Michelle Read: Inspired by ANZAC Parades

I saw a documentary in 2011 about pipe bands playing at ANZAC day parades. I wanted to play in a band and march in parades. The band in the show wanted more players to join and so I looked up where my local band was. So it began..

My mum was mesmerized by pipes and I also found them enchanting. As a learning piper, I found that there was so much information at once. I was trying to memorize tunes, learn skills and transfer on to pipes all at once. I never knew what to practice in my limited practice time, and I thought that maybe I didn't have enough time to learn to play. I just was getting no where; I was so frustrated I was ready to give it up.

So I was looking for information about why on earth my pipes were so hard to blow and found the Dojo. I purchased the tuning course straight away. It took me a while to really commit to a membership, once I made some time (thanks lockdown) I joined up and really went for it, live lessons etc.

Everyone here wants you to succeed, it's really encouraging. At the same time the tutors have high expectations – which is important because you know you're learning good solid skills.

The Dojo has helped me build some really strong foundation skills and enhance my practice. My PM used to just set my pipes, so I wouldn't know if things weren't going right ie. drone reeds were loose or air was leaking. Now I can recognise these things and problem solve for myself. This makes my pipes easier to play overall. Such a win!

I'm getting better at tuning. I definitely understand the process and can practice the skill independently.

Learning tunes is also easier! Though I haven't been doing this long so I've get to see if the tunes stick in my memory - which would be huge for me! It's also really making sure my underlying technique is really strong.

I'm really enjoying connecting with the piping community on the Dojo too. I feel like I enjoy the pipes and pipe music a lot more because I have a wider connection.

Michelle Read, Auckland, New Zealand

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