Do you ever stop and think about what inspires you as a player and musician? I don’t know many active pipers and drummers who are not inspired in some way after watching high-level performances. The desire to expose ourselves more to that which inspires us would then mean more concerts, more attendance at premier events, and more involvement. But is this the case?
Many a bagpiper and drummer seem content with a routine of regular rehearsal (solo or band) with travel on the weekends to summer games. (And we encourage more of that!) But part of developing as a player is not just indulging in your routine. It is also participating in what the greater community has to offer. It means attending the concerts, recitals, workshops, and high-level solo competitions that may not be a “necessary” part of your active routine, but may very well be essential to your overall development as a performer, as well as essential to your personal connection with the music. Yes, everyone is busy, busy, busy. But is it too much of a strain on anyone’s schedule to attend at least two (local or regional) events during the course of the year that are not a normal part of your competitive activities? This being the week of Piping Live! in Glasgow leading to the ultimate pipe band experience at the Worlds, I’m sure there will be plenty of inspiration to go around—but that is only one, large series of events in one location of the world. Traveling to a local concert or games/contest (big or small) as a spectator to simply take in the performances and the craic brings subtle rewards, and the inspiration and excitement you feel can influence your music in a profound way.