Ben Fortune: I Will be a Piper!

I'll never forget walking out of the train station in Edinburgh and hearing a piper near the Scott Monument...and on the last hole I played in St Andrews, a piper was playing in the distance and it was like a dream sequence. It was very moving and emotional music, and I wanted to be able to provide that feeling to others going forward. I picked up the practice chanter after my 50th bday in May 2020, during lockdown. Originally, I just wanted to see if I could make any music with it. I mostly just want to play for friends, family, and for the neighborhood...late at night out in the street 😉

I'm still so new that everything is a struggle! However, I'd say that learning to read the music and have it come out from the pipe like it should is vexing. And my fingers get "tied together" sometimes just doing scales, so "beginner struggles" are what I'm all about. I'm glad to be here though and have the feeling that I'm already improving my technique after just a few days.

Sometimes I think things like: I'm too old, it's too hard, I don't have time, I should have started this years ago and now it's too late, it's too complicated, I can't read music. I can't do this...etc. You name it, I've felt it. But one thing I've been working on in my life happens to be something that Andrew mentioned in one of the videos: Objectivity vs Subjectivity. I'm really working on being more OBJECTIVE towards myself and cutting myself lots of slack.

"I don't suck at this - this is really, really hard and I'm doing great for someone who has never done this before". I think this change in perspective will serve me well as a beginning piper, as I've already put this in practice as a golfer (8 handicap, and had a great season playing some of the best golf I've ever 50!). I AM NOT A QUITTER. I WILL PERSEVERE. I will be a PIPER.

The Dojo has some really nice people who genuinely are in the same boat as me. And the classes I've attended so far have been helpful and the instructors (and students) are respectful, patient and constructive. I have really enjoyed the rhythm course. Learning how rhythm is  key in playing and how finger-work is really clunky and messy without good rhythm and that has helped immensely.  Plus my wife and daughter LOVE to hear me play, which is really all a guy needs.

Having this resource to help me embrace this challenge is a constant reminder that I'm going forward, learning new things, and making music while I'm at it. Thank you!

Ben F from Iowa City, Iowa

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