I started my piping journey back in 2005 by taking chanter lessons with the MHPB. Eventually I got good enough to march out with the band in 2010. Originally, I just wanted to pipe with a social drinking band, have fun and participate in events and parades. The technique or tuning didn't matter so much to me. I even remember my dad taking chanter lessons way back when and I figured I would join in and see if I could learn as well. I mean its only 9 notes right? Plus I always liked the way they sounded.
There was a time in the very beginning when I thought about quitting. I was marching out with the band in not so great weather and playing a terribly hard and inefficient bagpipe. I'll always remember it as the Bristol 4th of July Death march!
The Dojo has helped me greatly. We are learning from top notch players who have been through just about everything the bagpipe world has thrown at them. Also the guest speakers are wonderful and have invaluable knowledge. The Sunday Sessions are a great resource.
At the very least Dojo has given me an understanding of mechanics of instrument set up. If it becomes less comfortable I know how to troubleshoot and make it comfortable again. I also understand the mechanics behind tuning much better than I have previous to Dojo.
I think that being exposed to different tunes on a weekly basis has made a significant change in learning tunes and memorization. I am definitely more confident in my piping. I feel like the events like funerals are not a big deal given the understanding I have with the participation at Dojo. I even won 1st place in my 6/8 grade 4 competition back when we where competing at Hudson Valley. I was very excited with this result! Thanks Dojo!
Ephraim D from Groton, Connecticut