I started piping as a senior in high school. I was a musician in the high school band program, and was fortunate to have a teacher who was a bagpiper that taught me the basics. My goal was to be a solo piper that could proficiently play through a variety of repertoire.
I have been playing instruments for a long time, and I also always had a close connection to my heritage. I was always enamored by the unique sound of the pipes, and eventually I took the plunge when I met someone who could get me started.
I struggled most with the intricacies that make the bagpipes unique. Instrument maintenance, as well as executing grace notes in a consistent and accurate manner were what challenged me the most.
I took a break during college to focus my attention to other instruments for my major, but quickly got back into piping when I finished.
I heard about Dojo a while ago when I believe it was just starting. I was purchasing items from the store and eventually saw something about the online lessons. After college I joined a band and my pipe major recommended I give it a try.
It took a while after I initially heard about it, mostly because of being busy during that phase of my life.
I enjoy all of the camaraderie in the Dojo site itself. It's such a welcoming community that is highly active on social media even outside of the main site. Dojo mostly helped me to immerse myself in bagpiping as lifestyle and not just a hobby. Before Dojo I wasn't using an airtight or efficient bag. I didn't realize how hard I was working to play, and it really made practicing a grind. Once I got my instrument calibrated correctly it made practicing and performing a joy! I also now execute my grace notes much more consistently and accurately.
Dojo has exposed me to the lifestyle and community of piping. I have made so many friends and have achieved many musical feats I didn't think were possible before.
Devon Lybarger, Pennsylvania, USA