About John

Learn more about John Sprague, his techniques, methods and policies for students.


Find out from other students why Sprague Highland Bagpipe Instruction is your best choice.

About The Instructor

John Sprague has been playing the Great Highland Bagpipe for over 25 years. He is a grade one piper and currently the Pipe Major for the City of Alexandria Pipes and Drums. He has won numerous prizes and accolades at the Grade 1 level (The highest achievable grade besides "Open"). John has played for Presidents and Prime Ministers, played on stage at rock concerts as well has peforming for official functions at military bases and Arlington National Cemetery. He has been recorded at the National Cathedral on the Gothic Records label.

John has developed a teaching style specifically designed to help you master the Great Highland Bagpipe in the shortest possible time. Even if you have never played the bagpipe, or have no background in music, his course of instruction is the perfect starting point for you.

Learning to play the bagpipe is a process that develops in stages. Students begin practice on a practice chanter. It’s a small instrument that looks like a recorder. It is used to learn basic movements. As the movements are learned, students begin addressing actual musical pieces. After that, students move onto playing the Great Highland Bagpipe. John’s teaching method ensures students master the basic elements of the bagpipe for their personal satisfaction and enjoyment, yet also gives them the skills to join a pipe band or enter solo competition.

Having taught for over 20 years, John has perfected a systematic approach. It has been so effective that what started as a few students being given private instruction has grown into a school of piping.

Many of John’s students begin instruction with little knowledge of the bagpipe and no background in music and go on to be an asset to local pipe bands and become successful solo competitors.


"John is a rare musician and instructor… he is able to transform complicated into simple, mystical into logical, and theory into application… his innovative methods are not only atypical, but are invaluable for pipers of any level experience." -Kenny Flynt, Piper and Grade 2 EUSPBA Soloist

"John has taught me so much in such a short time. I never thought I'd ever be able to even make a noise with the bagpipe and now I'm playing in solo competitions!" -Joe Schmoe, Student and Grade 4 EUSPBA Soloist

"I've been playing bagpipes for several years, having learned in the police department band. When I joined the City of Alexandria I had a lot of bad habits to unlearn. John straightened my playing out in no time and I was playing concerts with the band very quickly." -Steve McLeod, Piper, CAPD

"When I first started taking lessons from John, he took my awful playing apart and put it back together, bit by bit. I learned the fundamentals of how to play a bagpipe, which is truly different from any other instrument, as well as how to set up and maintain my own bagpipe. After nearly 20 years, I'm still learning new things, and I enjoy playing confidently knowing that I'm doing it right.." -Ann Reesman, Piper, CAPD