I started piping 50 years ago in an Air Cadet Pipe Band in Sudbury, Ontario. At age 16, I was the Pipe Sgt. of the band. I then went to the Royal Military College for 4 years and played with the pipe band there. I had a great teacher who gave individual attention and encouragement. He had me write out each tune in a music notation book ensuring that the tune was perfectly written out before teaching it. He also challenged me and gave me respect and responsibility.
I wanted to be one of the best pipers in the world. I was inspired by the top pipe bands when I played in the massed bands at the World Scottish Festival at the Toronto CNE in 1972 with 1000 pipers and 72 bands.
I am passionate about piping to the point of obsession with perfecting the quality of my playing. Piping has been my outlet, my form of meditation or comfort that has enabled me to overcome any difficulties in my life. I am aware I have some physical limitations in achieving the caliber of piping I would like but I am determined to improve and overcome these.
I heard from other pipers about the Piper's Dojo and the great guest instructors they had on often. Shortly after hearing about it I signed up. I am enjoying the experience. The class groups are relatively small. There is time for individual critiques and suggestions for improvement. The members in each class are very supportive of each other and provide positive criticism and encouragement. The quality of the instruction is excellent!
Prior to Dojo I have had difficulty with rhythm in my playing and have not been able to progress in the quality of my piping. I have noticed improvement in my piping and have learned the importance of relearning the basics. Plus my bagpipes are easier to play! I have always enjoyed playing my pipes even for hours at a time however I have learned through Dojo how to set up my bagpipes so that they are much easier to play and I can now play in a much more relaxed fashion.
The Dojo method has given me greater insight into fundamental technique basics by breaking down embellishments and simplifying tunes to allow a gradual progressive improvement in technique. Dojo gives me a sense of belonging to a group of pipers who are interested in learning and improving.
With Covid and the Lockdowns piping has been more challenging. I work as a physician in Long Term Care Nursing Homes. I was able to play a televised recording for the Remembrance Day ceremony and play in the courtyard of the nursing home for the residents. I was also able to play a recorded 45 minute medley of tunes for Robbie Burns day. Thanks Dojo!
Dan Cameron from Ontario, Canada