Jon Shell started piping at age 11 under the instruction of Harvey Ritch of the Grandfather Mountain Highlanders. At age 12, Jon moved to Washington, DC, specifically to receive weekly instruction from Pipe Major Sandy Jones. During summers, Jon also received instruction from the world renowned piobaireachd player John MacFayden. Jon was later taught by Duncan MacFayden, Hamilton Workman, Captain John A. MacLellan, Ed Krintz and Roddy MacDonald. Jon has won piping contests in the Eastern U. S. culminating as the Champion of Champions (grades 1 and 2) and runner up (grade 1). Jon won a full scholarship to Belhaven University for his piping.
As Pipe Sergeant of the Grandfather Mountain Highlanders, he helped lead the band to a grade 2 Champion of Champions (overall points winner) in 1986. He has competed in the World Pipe Band Championships and helped the band win their heat out of 40 bands in 2010 in grade 4. He helped the band win the EUSPBA Overall Points Winner status in grade 4 in 2011.
Jon has a number of students that have successfully competed both in the U. S. and Scotland. He currently teaches elementary school during the year and the North American Academy of Piping and Drumming during the summer.