While bagpipes were common on the front lines of the First World War they were almost unheard of during the Second World War. One of the main reasons for this were the high casualty rates among pipers in the first war; another being the types of weapons and tactics used. During the North African Campaign of World War II, bagpipers led the troops on a few occasions. The Second Battle of El Alamein finally ended this practice.
How do you get good at something? The answer has always been practice, practice, practice. The real question is, how long does it take to get good? There is the saying, that has been around for a while, that it take 10,000 hours to master a skill. Does it really take 10,000 hours to become a master?
I’m not expert when it comes to solo competition. I’ve only been been doing it for two years, about 12 times total. I’ve learned a lot of things and made many mistakes. Probably the best thing that I have done, and I have been doing it since my first competition, is to record almost every event I’ve been in.
How do you practice? Do you play through all your tunes until you hit a rough spot and work on that? Do you pick a section of a tune and spend all your time working on that? How do you know if your practice is productive? There is a way to practice that will help you make the most of your time and allow you to improve at a quicker pace.
Most people know that bagpipes are usually made from African blackwood (dalbergia melanoxylon). However bagpipes have been, and are, made of a variety of materials. Some of them are good, some less so. The question becomes: why is African blackwood used in bagpipes?
The Battle of Waterloo was the decisive engagement of the Napoleonic Wars. The Battle saw many brave men distinguish themselves. One of them was Kenneth MacKay, Pipe Major of the Grenadiers of the 79th Regiment of Foot.
There is the long-held belief that Bagpipes were classified as an instrument of war and were banned in the Act of Prosription of 1746. This stems from the aftermath of the Jacobite Rising 1745. It is believed that bagpipes and their playing, were banned. Unfortunately history is always complicated.