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David Lairson

David Lairson

David has been playing the bagpipes for over 20 years. He is an instructor and soloist with the Palm Beach Pipes & Drums and a member of the U.S. Coast Guard Pipe Band. David is active in the Florida competition circuit, and when he is not practicing or playing he works as a computer technician. He currently lives in sunny South Florida.

Piper Kenneth MacKay and the Battle of Waterloo

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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.

Bagpipes - An Instrument of War?

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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.

Competition Fail

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Mistakes happen. No matter how hard you practice or prepare at some point in your carrier you are going to mess something up. The thing that sets the better players apart from the herd is how you recover. This is the story of a mistake.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Ivory Rules

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On June 6, 2016 the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service finalized a new rule governing the import, export, and sale of African Elephant ivory across state lines. This new rule strengthens and clarifies issues with the sale, ownership, and travel of ivory. Included in the rule are areas of interest to all musicians, which particularly affect bagpipe owners.

Bagpipers and the Victoria Cross

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The Victoria Cross is the highest military award for members of the armed forces of the Commonwealth countries. This award is given for valor in the face of the enemy of the “most conspicuous bravery, or some daring or pre-eminent act of valor or self-sacrifice, or extreme devotion to duty in the presence of the enemy.” We are going to look at three bagpipers who have won this award.

A Games Day Routine

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Competing at a highland games, or other venues, can be a nerve-wracking experience. There are so many things you have to think about. Do you have everything you need? Do you remember how the tune goes? Are your reeds going to behave? Do you know where the judges are going to be? There are all sorts of things going through your mind. These sorts of things can effect your performance almost as much as how you play. Having a set “Games Day” routine can help you manage these things and let you focus on your performance.

Ear Protection for the Bagpiper, Part 3

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Hearing is the most important tool we have as bagpipers. Being able to tell if your bagpipes are in tune, to hear if you are playing in time with the rest of the band, even to hear the judge compliment your playing (hopefully.) Part 1 of this article discussed the mechanics of hearing and how damage occurs. Part 2 discussed how sound interacts with the ear and how best to protect it. In Part 3 we review a few different types of available ear plugs for musicians.

Ear Protection for the Bagpiper, Part 2

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When selecting hearing protecting it is important to understand how humans hear sounds. Part 1 of this series discussed a the mechanics of hearing and how damage can occur. In Part 2 we will look at what we hear and the best way to protect it.

Ear Protection for the Bagpiper, Part 1

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Our ears are the most important tool we have when playing the bagpipes.