Tips For Booking A Funeral Bagpiper

Posted on: 31 July 2023

A bagpiper's solemn yet powerful melodies can provide a memorable and touching tribute at a funeral, helping to express deep emotions that words often cannot. If you're considering hiring a funeral bagpiper, here are some essential tips to ensure a smooth and respectful experience.

Identifying Your Needs

Before beginning your search, clarify what you want from the bagpiper. Consider the specific tunes you'd like played and at which points in the ceremony you'd prefer them. You might want music as guests arrive, during the service, or at the graveside. This understanding will help guide your discussions with potential bagpipers.

Start the Search Early

Finding a professional, experienced bagpiper can take time, so start your search as soon as possible. Reach out to local pipe bands, music schools, or funeral homes for recommendations. Online directories and platforms can also be a valuable resource.

Experience and Repertoire

When selecting a bagpiper, their experience, particularly with funerals, is essential. An experienced player will have a good understanding of the protocols and etiquette required. Additionally, ask about their repertoire to ensure they can play the tunes you've chosen.

Professionalism and Communication

Pay attention to how potential bagpipers communicate during the initial interaction. Their professionalism, timeliness in response, and understanding of your needs are all indicators of how the service will likely proceed.

Clear Agreement

Once you've chosen a bagpiper, ensure all arrangements are confirmed in writing. This agreement should include the date, time, location, selected tunes, and cost. It's also wise to discuss a backup plan in case of unforeseen circumstances such as bad weather or illness.

Discuss the Dress Code

The traditional Scottish kilt is often worn by bagpipers, but it's important to discuss the dress code beforehand. Some bagpipers have various outfits and can adapt their appearance to the tone and style of the funeral service.

Sound Check

If the service is in a church or another enclosed space, check with the venue about any sound requirements or restrictions. The sound of the bagpipes is powerful, and it's important to ensure it won't overwhelm the space.

If the service is held outdoors, the sound will carry, creating a haunting and emotive atmosphere. Indoor venues, especially those with high ceilings such as churches, can also create a powerful resonance.

Payment and Gratuities

Discuss payment details upfront, including the method and timing of payment. You might also consider gratuities; while not required, they can be a thoughtful gesture, especially if the bagpiper has provided exceptional service.