Home John Holcombe

John Holcombe

John Holcombe
John began piping at the ripe old age of 55 years. Always liking the sound of the bagpipes, John grew up in Oklahoma, where he never had a chance early on to experience firsthand this amazing instrument. But after moving to Indianapolis, he had the great fortune in 2004 to begin lessons with Craig Waugh, and Open Grade piper originally from Manitoba, Canada. Through that outstanding instruction, along with annual attendance at Jack Lee’s Piping Hot Summer Drummer and being a founding and continuing premium member of Dojo University, John has continued through hard work and determination to advance his knowledge and technical skills. As a retired research physician, John now enjoys immersing himself in piping, and he is proud to have won several first place medals in Grade 4 competitions in EUSPBA-sanctioned events. John’s current goal is to achieve the Grade 3 level of competence.

What is a 6/8 March?

John Holcombe 0
0
387
A 6/8 march is a lively tune written in compound time that is played with a palpable and definite “swing” rhythm. Picture a pipe band marching down the Royal Mile in Edinburgh, playing a sprightly 6/8 march, with their kilts swinging to and fro. That’s what we’ll be shooting for as we discuss 6/8’s.

"What Does It Mean When I Hear About 'Blowing Tone?'”

John Holcombe 2
0
487
Most pipers have heard their pipe major or piping instructor, sometimes quite forcefully, urge you to “blow tone”! But how many PMs can fully describe what the term means, or how to achieve it?

"Why Are My Pipes Hard to Play?"

John Holcombe 0
0
297
Bagpipes may seem difficult to play for several reasons.

"What Is a 4/4 March?"

John Holcombe 0
0
137
A tune with a time signature of 4/4 (also known as "common time") means that there are four beats in every bar, and a quarter note gets each beat. Thus, the upper number indicates the number of beats, and the lower number designates which note value gets each beat. Some 4/4 marches are simple and straightforward to play, but others can seem daunting with their complexity.

"How Long Does It Take to Learn to Play the Bagpipes?"

John Holcombe 0
0
1.19K
Like many such open-ended questions, it depends! A short answer would be that the time it takes to learn the pipes depends on age, enthusiasm to learn, patience, and a willingness to spend sufficient time learning and practicing.

"What Is a 'Dotted' Note All About?"

John Holcombe 0
0
450
Do you recall the frustration, as a beginner piper, being told to play the music as it is written, but then told to “hold” certain notes longer than others? It takes some time and experience to understand and to appreciate that the music for the bagpipes is not often “played as written”, especially when the music involves “dotted and cut” notes. It's important to understand what this really means if you expect to get more musicality out of your playing.

How to Build Your Own Water Manometer

John Holcombe 0
0
227
If you are a member of Dojo University, or have visited the site, you have no doubt heard about a water manometer. You will also understand what a worthwhile tool it is that can help us to achieve several essential goals in piping, including blowing at the chanter reed’s sweet spot, calibrating our drone reeds,

Understanding Harmonics—Part 2

John Holcombe 0
0
488
How many of us pipers have a firm grasp of the physics of sound that causes the unique and rich sound of our bagpipes? We are told that we should maintain a pressure in the pipe bag that is at the chanter reed’s “sweet spot”, that pressure that causes the reed to maximally vibrate and bring out the most “harmonics” and richness of sound of the reed. But what, really, are harmonics?

Understanding Harmonics—Part 1

John Holcombe 0
0
314
How many of us pipers have a firm grasp of the physics of sound that causes the unique and rich sound of our bagpipes? We are told that we should maintain a pressure in the pipe bag that is at the chanter reed’s “sweet spot”, that pressure that causes the reed to maximally vibrate and bring out the most “harmonics” and richness of sound of the reed. But what, really, are harmonics?