After 25 years of teaching this instrument, I have found a great deal of psychology is mixed in with instructing students how to play our Great Highland Bagpipe. For instance:
Students move forward one tune at a time!
When I started teaching and looking at methods, I found that the majority of those methods assumed that a new student was 100% on board with the program and was going to persevere regardless of the content. I have found that students want to learn to play Amazing Grace and Scotland the Brave. My book “Bagpipes For Beginners” was designed with that in mind. I also thought that they should learn the Massed Band Tunes as that is what the majority of bagpipers can play together.
If the bagpipe is too hard to blow, it goes into the closet!
The bagpipe is unmerciful! It needs to be played daily so that you can keep up with the physicality of playing it. However, there are several factors beyond that which could cause your bagpipe to be too hard to blow:
1) Your stocks could be loose.
2) Your joints aren’t hemped tight enough.
3) Your drone seats may be leaking.
4) Your drones may be using too much air.
5) Your chanter reed may be too hard for you to blow.
6) You may not be ready to blow 3 drones and a chanter yet.
Students spend money on things that don’t work instead of calling for help!
Look, I can save you a lot of time, money and aggravation! If you have a problem with your bagpipe, call me on the phone. Going online and buying something just to buy it is a waste of money and aggravation. There are specific products to solve bagpipe problems. For example: Drone valves are used to solve strike-in problems. Moisture control products solve wet blowing issues.
The bagpipe is unrelenting and will punish you for not giving it attention!
If you are serious about playing the bagpipe, you will never succeed if you play this instrument once a week. You need to do something daily. Playing the bagpipe is a habit. It is something that I do every day. If you are bored with the bagpipe, you need to learn a new tune. New tunes keep the experience fresh. That’s one of the goals of bagpipe lessons; to teach you how to develop new tunes.
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Here are some tools to help your bagpipe psychologically: