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 could say each day for a month, this was my first post. Why? Well, most of my students have been thinking about playing the bagpipe for some time. The conundrum is that taking this notion from thought or being “something nice to do” to “I’m going to do it” takes some preparation.
I always tell perspective students that, if I were them, I wouldn’t buy a thing unless I’ve talked to someone else that already plays the bagpipe. Coming to a website or blog like this is a good start.
The biggest mistake people make is spending their hard-earned money on bagpipes or bagpipe-related items without any guidance. This costs them lots of cash and aggravation, and if they quit they feel especially guilty.
You only need the following to get started:
- A Practice Chanter
- This is the instrument we use to get started. You don’t need a “Stradivarius” practice chanter to get started. Instead, choose one made of plastic. They sound good and are reliable. And, remember, YOU DON’T NEED A SET OF BAGPIPES!
- A Teacher
- This is probably the most important component to getting started. Most of my students are people who started by attempting to teach themselves how to play and became frustrated. The goal isn’t to be a student forever. The goal is to become an accomplished player in 5 years so you’ll need an experienced teacher to guide you.
- A Method
- A good method will teach you how to read music and rhythm and teach you how to develop tunes.
- Time to Practice
- Well, maybe I withdraw my previous statement. Perhaps this is the most important ingredient needed to learn any instrument. Time! You need to find time on a daily basis to practice. Most people have a phone with a calendar on it. You need to make an appointment with yourself to practice every day, even if it’s for no more than 15 minutes. You can’t cancel this appointment. The only thing you can do is to move it to another time. Giving yourself about 15 minutes per day puts you on the 10 year plan, 30 minutes puts you on the 5 year plan and 60 minutes puts you on the 2 to 5 year plan. It’s up to you!
Get the job done now so that you can enjoy playing this amazing instrument for the rest of your life.