Brian Gilley: Learning the Dream

I've always wanted to learn and during the pandemic I decided that was a good time. We had just had another baby and for some reason I thought I wasn't busy enough.

I would like to continually progress in skill. I am in a small band but it's pretty informal. I'd love to be good enough to enter a competition someday but that's not the end for me.

I feel like there has always been an interest in the bagpipes embedded in me. I cannot really remember a time when I just started enjoying them – I always have.

My struggle has been, and continues to be, finding a chanter reed strength I'm happy with.

I have fleeting thoughts of quitting at times when I see kids play/learning and I tell myself they'll be better than me in no time, but the thoughts leave and I try to be happy that we're learning the same dream together.

I'm always spending money and fighting with finding a comfort level on the pipes. But I've put so much work into things thus far and I'm always excited of the endless opportunities that are out there that I get off my pity horse and pick up the pipes and move on.

During lockdown (COVID), I reached out to a local band and asked about learning. They said they were on hiatus due to the pandemic but mentioned that one of their members has used the Dojo. That's really how I started.

The Dojo is a great place to reach out and get immediate help for people like myself that do not have a local, in person, instructor and am just learning. It has given me direction and a place to reach out when I'm stuck. I also find that most of the personalities in the piping world match mine so even though we've never met, I feel like we're all friends.

Making my pipes comfortable to play is something I continue to struggle with. I have been fighting with finding the right fit for almost two years but I recently posted a video for feedback and instantly got the support I needed.

I really enjoy the Dojo as not only an instruction tool but as a social platform for sharing the interest of piping. I have found that it has made me happier in general having an outlet to share my passion. Although I can only go up in skill, I am very proud with not giving up and the support I get at the Dojo has helped me with that.

I have stuck with piping after starting it almost 2 years ago, which is huge for me. Usually I get a wild hair and put a ton of effort into it and quit. That has been good for me as a person. I also have two little girls (2 & 4) and they are really excited about my piping and try to get involved which really makes me happy.

Brian Gilley, Sioux Falls, United States

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