My father played before I came along. My uncle, Colin Craig, was at the time an open grade solo player. He was my inspiration. I remember the times he passed through and played for us in our home. I loved it. I just sort of thought the pipes were great so my father started me off on the journey. I was about 8.
We lived in the country back then so there wasn't a band any where near by. I saw my uncle occasionally and he encouraged me. I hoped I would be able to play reasonably well one day. My first 10 years I was basically on my own. I used to listen to band recitals on the radio and it sounded like fun. It was another 10 years until I actually played in a band for a radio recital in Christchurch NZ in 1963.
Dad got me started onto the pipes and it was tough going. It wasn't easy trying to get cane reeds going and there was no such thing as selecting a suitable chanter reed. We had to make do with what we had. My tuning skills were very minimal... the noise must have been terrible!
I think there were times when I felt like giving up. By todays standards I wasn't getting good tuition--certainly far removed from Dojo methods!!! Fortunately my wife saw the Dojo on Facebook and told me about it so I looked it up on computer and it seemed pretty good to me. This was 67 years after I first picked up a chanter!
It seems to me that Dojo gives a complete bagpipe platform. One could be absorbed in it 24/7. I know my playing has improved. Lessons on technique, rhythm, tuning, maintenance, and more have all been a great help. I'm probably playing as much as I ever have and still get so much enjoyment from it! Also, my blowstick was too long which was caught by the Dojo staff right away. Making it shorter made a big difference. Learning to calibrate the drones eased up the effort and I can play now for longer with more comfort.
I'm happy that I can play to my ability and I enjoy giving other people some joy as well!
Hamish B from Perth Australia