How's Work?: Piping Up

Carnegie Mellon professor Andrew Carlisle leads the school's bagpiping program, instructing a select group of piping majors as well as those looking to gain more music knowledge.



Andrew Carlisle
Carnegie Mellon University School of Music
Job: Director of Piping and Professor of Music

 

How did you start playing the bagpipes? 
I’m originally from a small village in Northern Ireland called Ballygowan, and I heard a pipe band play when I was about 3 or 4 years old. I guess I just liked it and started taking lessons when I was 7 years old.

How many students are in CMU’s bagpiping program at any given time? 
Well, that depends on how you look at it. There are currently three [with] a major [in bagpiping]; they are getting a degree in music with the bagpipe as their first instrument. And then there [are] 12 to 15 [who] are doing the bagpipe as a course — as a credit, to a degree. Then there are about 20 who are just taking lessons.

The ones who are majoring in it — what are their career ambitions? 
To answer that, it’s better to look at the people who have graduated. One is the director of a high-school piping program in Houston, Texas. Another is the director of a piping program at [Edinboro University of Pennsylvania]. One who graduated last year is currently doing a Ph.D. in Glasgow.

What draws those who are not music majors to the class? 
There [are] the people who are getting their degree in ... whatever it might be, they just decide ... they’ve got this opportunity to learn the bagpipe, and they just take it up. And then there are the other ones who might have played a bit in high school before they came here ... The university also has a very good pipe band, [the Carnegie Mellon University Pipes and Drums], so there are a lot of people who come to the university to play with the pipe band.

What gigs can a bagpiper get? 
There is a huge demand for pipers at weddings and funerals — and also at large corporate events. It’s quite common to have a piper play. There is the whole kind of military thing as well. Pipers play at police and fire service events. 

Where can one rehearse the bagpipes without waking up the whole campus? 
In the University Center, there is a bagpipe room. It’s pretty much soundproof.


Photo by Renee Rosensteel

Edit Module

Edit ModuleShow Tags

Hot Reads

Pittsburgh's Top 10 Things to Do in March

Pittsburgh's Top 10 Things to Do in March

Your 10 best bets for this month.
Jamie Dixon: Winning His Way

Jamie Dixon: Winning His Way

Peers, players, and regular observers know him to be one of the best coaches — and people — in college basketball.
15 Buzzworthy Pittsburgh Salons

15 Buzzworthy Pittsburgh Salons

From east to west — and north and south — these are the region’s salons and services that make our cut. Having a good hair day doesn’t have to be so difficult after all.
Home of the Year: 2015

Home of the Year: 2015

This year’s selections include a Richland Township house built to appreciate its 160-acre lot and Shadyside garage that was renovated into a stunning, modern dream home.
Edit ModuleShow Tags

The 412

See the Resume Tape That Landed Sally Wiggin in Pittsburgh

See the Resume Tape That Landed Sally Wiggin in Pittsburgh

Wiggin is celebrating 35 years on Pittsburgh television.
14 Life-Changing Home Products for 2015

14 Life-Changing Home Products for 2015

Home expert Boyce Thompson previews this year's Duquesne Light Pittsburgh Home & Garden Show and speculates on which products will become fully integrated into our homes soon.
How Big a Salary Do You Need to Own a Home In Pittsburgh?

How Big a Salary Do You Need to Own a Home In Pittsburgh?

Pittsburgh tops nationwide list for home affordability.
Why the Browns Could Take a Few Social Media Tips from the Penguins

Why the Browns Could Take a Few Social Media Tips from the Penguins

It seems the 'Burgh's boys of winter are popping up everywhere on the Internet.
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Hot Reads

Pittsburgh's Top 10 Things to Do in March

Pittsburgh's Top 10 Things to Do in March

Your 10 best bets for this month.
Jamie Dixon: Winning His Way

Jamie Dixon: Winning His Way

Peers, players, and regular observers know him to be one of the best coaches — and people — in college basketball.
15 Buzzworthy Pittsburgh Salons

15 Buzzworthy Pittsburgh Salons

From east to west — and north and south — these are the region’s salons and services that make our cut. Having a good hair day doesn’t have to be so difficult after all.
Home of the Year: 2015

Home of the Year: 2015

This year’s selections include a Richland Township house built to appreciate its 160-acre lot and Shadyside garage that was renovated into a stunning, modern dream home.
Preserving August Wilson's Voice

Preserving August Wilson's Voice

Todd Kreidler, who helped to conceive the Pulitzer-Prize-winning playwright’s final written work, returns to Pittsburgh to direct that play, continuing his mission to keep the master’s words alive.
Review: Tender Bar + Kitchen

Review: Tender Bar + Kitchen

Lawrenceville hot spot Tender, once favored primarily for its libations, now is known as well for its culinary offerings.
Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit Module