The Rocket Fuel is in the Trade-Offs

Maintaining a singular focus at all times may be the most important factor in how fast you improve at playing the bagpipes.

I've discussed before how multitasking is a myth, and that by continuing to attempt to do more than one thing at a time, you're disproportionately decreasing the quality of whatever tasks you're working on, and slowing progress on all of them.

Let's look to higher-level pipers as an example. To skyrocket to those seemingly unreachable levels, pipers have to be quite 'unbalanced'.

Now, I don't mean 'unbalanced' as in unhinged or unhealthy – quite the opposite in fact!

Those Grade 1 and Professional-level pipers have the same 24 hours in their day that you do. And sure, they may have started earlier than you. But why should that mean your progression in piping couldn't be just as fast, proportionally?

Their rocket fuel lies in their trade-offs.

Do you think they could have managed to be so unconsciously competent at piping if they just played through their parade tunes for the fourth time that week with the 20 minutes they had free to practice that day? Or if they'd been constantly distracted by their phone notifications and text messages?

I assure you, higher level pipers have chosen singular areas to work on each day and laser-focused on them consistently until they were no longer a weakness, using each of those tiny improvements as a tiny rung as they climbed up the ranks – and towards their own freedom of musical expression via the bagpipes.

That's the difference. Not magic. Not genetics. Not "talent". Not luck.

Pipe Major Richard Parkes is a fantastic example of this principle in action. The 12-time world-champion pipe major of Field Marshal Montgomery Pipe Band is the most successful pipe major in history – and he's the definition of singular focus.

While he might sit for the odd interview or teach a one-off lecture or workshop here and there (such as, for example, the Dojo U Pipe Major's Symposium on February 12–13, where he will be one of our three esteemed instructors for the weekend), Dr Parkes is, for the most part, quite elusive when it comes to teaching opportunities, because he's singularly focused on making sure FMM sound the best they possibly can on the field.

And it shows – he's the most successful pipe major of all time for a reason.

What will you focus on this week that will help you inch further up that ladder towards your own bagpipe freedom?

Take Action

If you're a Dojo student, make sure you've worked your way through our 11 Commandments of Mastery course, and then start looking at our Tune of the Week each week as part of the Bagpipe Freedom program.

If you're not yet a Dojo Student, we'd love to welcome you! You can take the 11 Commandments course, which covers the 11 essential mindset tweaks - including rejecting multitasking and having a singular focus - you'll need to prepare yourself for mastery, or explore our monthly membership options and join us as a student, where you can work towards bagpipe freedom in a guided way with hundreds of other pipers around the world cheering you on!

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