Ted Kerrn, Bagpiper
I assume you've reached this page because you have an interest in
bagpipes. Welcome to my webpage! I am a bagpiper located in central
Illinois. I've played many events in locations throughout the
area including Peoria, Galesburg, Bloomington, Normal., Pontiac,
Dwight, Champaign, Urbana, Rantoul, Decatur, Springfield, and many
others. I hope this page helps answer any questions you have
about bagpiping. It's not meant to be a fancy page, just informative.
musical experience began in my early youth with piano lessons and
playing saxophone in the grade school and high school bands. After an extended period away from
an active role in music I began playing the bagpipe
in 2002. I was taught by some of the finest bagpiping
instuctors in Illinois and beyond. I've attended piping schools
including The Balmoral School, The Milwaukee School, and The Midwest
School. My instructors have included famous international bagpipers.
The last twelve years have included a wide variety of bagpiping
experiences including playing with four bagpipe bands. I've
played with Celtic Cross Pipes and Drums of Central Illinois, Prairie Thistle Pipes and Drums of McLean County, Illinois, St. Andrew's Society of Central Illinois Pipes and Drums, and Illinois State Police Pipes and Drums. I should also add that in the Fall of 2012 I was a guest piper with Dutch Pipes and Drums, Tilburg, The Nethelands, for their performance at the Dutch National Military Tattoo in Rotterdam. I've been invited to again join Dutch Pipes and Drums as a guest piper for the Berlin Military Tattoo in Berlin, Germany in October 2014.
my twelve years of bagpiping I've been involved in playing many solo and band events. I am the founder of Prairie Thistle Pipes and Drums of McLean County, Illinois and pipe major (musical director) of that band. I am currently the pipe major of Celtic Cross Pipes and Drums of Central Illinois.
In addition to my band activities I provide private bagpipe lessons to
beginners who aspire to become band members and am proud to have taught
several very accomplished
bagpipers in the central Illinois area. Piping and drumming with
a band is fun and very rewarding. Our band plays parades, shows,
and many other types of events. Recently, our band performed in concert
at Bloomington, Illinois with Gaelic Storm and The Chieftains.
I've played numerous band competitions as a competitive piper and
in recent years as pipe major have lead the band in competitions as
well as the other types of performances. My instruction is based on
proper playing technique, and I've competed in bagpipe solo and band
competitions in the Eastern United State Pipe Band Association and Midwest Pipe Band Association. In 2005 I played with Celtic Cross Pipes and Drums in Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association competition at the World Pipe Band Championships
in Glasgow, Scotland. Playing with a pipe band is immersion into a
new culture, meeting new friends, and having fun -- something
I've really enjoyed over the years.
Learning to play:
you're interested in learning to play bagpipes I'd be happy to help get
you started. If you want to play bagpipes you first need to know
a few important tips in order to avoid the pitfalls in acquiring this
1. Stay away from
E-Bay!!!!!!!! Most of the piping equipment/instruments/etc. on E-Bay is
junk or a scam or both. I've conducted group lessons for new pipers,
and it is sad to see excited new piping students arriving proudly carrying in
the E-Bay junk they bought. You will need quality equipment to
make learning easier, fun, and productive. E-Bay is a minefield
where many prospective pipers' hopes of playing have been destroyed by
the unscrupulous selling of impossible-to-play junk. Also, a local
music shop will sometimes insist they can order bagpipes and associated
equipment. The truth is a standard music shop will likely know nothing about bagpipes or
bagpiping. What they will order for you is the same junk sold on E-Bay.
Forget the local music shop. I will guide you on what you should
purchase (I'm not in the business of selling or profiting
on equipment/supplies).There are a number of reputable retailers who sell pipe and
drum supplies. Some of these are The Piper's Hut, Barr 1 Highland Supply, and Henderson Imports.
There are several others. These shops are run by people who have
experience and know piping and drumming. These vendors are the ones the
real pipers and drummers use for instruments and supplies. However,
don't buy anything from anyone until you consult with your instructor.
You do not learn to play bagpipes by playing bagpipes. You will
not need a bagpipe for many months after you begin instruction.
Learning to play bagpipes is done on a quality practice chanter
sold by a reputable shop (NO E-Bay junk). Forget about buying bagpipes
until you are relatively proficient with properly playinig at least
four or five pipe tunes on the practice chanter. Again, this process
takes at least six months for most people. Your instructor will let you know when you should begin shopping for bagpipes.
You need an instructor to help you learn to play. I've seen some pipers
who were self-taught and a few were mostly successful in learning the
basics. Others did not play properly, could not play real pipe music,
and could not play with any reputable bagpipe band. An instructor is
crucial as a guide to learning to play. I provide instuctional
materials to my students; we do not use any published instructional
books. There are some good beginning piping books on the market, but an
instructor is still necessary for success. I guide my students on
obtaining a practice chanter (our band has the recommended practice
chanter available for reduced cost). I also guide my students when
they're ready to purchase a set
of bagpipes. I do not endorse any particular manufacturer of bagpipes,
but will help ensure you get the instrument well-suited to you and
ensure it is properly set. By the way, for those who are
you've never played an instrument and cannot read music, don't worry. I
have taught several very successful pipers with NO musical background
and can incorporate learning to read the music into your lessons.
Dedication to regular practice is the main obligation for the
successful student. If you decide to be a piper and put forth the
necessary effort to be a piper, I'll help you become a piper.
firstname.lastname@example.org or 309-310-6961