Mona Gleysteen: Shaking My Soul

I was at a conference in Boston in the 1980s and during a break, a pipe band came into the convention center's three-storey atrium and played. Wow! The music felt like it was shaking my soul. I was hooked!

I started collecting all the CDs with bagpipe music I could find. Then in the early 90s, I read an advertisement in the local newspaper regarding bagpipe lessons given by a local fellow. Of course I was interested.

I want to play for my own enjoyment and that of my family and friends. I played for my Dad’s and my uncle’s and others' funerals. I also play the wake-up reverie at a church camp that we attend.

I like all kinds of music but I have always been especially drawn to bagpipe and Celtic music. I have ancestors from Scotland and Ireland but I loved bagpipe music before I became aware of my heritage.

My piping life is much better since joining the Dojo. I’m not geographically close to any instruction or bands. I’m quite isolated that way, but now I have friends and acquaintances all over the world, which is awesome. I feel connected to these people as they have really encouraged me to continue working and improving.

Tuning has always been a challenge for me, but I feel that reducing my crossing noises has been my biggest challenge. I don’t recall my original instructor even mentioning crossing noises! So I have been working to decrease the bad habits I have had for almost 20 years.

If it weren’t for the Dojo Community, I wouldn’t have any opportunity for bagpiping lessons or playing, especially last year but really this year as well. I found a like minded community of bagpipers of which to be a part.

Before I was reluctant to do my own tuning or setting up my pipes but I’m much more confident after my experience with the Dojo, and the Dojo method of breaking tunes down into manageable sections has been very helpful.

I do have more confidence and am proud of my improvement. I think the 11 Commandments of Mastery are going to help me improve even more.

Mona Gleysteen, South Dakota, USA

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