Consider this scenario: For years, you thought about learning to play the bagpipe. Finally, you got the courage to take the plunge. If you were guided properly, you only needed to buy a practice chanter, a book and some lessons to get started. You made a commitment to practice every day and you followed through. You became good enough at playing the practice chanter for your instructor to declare that you’re ready for pipes. You make that investment as well. The pipes came and all of sudden your urgency started to wane. What happened???
I would surmise that you are on a plateau. Most people quit everything new after 30 days. The honeymoon is over and now it is work. You persevered. You’ve been playing the practice chanter for 9 to 12 months. You’re well on your way. So what is your next goal. Not everyone that plays the bagpipe plays in a band. However, I would tell you that band players have longer bagpipe careers than non-band players. Why is that? I’m guessing to say that when you extend your committment to playing with other people, you have an obligation to practice because you want to play with them and play well.
What if playing in a group isn’t possible for you? What do you do? Would you like to be able to play an event? A beginner playing a funeral usually means playing “Going Home” and “Amazing Grace”. Maybe a family member invites you to play at a family funeral. That might be enough motivation for you to prepare for that event. You could bookend those to pieces with some slow marches at the beginning for a prelude, and some marches that you have already learned for the postlude after Amazing Grace. If you do well, someone at your family event might invite to play for their event. The funeral market rewards people who are ready and prepared to play. I have seen other bagpipers come and go because they weren’t ready. The people that decide that are the funeral director’s themselves.
How about busking? Does your town allow busking? Standing on a corner playing for money? You aren’t begging, you’re showing off your talent and ability that you have been developing over a period of time. During a college summer, I went to a piping school in San Francisco. I took a day and went busking in San Francisco and was pretty successful.
How about playing in a competition? It’s not about beating the kilt off of your fellow bagpiper. Rather, it’s about preparing some music by a certain date to play for someone other than your instructor. The judges are not going to tell you that you suck. They’re going to give you good, positive feedback on how you can improve your playing. They want you to come back. Today, with all the Covid protocols still in place, you can do that by making a video and submitting to a Highland Games website.
You don’t always need to compete or play for money. If you’re on a plateau, you need to get out of your house!! Are you always going to be a closet bagpiper? Maybe if other people knew that you played, you might have a reason to take it to the next level. In the meantime, being obligated to your teacher once a week will help you until you find the next goal.
Would you like to breed new life into your bagpipe project? Consider a Kitchen Pipe. Easy and fun to play. Will keep you in shape to play the big pipes. Click on link to see demo.
Out of side, out of mind. That’s what happens to bagpipes in cases. Consider displaying your bagpipe out in the open where they constanly call your name for attention. Just a suggestion.