I started off my music career playing the piano. As I learned I passed through books of songs that were designed to teach me a specific skill. When I discovered this great instrument, I realized that every tune I learned was repertoire and would be performed publicly at some point.
I tell my students that my job is to teach them how to practice this week. The problem sometimes is that they don't listen very well. That is especially true when they come to their lessons and start off by saying: ""This is what I did this week."" When I designed my bagpipe instruction program; ""Bagpipes For Beginners"", I designed it like a piano teaching program. I use tunes to teach skills. I found that most of the older programs lacked motivation. The majority of my students sign up with me because they are curious and not committed to playing the pipes, yet. I tell everyone one of them to warm up with the skills and tunes that you are familiar with and have done already. What that does is reinforce what they already know, and it also extends the amount of time that they practice each day. I believe that to be a good bagpiper in today's competitive market place you need to have a varied repertoire of tunes as people don't want to hear ""Scotland the Brave"" played a million times over. My experience has been that when a student jumps right into the development part (the newest tune) of their practicing they get frustrated quickly and cut practice time shorter. The question is this: How long do you want your initial development process to be? Do you want a 20 year development plan, a 10 year development plan or a 5 year development plan? Personally, I'd rather do it in 5 years so that I have more time to enjoy playing this instrument well. How about you?"
Gary Guth is a professional bagpiper with over 45 years of playing experience and has been teaching bagpipes full time for the last 20 years. He has written "Bagpipes For Beginners", "the Bagpipe Hymnal", and " A Piper's Christmas".