Stop, Isolate and Drill (Not “Stop, Drop and Roll”.

DAILY BAGPIPE ADVICE: When you catch on fire, you STOP, DROP AND ROLL. When you’re practicing the bagpipe and you hit a bump in the music, you STOP, ISOLATE AND DRILL. Stop, drop and roll is a very effective way to put out a fire on your body. You probably...

Rhythm VS Technique

I’ve written a lot about rhythm over the years.  Rhythm is my specialty!  Why?  Simply because I think the difference between being an accomplished bagpiper and being dependent on other players has to do with rhythm.  Because the bagpipe is a folk instrument, it is...

Getting the Most For Your Money

DAILY BAGPIPE ADVICE: “Your bagpipe teacher’s job is to teach you how to practice during the week after your lesson.   If you are doing your own thing, then you aren’t paying enough money…or enough attention.” There are a few different ways that you can...

Weekly Bagpipe Advice Number 2

“Daily Bagpipe Advice:  Big, Slow & Open is a method of practicing the Great Highland Bagpipe, not a porn film!” Because playing the Great Highland Bagpipe is about precision, learning how to practice this instrument effectively is key to becoming a successful...

Weekly Bagpipe Advice #1

DAILY BAGPIPE ADVICE: “If you want to be a bagpiper, you need to work on it DAILY! Make an appointment with yourself every day. If someone calls you and pulls you off schedule, you can’t cancel it you have to move it.” As I was thinking about something useful I...
Interested in Playing the Bagpipes? Here’s How to Get Started!

Interested in Playing the Bagpipes? Here’s How to Get Started!

  You’ve probably heard the phrase “everything happens for a reason.” Many of us believe this is true and that – ultimately – we wind up where we’re supposed to be, doing what we should be doing. I think about this when I ponder how my bagpiping got...
Which Path Will You Choose?

Which Path Will You Choose?

In the 30 years since I began teaching, I have seen one of two things happen to most students. Initially, they are excited to learn to play the bagpipes. They come to lessons weekly, practice daily, and progress to the point where they are ready to buy pipes. At that...

Warning! Some types of practicing may be hazardous to your home!

  I hear a lot of funny stories from my students about practicing. Here’s one of them. One of the hardest parts of learning to play the pipes is getting the hand position “right”. The hands need to be flat and straight and slightly angled downward almost at a...
Warning:  BTO’s can limit and even damage your bagpipe career!

Warning: BTO’s can limit and even damage your bagpipe career!

In the past I’ve written about the importance of a tune list and the dangers of “plate spinning”. Here’s a little more on that topic. Bagpipers are always excited about new tunes and different music. That’s great! However, there are some hard and...

The Tune Pyramid

  In addition to being musical, playing the bagpipe is all about precision. There’s no denying that our instrument is very loud. Because of that, it not only needs to be tuned to precision, but it needs to be played to precision. In most cases, we memorize all...