Katie Deuchar: Taming the Beast

I heard the bagpipes in Edinburgh and loved the sound and the music. I was hooked from that day, four years ago.

I wanted to play in a good pipe band and gain my grades. I joined a pipe band to begin, but in the end I had to look for something to help.

I have special needs and found this site helped to engrain what my tutor was teaching me and much more. I initially thought I wouldn't be able to learn because of my autism and learning difficulties, but with the help of Dojo and my tutor I have progressed better than I ever dreamed of.

Without the Dojo I would have found it more difficult to progress, if in fact I would have made it at all. It has helped me to understand not just the beauty of the instrument but that of the importance of understanding the music and the beauty of the music that can come of the instrument itself. I am enjoying my instrument now I understand it more and loving the learning of new tunes every week.

My biggest issue was learning to read the music and implement it onto the pipes. Often I would be very shy to play in front of people. Keeping the instrument going to start with it was a bit like wrestling an octopus to begin with but I have learned to "tame the beast", as they say.

I was often told I'd never do it, but I didn't want to listen to negative people. I struggled but I'm doing it and I will keep on doing it. I may not get it right straight away but I believe that if you fail its only a 'First Attempt In Learning', and try and try again. The only thing limiting a person is themselves.

I'm not a person who gives up. I may get knocked down but I get up and I keep getting up.

I didn't used to have much of a clue with the pipes themselves, band always set them up and the tutor was helping but having the tuition videos outside of tutor helped immensely.

Now when I play the people are actually still in the park where I practice. Now that's a result! I am also phrasing a lot better and can memorize tunes. I'm playing better.

I progressed, found my confidence I can do it, and stuck with it, and I'm now in a 4A band – something I thought I'd never see!

I am enjoying my instrument now, and playing the music I can now read and fully understand. However you never stop learning! Even the best pipers in the world will always have a learning day.

Dojo has made me more confident playing in a band and in front of others. I even have people approach me where I practice everyday and they have said how wonderful it is to hear.

I have played at funerals, weddings and other gigs (only friends and family or with the band so far).

I have told many other people about the Dojo. They'd be mad not to join up.

Katie Deuchar, Falkirk, Scotland

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