (Bill) Robertson, formerly
1st Battalion, The Royal Scots (The Royal Regiment)


Bill's Bagpipe Tutorials are packed with information, techniques and tips, gleaned from over 60 years of involvement with playing the bagpipes. This site is a great resource for those who wish to learn to play the bagpipes or for those who wish to develop or refine there piping.

Read what some of Bill's friends have to say about his bagpipe lessons.


  • It Began With The Boys Brigade
    Bill started his bagpipe playing as a young lad with the Boys Brigade and upon turning 18 was drafted into the army.

  • The Army School of Bagpipe Music and Highland Drumming
    Bill was tutored at Edinburgh Castle by the famous PM Willie Ross MBE. About one year after graduating from The Army School of Bagpipe Music and Highland Drumming he was promoted to Pipe Major for The Royal Scots, 1st Battalion.

  • Playing Internationally
    Besides playing at various locations around the world while in the Army. Bill has also taken civilian bands to compete very successfully on the International Circuit.

  • An Accomplished Piobaireachd Player and Composer
    In his personal capacity Bill has been recognized as a Piobaireachd (Pibroch) composer of some note, as well as a very successful competitor. Bill's biography will reveal more information about his piping journey and achievements.


Bagpipe Tutorials Website Content


There is plenty of useful information in this website for bagpipers and below is a brief indication of some of the website content.

  • Bagpipe Lessons - Some Techniques and Embellishments ...
    This section contains a few bagpipe tutorials on how to play various embellishments, finger positioning on the chanter and some notes about chanter maintenance and care.

  • FREE Bagpipe Tune Lessons
    Every month Bill publishes a FREE Bagpipe Tune lesson. Some of these tunes include Scotland The Brave, Amazing Grace, Black Bear, Kilworth Hills, The Skye Boat Song, Caledonian Canal, The Royal Scots Polka and Bill's own composition Pipe Major Bill Boyle, New Zealand Scottish Regiment.

    You can be notified by email whenever a new tune is published by subscribing to Monthly Tune Notification Service.


  • Bagpipe Tutorials On DVD
    Bill has documented his bagpiping knowledge onto DVD. The bagpipe tutorials are interactive with links in the document to relevant audio and video files. This means that Bill has enhanced his tutorials with additional video examples and audio instruction. It is almost as if Bill was in your lounge giving you one on one instruction.

    Bill's bagpipe tutorials cater for three levels of piping proficiency:

    1. Comprehensive Beginners Guide
    2. Advanced Comprehensive Guide
    3. An Introduction to Piobaireachd Teachnique.
    4. 115 Piobaireachd Tutorials

    Bill is constantly updating his bagpipe lessons with new content and improvements.


  • Piobaireachd Tutorials
    Bill has much to offer Piobaireachd (Pibroch) enthusiast. His Pibroch compositions have been recognized and published in various Piobaireachd books and he has also recorded over 115 Piobaireachd Tutorials as well.

    Bill's latest DVD is titled An Introduction to Piobaireachd Technique. This DVD is suited to those who desire to explore the art of playing Piobaireachd or who wish to improve their technique.

    Bill's teaching style is unique. He does not play the tune through one time and then tell you how to play it. Rather, he breaks the tune down into sections and talks you through one section at a time. By doing this you can work at learning to play the piobaireachd tune section by section. This makes it a whole lot easier for you!


  • Frequent Asked Questions About Bagpiping
    This is the section where you can ask Bill about a bagpiping related question. You can also read some of the question asked and Bill's reply.


  • Piobaireachd Historical's By Ron MacLeod
    Ron MacLeod has spent years collecting Historical Piobaireachd Stories. With his kind permission he has allowed us to publish his work on this website.

    He has grouped this collection into three categories:

    1. General Piobaireachd Stories
    2. Lament Piobaireachd Stories
    3. Salute Piobaireachd Stories

    Ron has also transcribed A History of Piobaireachd which was delivered as part of Stuart's Pipe Major training at a 1955 Band School in Winnipeg, Manitoba, which is similar to what Bill Robertson had to write and learn while on his Pipe Majors' Course at Edinburgh Castle, under the direction of the famous Pipe Major Willie Ross MBE.


  • Bagpiping Articles In this section we have grouped together some bagpiping articles and other bits and pieces to do with the site.

    Why not take a look and see if there is anything that may be of interest to you.


  • Keep Yourself Up To Date With The Latest Bagpipe Tutorials Updates
    Use the handy RSS feature to be able to quickly view the latest website page additions or page updates are. Look on the left hand column for RSS icons which you can click to subscribe to the RSS feed. The Icon looks like the following one

    RSS Feed


    Alternatively you could go to Bagpipe Tutorials Blog Page for a quick overview of what content has been added recently.

Keep Up To Date, With Most Recent Pages

Arniston Castle - A free bagpipe lesson

Arniston Castle, a free bagpipe lesson by Pipe Major Bill Robertson

Continue reading "Arniston Castle - A free bagpipe lesson"


Hi Bill, I have just started playing the pipes and I have braces on my teeth, therefore my lips are weak. I find it really hard to get all the air

Continue reading "Blowing "

St Andrews Cross - A free bagpipe lesson

St Andrews Cross, a free bagpipe lesson by Pipe Major Bill Robertson

Continue reading "St Andrews Cross - A free bagpipe lesson"

Memories of the late Pipe major John T MacKenzie ( Scots Guards, 1st Batt)

Dear Pipe Major Robertson, I just came across your website today, and I think it's wonderful.! I like to mention J.T MacKenzie, because he took me on

Continue reading "Memories of the late Pipe major John T MacKenzie ( Scots Guards, 1st Batt)"

Braemar Highland Gathering

Braemar Highland Gathering, a free bagpipe lesson by Pipe Major Bill Robertson

Continue reading "Braemar Highland Gathering"

Striking in

Does anyone have any tips for getting a good, clean strike in? I am struggling to avoid the squeaky, slow progression to drone and chanter unity.

Continue reading "Striking in"

Tape on chanter

Should one use tape over the chanter holes to tune? If so, is there a limit to how many holes can be taped?

Continue reading "Tape on chanter"

Whay causes a reed to stop playing

Good day, I am experiencing my Chanter reed failing by making a low muffled sound or little sound while being played. I have had this happen on two separate

Continue reading "Whay causes a reed to stop playing"

Drying after playing

Hi Bill, After playing my bagpipes, is there a good estimate for air drying before placing them back in their case? William

Continue reading "Drying after playing"

Control of speed/timing.

Hello Bill, Could you please tell me if your video disc tutorial includes a Follow the bouncing ball format when reading the music to a new tune.The speed/timing

Continue reading "Control of speed/timing."

Donald MacKillop

Donald MacKillop, a free bagpipe lesson by Pipe Major Bill Robertson

Continue reading "Donald MacKillop"


Im finding it really hard to make a sound by blowing into the bagpipes. It takes allot of air. Is it the reed or do I need to work on my mouth strength

Continue reading "Blowing"

Torosay Castle

Torosay Castle, a free bagpipe lesson by Pipe Major Bill Robertson

Continue reading "Torosay Castle"

Inconsistent Rhythms, Duncan Johnston

Hi! I'm a competitive piper and have been having some issues with one my hornpipes, Duncan Johnston. I'm currently playing the hornpipe in a pointed

Continue reading "Inconsistent Rhythms, Duncan Johnston"

How to properly strike in the bags with an easy reed.

How do you suppose to strike in the bag and chanter with an easy reed without the chanter making a sound before the drones chime in? Thanks!

Continue reading "How to properly strike in the bags with an easy reed."

How can i stop my bagpipe chanter to stop making a sour note?

Every time I directly blow air into the chanter while it`s on the low G it makes a very sour, and high pitched noise. It doesn`t even sound like a bagpipe

Continue reading "How can i stop my bagpipe chanter to stop making a sour note?"

Striking in

Dcades ago, I learned to strike-in to create clear drone tones but no chanter. Recently, I have observed - and have heard - the strategy has changed. Strike-in

Continue reading "Striking in"

Leaving Ardtornish

Leaving Ardtornish, a free bagpipe lesson

Continue reading "Leaving Ardtornish"

making the reed easier to blow.

I have used a small nail file on my pipe Chanter reed to make it easier to blow but think I may have taken off too much. It now doesn't sound in tune.

Continue reading "making the reed easier to blow."

Blowing and squeezing

Hi Bill, I have been playing for 4 years and can't seem to get the squeezing of the bag down yet. I play and squeeze and after a few sets of practice,

Continue reading "Blowing and squeezing"


Bill At His Daughters Wedding

Bill preparing to play for his daughters wedding



The most recent
is shown at the top of the list.



Your 2 DVDs have just arrived last Thursday in perfect condition. I quickly checked them running some Movies and MP3's...everything fine. I started with your tutorial which runs excellent on my Macintosh computer (Adobe linking fine with the movies and sound files!).

I also want to express my gratitude for the very thoughtful arrangement of the seems to me that you thought of everything one needs to know in order to approach piping and the bagpipe itself. A well done piece of work with many of your valuable experiences and knowledge built-in! Thanks very much!!!

I wish you all the best and overall health for you and your beloved one's. Many regards to "down-under"

18th January 2010.


... thank you for making the effort with your DVD it has been invaluable ... I found a piping instructor here at Edinboro University and have been taking lessons from him for about a year now ... he was amazed how far I had come with no personal instruction other then you ... In fact, I played my first funeral back in August. I played Amazing grace just as you taught it to me ... (On the DVD.)

Again Thanks
David Lindsay
25th December 2009.



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... I feel that what Bill is doing with his piping knowledge leaves all the other tuition site behind and is a great credit to him ...

Terry Power
16th October, 2009.



Dear Bill,

I thought that I would just express my thanks and admiration for your Advanced Comprehensive Guide.

The more I use it the more appreciative I become.


Allister Smith
28th September, 2009.


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