The first round of the Bagadou championships was held in Brest, Brittany a couple of weeks ago. An amazing event. The contest features the top level bagad ensembles performing for about ten minutes to a relatively large audience by the sound of it. Viewers of the online live stream numbered near 2,000 at one point. [...]
Developing one’s musicianship as a solo bagpiper or pipe bandsman can be hard work, and it’s easy to fall back on the competitive music that demands so much of our time to polish. But, as musicians, we owe it to ourselves to develop a broader view.
The fall and winter months are the perfect time for setting musical goals and developing and building skills to improve your bagpiping. Sometimes though, setting goals can be daunting and the day-to-day trappings of life distract us. We lose track and the work toward our goals, even if you eventually get there, seems never ending. [...]
We pipers love the latest and greatest music produced by our favorite soloists and pipe bands, don’t we? We want to play the same exciting stuff we hear. This impulse inevitably leads us on a search for the scores of said tunes. Unfortunately, these half-hearted searches lead many to internet forums asking others where it [...]
Those of us who try hard at this Highland bagpipe thing for a decent length of time will realize that it is not enough to simply consider oneself a “piper.” If you are to keep making significant progress, you must consider yourself a “musician.” Learning how to play the Highland bagpipes can make you a [...]
Go back and read Part I: Bagpipe Competitions are Dead The merry-go-round goes round and round… The sheer monotony of bagpipe competition here in the US can wear you down after a while. As I mentioned in Part I of this piece, Bill Livingstone once likened competition to a “millstone,” and he’s right. Lots of [...]
It’s spring approaching summer here in the eastern US. And you know what that means? That means the Highland games and bagpipe competition circuit has begun in earnest. Many pipers are eagerly pressing their kilts, spending hours of practice time, and preparing their instruments for…well, another year of the same merry-go-round of MSRs, piobaireachds, and [...]
It’s a sign of the passage of time when the great ones embark on their journey to Tir nan Og. Donald MacPherson had his heyday long before the internet, so most of us must be content with the experience of seeing him in recital, or hearing the tunes on “A Living Legend.” Even in his [...]keep looking »