Raleigh Crowe: I Was Hooked and I Knew It

I don’t remember when I first heard the bagpipes but I’m sure it made the peach fuzz stand up on my spine. Years later in my retirement a cattle call went out from the local pipe band promising to teach the bagpipes in 8 weeks for $25. What a deal, right? As it turned out I didn’t learn the pipes in 8 weeks but my curiosity was unsated. I was hooked and knew it.

I wanted to play Amazing Grace at the gravesite of an ancestor who fought at the Battle of Culloden.

I learned of my ancestor being captured, imprisoned, and indentured to the American Colonies. Ironically, he escaped indenture and homesteaded on the Wilderness Trail near the Cumberland Gap, named after the Duke of Cumberland, the guy that slaughtered the Scots at the Battle of Culloden.

I was more or less self taught with the Green Book and intermittent help from bandmates. Not having a qualified coach was significant. My wife was more negative than I. “No rhythm, no music background, can’t hold a tune” etc. I can’t say that I didn’t believe I couldn’t do it, but I’m naive.

The Dojo is a great place to be because of the structure, and the virtual connectivity is excellent, which provides great one on one and also allows to learn from classmates. The Dojo also has superior staff makes everyone feel comfortable, and the evolution of the program is also great. At first I didn’t like the constant changing of interface but as I learn the language and philosophy of Dojo I see how I grow and that’s a good thing. And lastly, the best thing is being associated with such quality people here. It has made me aware of a much larger world of piping than I knew existed and given me a place in it.

My bagpipes are now more comfortable to play, but I am still emerging from the swamp. It is getting better and the fear of failure is fading fast. I am happier because of having the support from Dojo. Standing on the shoulders of those who know inspires confidence. I just don’t see a down side.

Raleigh Crowe, Negaunee, United States

Related Articles