Brady Landgren: Taking the Dive

I finally bought a practice chanter (and the Green Book) in April of 2022 after wanting to learn the bagpipes nearly my entire life. I’m 38 now.

I never really had an “end goal” for learning the pipes, so that’s maybe why it took me so long to take the dive. Now that I’m into it, I definitely see the value of being able to play small family/friend events, and someday I may even get good enough to join a band.

I’ve always been enamored with the “mystic” sound of the slower airs on the highland pipes.

My fingers are older, and I’m afraid of not being able to train them to do movements that the pipes require. Prior to starting this journey, I had never even attempted to read sheet music, so tone and rhythm were a mystery to me.

Definitely thought, after the first few days of trying, that I would never be able to get my fingers to move fast enough (and in sync!) to create the pipes’ melodies. I sure haven’t thought of quitting yet, as I’m just getting started and can definitely hear daily improvement!

I’m pretty sure I did an internet search for “online bagpipe lessons” or something similar - and up came the Dojo. I signed up within the next 30 minutes! The Dojo has a great community - I can drop in asynchronously on the Discord channel, and all the members and instructors are very engaged in instructional talk as well as simple piping conversation.

Simply put - I’ve learned how to read music and rhythm in the span of about two weeks. That right there is worth its weight in gold. I’m still only on the practice chanter, but the Dojo method of teaching finger work has made me so much more confident in my scale navigation!

I am much happier with the time I spend on learning the pipes, which I think makes the learning time so much more productive. My sense of accomplishment when I finish a tune without blunders is so evident that even my wife has commented on it!

Brady Landgren, Colorado, United States

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