Rory Downie: A Sense of Accomplishment

I started piping for a few main reasons. First, they are pretty cool and I like the sound. Second, I was looking for a new challenge that was not sport related, at school I couldn’t get my head around music and rhythm to the point I just gave up and was praised for sport so focused on that instead. My dad also plays and I wanted to be able to surprise him when I could play a tune on my practice chanter.

I was aiming just to be able to play for myself and learn tunes to play. I’ve never been able to play an instrument and I really want to learn for my own sense of accomplishment.

I also thought it might be a good way to get some time to myself!

I am dyslexic and reading music is the hardest part for sure. I didn’t learn music as school as I found reading text books hard enough. I still struggle with metronomes and tapping my foot while I play, and often just stop doing the tapping until I have to have a bit of a talk with myself, as I know it’s important.

I’m pretty new; well, very new. I’ve tried to learn a few times (not with Dojo University) but I usually skip bits when I get stuck. The fact that Dojo has assignments that a teacher comments on is helping me stay strict and learning things before moving on and suddenly becoming out of my depth.

About a week after I heard about Dojo U, I signed up. I often make a note in my calendar before I decide something and if it’s still a good idea in a week I go for it. I also was very keen to get better and wasn’t making much progress by myself.

I’ve not experienced a lot of the Dojo U community yet, but I really like the idea of it and seeing others posting videos and sound clips for feedback. The feedback I’ve had so far has been great! Structure and accountability are the big benefits so far, with assignments that required a sound clip uploaded. Additional material at different speeds to play along with has really helped when I get stuck.

Before the Dojo, I couldn’t play an even rhythm and my notes were quite uneven as I struggled with foot tapping so I went back to the beginning and re learnt basics and stuck out the foot tapping. Starting at the basics again really helped and I learnt things previous lessons hadn’t even mentioned

From what I’ve done so far everything feels more natural and I can change rhythm which I couldn’t do before I one had one tempo.

I’m still very much at the beginning of my bagpipe journey. I always look forward to getting practice in knowing everything is following a progressive structure. Every time I get something right my partner can tell as I am always in a better mood than I was before. Lessons and playing are definitely becoming my place to get away from work and scrolling on my phone.

Rory Downie, Edinburgh, Scotland

Related Articles