James Neal: For the Herd

Piping is something I always wanted to do. I love pipe music. I listened to it at every opportunity and desired to find some connection to my Celtic past. I started in Florida in 2004, and went for a year without getting fully on the pipes. I didn't have specific goals beyond being able to play, but have gravitated to service piping for local fire and police. A family emergency required me to move to Oklahoma. I decided to return to piping in April 2018 and I found Dojo online.

I felt lost and overwhelmed for quite some time, but I am slowly settling in. Being a moldering geriatric is definitely a concern. However, I'm dedicated to get as much joy as possible from my piping in the time I have left.

Funny sidebar: an interesting encounter occurred while trying to find a remote place to practice: While working as a cross-country truck driver, I stopped in a remote pull-off in Texas to practice awhile. A herd of cows stood in the shade of a grove of trees a quarter mile away. As soon as I started playing, they headed my way and about 40-50 head lined up along the barbed wire fence and watched and listened intently. My last tune was Amazing Grace, at which they wheeled and the herd ran away at nearly full speed. Getting back on the road, I found a slaughter house a couple miles further down the road. I commented to my wife "See, even cows understand what Amazing Grace is for!"

The Dojo classes have been phenomenal and even that is eclipsed by access to instructors. Dojo has shown areas of concern and provided instruction on how to correct the issue. Carl was a particular help in solving (hopefully) the D throw challenge. The Dojo has even encouraged my serving as steward for highland game piping competition. Thanks Dojo!

James N from Fairview, OK USA

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