Norman Crerar: You're Never Too Old

I got started in piping when I was organizing a 200 mile Voyageur Canoe Brigade of 15 canoes, 100 paddlers and a stage show telling the Canadian story. We decided we needed a piper to pipe "David Thompson" off the stage and we couldn't afford it, so I volunteered thinking, what the heck, 9 notes, I have this covered!

I only needed to play Amazing Grace but I took lessons for 6 months and by the time I went through the learning process with my instructor, the P/M of the local pipe band, he said I was doing so well that in another 6 months I could join the pipe band!

I was 68 when I started taking lessons. I had stiff fingers and was told it would be two years on the practice chanter before picking up pipes. In three months I had pipes and could get three drones going and started working on the simple tunes I was learning. Another three months later of very hard work and was able to play that performance of Amazing Grace mentioned above!

I do not believe I ever felt too old (whatever that age is) but did realize my limitations when it took me months to get the tune in my head to be aligned with the notes on the music sheet and be able to play at speed and march with the band.

My Dojo membership developed through a call to Andrew, a chat with Carl and the help they gave me with the massed band tunes for a Tattoo four years ago.  The Dojo is a good community and the amount of help, sessions, clinics and encouragement is even overwhelming at times!

The Dojo has motivated me to "keep at it" as I am now the oldest member of our pipe band and still have stiff fingers and trouble sight reading music. When I first purchased my pipes 13 years ago, I did not even know the parts of them, how they fit together or how to maintain them. With help from the Dojo (and others to help me translate English to English) I am completely comfortable.

I  wish the officers of our pipe band would follow the Dojo tuning method as there is no "method", other than, "this is how I learned". I have taught skiing for over 50 years and know and appreciate a "system".

Thanks Dojo!

Norman C from Vernon, BC

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