Gayle Scott: Keep Plugging Away

My father was a PM and created his own band, which is still playing today. My uncles and cousins also played, but women were told to do Highland Dancing.

After my father died, I got hold of his old Lawries and struggled to make a sound, so I ended up getting an instructor. I wanted to play my father's pipes are my niece's wedding, so I had a goal. I also really wanted to play in a band.

I grew up with piping in my house so it was always something heard in the background. I had never thought I could play myself until I discovered I could!

I really struggled to get going on the bagpipes and knew nothing about different reeds, I was attempting to play pipes that hadn't been played for 50 years, not realising it would never happen! I thought that I was too old to learn to play, but at the same time, I had just returned to University for another degree, so thought I could just take my time with it and enjoy any progress.

I have so frequently wanted to throw my pipes (or Dad's pipes) out the window out of frustration, I have thought I would never ever be able to do the movements required, but kept going back to it. Sucker for punishment!

My instructor at the time (2013) suggested I log into the Dojo to help and I was welcome for the classes we had in those days.

I originally signed up in 2013 but let the membership slip over the years as life and work got in the way.

I came back to the Dojo around 2018 and found the changes that had taken place during my absence gave it a sense of more community feeling, some in the class were so very encouraging that it motivated me to keep returning. The instructors were new and I enjoyed a new sense of learning from different instructors.

The Dojo has motivated me to new challenges, helped me with so many of the little things around playing pipes, helped me with gaining new friends with common interests and helped me want to be a better player.

The Dojo has been instrumental in my playing around with my bag, my blowpipe, my way of playing and most of all, that it can be easy to play - what a massive revelation!

It's also been brilliant at helping me tune, and then fine tuning and learning how to hear my tuning.

Tunes are much easier to learn now through the Dojo method, I have learnt how to break a tune down and identify those areas that may be problematic. Finger technique is still work in progress!

Dojo U has been a staple to me over many years, I have come and gone many times over the years, but keep coming back. I have learnt I don't have to be or sound perfect, I just need to keep plugging away at it.

Gayle Scott, Canberra, Australia

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