Mrs E MacDonald – Piping


Esther MacDonald (nee Mackenzie) is Piping Instructor for Uist schools and has over 35 years teaching experience.

She began learning the chanter when she was 7 years old, and attended Plockton High School from age 11 to 18, where she was taught by Iain MacFadyen.

Esther was one of the few female pipers on the junior competition circuit at this time, and in 1976 she became the first female piper ever to win a first prize at the Northern Meeting competitions. (Prior to this, female pipers were not allowed to compete at the Northern Meetings, but following the Sex Discrimination Act the ban was lifted)

On leaving school, Esther attended Robert Gordon’s and followed a career in Catering Management. In 1984, she and her husband Domhnall Ban returned to live in Uist and they established a Piping Club in North Uist where they provided tuition on a voluntary basis to thirty youngsters for several years.

In 2007, Esther took up the Post as Piping Instructor with CNES and teaches children in Primary schools from P5 to P7, where every child is given the opportunity to learn a musical instrument. She also teaches Secondary pupils from S1 to S6 and provides piping tuition to pupils taking SQA Music exams at National 5, Higher and Advanced Higher levels.

Esther said ” It is a great privilege to have such a unique job. Music adds such a special dimension to young people’s lives, and teaching an instrument, especially a traditional one like bagpipes which is embedded in our culture and heritage is hugely rewarding – it is a fabulous job ”

Mrs MacDonald teaches chanter & piping in the following schools in Uist:

  • Sgoil Lionacleit
  • Balivanich School
  • Iochdar School