I recently had a student mention to me that their uncle told them Donald MacPherson could play his bagpipes with his nose. And, I have definitely heard this turn of phrase passed around as a joke many times in my piping career.
But, it's not a joke! Not really.
I don't know if anyone can actually play their pipes with their nose, BUT, the concept is based in the fact that the best pipers play an easy instrument.
I remember as a kid at the Invermark Piping School, I was in class with the great Norman Gillies and it was time to play my pipes for the class. I had a new reed in, and it was HARD. So hard that no good music was coming out. In front of my friends, I was kind of embarrassing myself. (This was supposed to be the advanced class!)
Norman waved his hand at me to stop, and then said, "why don't you just play mine?" He motioned to his pipes, already set up across the room (I think this might have been the true point of today's class).
So, I went over and picked them up, and started to blow into them. I struck them up and…
… I had blown so hard on them that all the drones immediately shut off and the chanter squeaked something awful!
Norman laughed a bit at me, and just said to try again, but to blow a bit easier.
I did so, and was blown away (no pun intended). These pipes were easy! They sounded WAY better than mine ever did. And, of course, the biggest payoff was -- I could focus on the music and the fingerwork! I played great and thoroughly, majorly enjoyed myself.
I'll never forget that pivotal epiphany. If your pipes are hard to play, you're doing it wrong. Big time.
Now for the big question: If your pipes are indeed a struggle, but you can't seem to solve the issue, what do you do?
Well, at the Dojo we have a system for that. It's designed for beginners transitioning to the pipes but ALSO for intermediates that need a bagpipe "reboot." And, the system all distilled in an online course that you can begin digesting TODAY.
I hope this course helps illustrate to you that, despite what you may think, despite what you may have heard, the best players play comfortable bagpipes (and that it's simple for you to do the same).
You could be moments away from your own breakthrough, where piping is suddenly a true joy because you're comfortable while you're playing.