Derrick Young: Continue The Heritage

Being first generation Canadian to parents from Glasgow, I have been around Scottish culture and people my entire life. Back in the mid-90s, I was at a highland games here in Ontario and decided this was something I wanted to learn and do to continue the heritage.

Originally I wanted to just be able to play a few tunes - the standard massed band tunes and a couple of other "popular" tunes from my childhood. I had purchased a recording called "An Evening of Champions" that featured Michael Grey, James McGillivray, Robert Worrall, William Livingstone, and Bruce Gandy. This changed everything and opened me up to so much more in pipe music and was the real inspiration and motivation to try and learn this instrument.

I was progressing as expected for a beginner and enjoying the journey. Then I was persuaded to do a Grade 5 solo competition when I really was not ready. Nerves got the better of me and I forgot the second part of the 2/4 march, so just looped through and filled in with some of the first part. It was a horrible experience. It basically led me to give up and not touch pipes or practice chanter for the past 5 years.

Fear of that competition still haunts me everyday. I always feel that I am not musical enough or there is no way that I will memorize all these tunes.

I've quit piping twice. First time was back when I first started in early 2000s. That was more due to life - I had a 3 hour commute to work each way, which didn't leave a ton of free time to get to band practice weekly. I came back to it 15 or so years later when I started to have some more time in my life. That time, I quit from frustration.

Coming back now, I struggle with memorization and rhythm. I realized that rhythm has always been a struggle, so I am going back to basics here at Dojo U and going to fix this.

I first found the Dojo 5 years ago when I was looking for instruction on learning tunes. When I gave up, I canceled the subscription I had. So when I decided to make a 12 month commitment to getting back at this, I came back to the Dojo right away.

It is a great place to be as long as you commit to the process. The new courses and the focus on mastery for bagpipe freedom rather than regurgitating the notes on the page is something I am enjoying. With the work I'm doing now, I will hopefully sound more "musical" and less robotic.

I am hoping my new outlook and attitude will allow me to put away my own prejudices on memorization and succeed this time. The new format and building blocks is giving me confidence that I actually am capable of doing this.

Derrick Young, Toronto, Canada

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