Hugh Sagar: Dojo is Your Extended Family in Piping

About 15 years ago my son was excelling at learning the bagpipes at school. It looked like fun so I decided to give it a try. I had gone to the same school when I was young but at that time the bagpipes weren't promoted like they are now. I had learned the piano for a few years as a child but the piano is not a portable instrument and I wasn't very dedicated to it. Seeing the enjoyment my son was getting from playing the pipes and the camaraderie that came with playing in a band excited me to the challenge.

I was also a late starter and my early tutoring was limited and not given by people trained in teaching bagpipes. I had many bad habits and I have struggled to relearn to play the correct way. Participating in the live classes is a great way to learn. The other students, being from all over the world and not my own band, makes me feel more at ease.

At the end of last year I was finding my pipes more difficult to play and thought it was just me. After a class where these difficulties were discussed I went back to the basics. This led me to purchasing a new bag and reeds which has made a big difference.

Currently, the Pipe Major of my band will give us a new tune, have us play through it as a group a couple of times and then send us home to learn and memorize it. The Dojo Method has made me feel much more confident when this happens as I can go home and learn tunes more effectively and efficiently. Whilst I still have much to learn I have great confidence that the Dojo will help me along my journey.

Hugh S Northgate, Queensland, Australia

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