Wait, a scholarship for bagpiping? Yep!

The past few years have been very good years for the Chicago Highlanders, we have bolstered our ranks with some promising new members, including quite a few young members and students on bagpipes and drums. We could not have asked for a better way to head into this band’s next century!

As we’ve begun working with more young learners, we’ve had to adapt our teaching styles but it’s also important to try and keep it interesting and engaging since we are not only competing with traditional activities such as sports and scouts but video games, YouTube, and social media!

Learning to play the bagpipes and Scottish style snare drum is not easy, it takes quite a commitment and just like baseball, basketball, and traveling hockey leagues, transportation falls on the parent’s already busy shoulders.

So what’s the payoff? Well, like anything else, seeing your child excel and be excited by their chosen hobby is rewarding but could there be something being overlooked? Yes, there are a handful of colleges and universities that offer bagpiping and drumming scholarships!

You can obviously Google things yourself but below are a few links to get you headed in the right direction if you’re interested in potentially leveraging your bagpipe or drumming lessons in your plans for higher education.

Carnegie Mellon University has a history of bagpiping associated with the school dating back to 1939. The current professor in charge of the bagpipe major in the School of Music is Andrew Carlisle, a world class bagpiper, piping judge, and long time member of the very successful Grade 1 Field Marshal Montgomery Pipe Band.

Macalester College in St. Paul, MN is another school which has a successful bagpiping program.

Here in IL, Monmouth College is also home to a pipe band and Alma Michigan’s Alma College is home to the Alma College Pipe Band. For over 50 years, Alma (which is sometimes called Scotland USA) has hosted a Highland Games including bagpipe competitions.

Finally, though not in the United States, Simon Fraser University, in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada is home to the multi time world champion SFU Pipe Band.

The bottom line is that if you are a young bagpiper or drummer who is planning to go to college, you should investigate scholarship opportunities which might be available to you. As the costs for college continue to rise, any assistance with tuition you can find is worth leveraging, especially if it aligns with something you already enjoy doing!

Interested in bagpipe or drum lessons in the Chicago area? have a look at our lessons page and get in touch!