Michel d’Avenas is the Piper Major of the Monterey Bay Pipe Band and the leading bagpipe instructor in Monterey County. He is a piping competition judge at Scottish Festivals and other events, and founder of the Monterey Celtic Arts Academy and The Monterey Bay School of Piping and Drumming.
Michel plays a classic set of Great Highland bagpipes mounted in ivory with silver and African Blackwood drones and manufactured by William Sinclair & Sons of Edinburgh, Scotland. Michel is often seen playing at sundown at the Inn at Spanish Bay in Pebble Beach.
A Monterey County native, Michel's musical family came from both Great Britiain and France. After graduating from RLS, he served in the U.S. Army European Command Honor Guard. He then studied music theory and composition at U.C. Berkeley, and learned from renowned bagpipe players such as Seumas MacNeil, Ian MacFadyen, John Burgess, Archie Cairns, Jimmy MacColl, and Jack Lee.
• Celtic Society of the Monterey Bay
• Monterey Bay Pipe Band
• Monterey Celtic Arts Academy
• Monterey Bay School of Piping and Drumming
• Western United States Pipe Band Association
• Monterey Scottish Games
Co-Chair, Piping and Drumming Competition
• Scottish Society of the Monterey Peninsula
• Northern California Indoor Champion
• First Place Solo Piping at the Scottish Games in:
- Santa Rosa
- Los Angeles
Previous Pipe Band Memberships
• Culloden Mor - Grade I
• Dunvegan Pipe Bands - Grade I
• Monterey Scottish - Grade III
• First Salinas Valley Highlanders
Special News Profiles
• Monterey County Herald
• Salinas Californian
• Carmel Pine Cone
Michel has a vast repertoire of marches, strathpeys, reels, hornpipes, jigs, and slow airs. These include the following most requested tunes:
• Amazing Grace
• Barren Rock's of Aden
• Bonnie Dundee
• Danny Boy
• Flower of Scotland
• Flowers of the Forest
• For All Those Endearing Young Charms
• Gary Owen
• Green Hills of Tyrol aka Scottish Soldier
• Going Home
• Highland Cathedral
• Highland Laddie
• Highland Wedding
• Mari's Wedding aka Mary's Wedding
• Minstrel Boy
• Mist Covered Mountains
• My Home
• Scotland the Brave
• Skye Boat Song
• Wearing of the Green
• When the Battle's Over
Pipe Major Michel d'Avenas is a classically trained musician who has been teaching bagpiping for over 30 years. He welcomes students of all ages and ability levels, successfully working with children as young as four and adults as mature as 86. He is available for individual or group lessons, seminars, workshops, school demonstrations and pipe band consultations and tuning.
To learn the bagpipes, pupils start by mastering a Practice Chanter, much like a pennywhistle or recorder, which has only 9 notes. It's easy to play, inexpensive, portable and quiet. Pupils who practice a half hour to an hour a day soon will be playing a wide variety of tunes.
While everyone can expect to progress at their own rate, several factors can influence the process: previous musical instruction, ability to sight read, and practice time. Some of Michel's beginning students have picked up the pipes in as little as a month's time. While younger students may advance more rapidly than mature pupils, age is not a factor in learning to play the pipes.
One student, after just eight lessons, was acknowledged as the most impressive student at the Monterey Bay School of Piping. He was awarded a scholarship to the National Piping Center in Glasgow, Scotland by its principal Roddy MacLeod.
Aaron Shaw of the Wicked Tinkers has also been one of Michel's students.
Michel teaches at his home studio on the Monterey Peninsula, California. For more information on beginner, intermediate or advanced instruction, please contact us or The Bagpipe Teachers List.