If you're new at Dojo U, it's a lot like your first day at any other school. You check your class schedule, look at the courses you're going to take, and wonder if the other kids are going to like you...
Just kidding! At Dojo we're some of the friendliest and supportive pipers you'll meet!
However, we do sometimes get some pipers who join us and bring along some preconceptions that we need to question.
I'm not talking about different teaching styles or approaches to tunes or the like – those are fine, and welcome, as they make great points for us to discuss and for everyone to learn!
I'm talking about the new students who think they're an advanced piper.
Maybe they play in a high competition grade. Maybe they have a great teacher. Maybe they've been playing for 40 years and won a bunch of medals where they're from.
It's important, if this describes you, that you realise that none of that stuff means anything here at the Dojo.
This kind of new student will often show up to their first ever class, look at what everyone else is talking about and playing, and think, "Oh this is just beginner stuff."
Sometimes, bolder 'advanced' players try to tell our exceptional teaching staff, who are all closely trained in our Dojo curriculum and programs, that they're teaching stuff "wrong".
Others again will dominate our Discord channels, handing out all kinds of advice to other students even though they haven't yet shown that they have the credentials to give that advice.
Now, I'm not saying you're not an advanced-level player. Not at all.
As a matter of fact, I hope you're an advanced player – the world needs as many as we can get.
Here's what I'm saying: if you'd classify yourself as 'advanced' – that's fine!
I just want you to prove it.
Ideally, you'd do that by taking our 11 Commandments of Mastery course, gliding through the five challenges, and then working your way quickly through our Bagpipe Freedom Phases. I did it, and we ask that all of our staff either gets it done or continues working diligently at it until they do.
We've developed this integrated curriculum of courses through tried and true methods over a decade of teaching thousands of pipers to improve, and can help any piper at any level to get better at playing pipes.
If you still doubt that that's true, and aren't sure that we have anything that can help you, personally... well I would ask that you send us a recording of yourself playing some relatively unfamiliar material while exhibiting full control over the 10 essential 'active' bagpiping skills:
- Rhythmic control
- Scale navigation (aka avoiding crossing noises)
- Excellent gracenote quality
- Physical blowing mechanics
- Tuning the drones to each other
- Identifying the chanter reed’s sweet spot
- Tuning drones to the chanter
- Awareness/avoidance of mental blowing anomalies
- Embellishment mechanics
- Elementary ‘expression’ (primarily, proper ‘ALAP/ASAP’ execution of dot-cut figures).
Once you can do that?
Wonderful! I'll acknowledge your skill and ability, and we can all agree you're an advanced piper.
But you have to prove it first.
If you're a Dojo student, make sure you've started by working your way through our 11 Commandments of Mastery course, and then start looking at our Tune of the Week each week as part of the Bagpipe Freedom program.
If you're not yet a Dojo Student, we'd love to welcome you! You can take the 11 Commandments course, which covers the 11 essential mindset tweaks you'll need to prepare yourself for mastery, or explore our monthly membership options and join us as a student, where you can work towards bagpipe freedom in a guided way with hundreds of other pipers around the world cheering you on!