‘It’s literally in his blood’: 11-year-old musician is a master of the bagpipes

Anderson Bailey fell in love with bagpipes at 6.
Published: Apr. 11, 2023 at 12:51 PM CDT
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HONOLULU (KHNL/Gray News) - An 11-year-old in Hawaii has taken to playing one of the most difficult instruments in the world to master.

Anderson Bailey is only 11, and he’s hooked on bagpipes.

He said he likes the sound the instrument makes, one that can take players a long time to get right. But Anderson’s teachers said it seems to come naturally to him.

“It’s not very easy because you have to squeeze, play notes, blow and take breaths,” Anderson told KHNL.

The fifth-grader first discovered the sound of bagpipes when he was only 6 years old. He got his first chanter, the part of the bagpipe without the bag, a few years later.

His parents sought lessons for him soon after.

“And never in my wildest dreams did I think that not only would we find a piper, but there would be a pipe band on Oahu,” Amber Bailey, Anderson’s mother, said.

Anderson was finally gifted a full set of bagpipes for his birthday in February.

The 11-year-old said he’s fascinated by the instrument that produces his favorite form of music.

“I usually listen to it when I go to sleep, when I’m doing something in my room or when I get up to go eat breakfast,” he said.

To top it all off, the Baileys recently learned through DNA testing that they are part Scottish.

“It’s literally in his blood. He lives and breathes these bagpipes,” Amber Bailey said. “I’m enjoying this journey just as much as he is.”

Anderson now studies under the best bagpipe musicians in the state. He also performs with two bagpipe bands.

His playlist grows by the day because he spends every minute he can with his bagpipes in his hands.

“Working on new tunes, reviewing old ones, and practicing the pipes,” he said.

Aside from being the youngest bagpiper in Hawaii, Anderson is also an honor roll student, a budding golfer, and an all-star baseball player.

“I feel pretty good about it,” he said.