5 Ways to Become a Better Bagpiper

No, you’re not going to find bagpipe hints, playing tips, or tune instruction. Any improvement in your music begins with improvement in yourself. Like expanding your tune repertoire, you can expand your self-improvement repertoire as well. Use the following five tips to work toward a place where you are happy with yourself and your playing and become the piper you want to be.

  • Stop telling yourself what you “cannot” do. Constantly saying “I’m not a good piper,” or “I’m not as good as that” only reinforces the pattern we’ve set up for ourselves. Just because you’ve done things a certain way in the past does not mean it has to be that way in the future. Amaze yourself and be a better piper.
  • Stop assigning blame. Stop worrying about the past—past doubts, past failings. It’s over. Pipers and drummers obsess over mistakes—playing mistakes, errors in competition, etc. But blaming other people or things for past mistakes and circumstances only holds you back from moving forward. Focus your efforts on tomorrow.
  • Silence the voice within. It’s that voice that is always telling you “you can’t.” Don’t let the voice rule you. Every time you push yourself or strive for higher goals, that voice is screaming at you. It knows all the tricks. Tell it to “shut it!”
  • Rewrite the stories you tell yourself. We all have stories about the piper/musician/competitor we see ourselves as and the well rehearsed list of “qualities” that we have learned to believe are needed. You owe nothing to that image. If you don’t like the stories you tell yourself, tell yourself better ones. Think about the person/player you really want to be and be that.
  • Master your environment. Your environment effects what you become, and if you master changing it, you change yourself. Change it for the better. Your environment includes places, people, things, and goals. Your instrument, your band, your competitive activity. Let go of your attachments to those things and set up good ones all around you and dump the ones that do you harm. A new chanter, a new competition, a new teacher, a new band—whatever it takes.
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