Joe Crable: Get Out The Goose

I've always wanted to learn to play the pipes. When I retired and moved back to the mainland, the first time I met a pipe band I introduced myself and asked how to get started. Bought a practice chanter and learned from the band instructor. I'm now a kilted member of the Spokane County Pipes & Drums.

Initially I just wanted to get the "goose" out of my chanter; it sounded like there was one hiding in there. I even have a goose pic on the back of my tune binder to remind me of my beginnings. I enjoy playing with the band, but the goal would be proficiency as a soloist or a just a few others.

Not really any "key" moments. Maybe some genetic memory percolating up. The sound of the pipes has always struck a chord.

Key struggles. Timing to hit the note on the beat. Dojo U instructors pointed that out at first. I had no idea how off I was. Secondly would be getting mental blocks removed so that my fingers move when and how much they need to. The dynamics of all this coordination and challenges I find super interesting, sometimes frustrating, but always a goal that can be met with work and understanding.

I have humbly had a few limiting beliefs, i.e. excuses. The main one being "It will take forever to get to the proficiency level I'm looking to achieve unless I have all the time in the world." Time management and preservation are not my strong points. I just have to be dedicated, humble and honest. No excuses, but good actions.

After being a member of my band for a few months, the president introduced me to the Dojo and I looked them up. I wish I had found them years ago when I was still in Hawaii, I could have started my journey a decade ago. Yikes. I was 52, why wait any longer for a life long desire?

Good friends promote good habits. Pipes are challenging, and it really helps to know the right way, or better ways, to do something. Even if you have an instructor, what the Dojo offers I've found essential to helping me meet my goal. It's all in one place and I like it here.

I still feel like I'm just getting started, but the Dojo has helped me understand the pipes as an instrument. The mechanics and techniques of how to properly set them up to get the best out of them. The "transitioning to the pipes" course did that. Also, the input from the instructors broadening my perspective in the actual playing is helping to avoid having to come back too much and relearn fundamentals. The before and after with the transitioning course was pretty clear. Before: awkward setup, funky non-synced sounds. After: wow... When the drones are set up right, 1+1+1 = more than 3. That is so very cool. When pipes are set up right and in tune, it's like playing a choir, which is my background.

The Dojo has helped by providing a framework and support system to accomplish my goal. Instead of being left with my spineless discipline alone that's often left me in the nulls, the Dojo provides what I need to keep the mission healthy and moving. Like a good friend would do. Honest constructive criticism always helps.

Joe Crable, Spokane Valley, USA

Related Articles