Darrell Lovins: I Felt Invigorated

It all started with listening to Kenneth McKellar, First Tenor of Scotland in the 1960s and attending a Black Watch concert. Another Black Watch concert and association with some Pensacola pipers and I was off on to this wonderful obsession.

I wanted to learn to play because of Cameron Highlanders in San Diego and parades... a parade isn't one without a pipe band. My first goal was play Amazing Grace competently and then to play the tunes of the songs I had been singing for decades (Skye Boat Song, Mingulay Boat Song, Scots Wha H'ae, and many more.)

As a learning bagpiper, I struggled with accurate rhythm on tunes that I did not know as songs, tuning, and setting up an air-efficient bagpipe. Strathspeys, Jigs, Reels, Hornpipes, Piobaireachd were really beyond me, and slow airs and marches were more my style.

I considered quitting once or twice, but only in a fleeting fashion. Generally it was the personality of some of the folks I encountered in band settings and nothing inherent in the instrument itself. More than a few piping snobs exist on this planet.

I first encountered Dojo University when I saw an interesting item on the tuning cycle, thought I would check it out, and then some guy named Andrew flooded my inbox with emails.

The Dojo Community is a good place to be - it has folks of all levels and interest with good resources.

I think the biggest asset was getting an air-efficient bagpipe. Before having a refined air-efficient pipe I felt beat up. After... I felt invigorated. Tuning my pipes and learning tunes are both easier too, and I added a bit of refinement to what my instructors have provided.

I have connected at Dojo with a good number of folks that I have met at games.

Darrell Lovins, Tennessee, USA

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