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Room for Improvement

John Holcombe
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Last April, 2016, I competed in a Grade 4 Adult (EUSPBA) event at the highland games in Dunedin, Florida, a true hotbed of piping in the Southeast United States. It had been raining heavily all morning, and I was due up in a large group for the 2/4 march competition, with Rab Mathieson as the judge.

Identify, Determine the Cause, Solve the Problem

Mark Olson
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Things go wrong. It is our condition as humans. We aren't machines that execute tasks perfectly every time. In piping, we have a multitude of variables to which we need to attend in order to have a successful performance. Some of those variables, such as the temperature and the relative humidity, our out of our control.

Visualizing ALAP/ASAP—Part 1

Mark Olson
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On the bagpipe, we cannot play a note with more volume in order to add expression to a phrase. Indeed, our goal is to play at a steady pressure so that the pitch of the chanter and the drones remains constant. Nor do we have techniques such as staccato or legato available to us on the Highland bagpipe. On the Highland bagpipe, we express our music by holding notes longer than we would normally hold them, playing them As Long As [Musically] Possible (ALAP) and playing contrasting notes As Short As [Musically] Possible (ASAP).

Pipe Major Donald MacLeod, M.B.E.

David Lairson
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Pipe Major Donald MacLeod, M.B.E. was one of the greatest pipers and composers of the 20th century. He served in 51st Highland Division in WWII and was appointed Pipe Major of the Seaforth Highlanders at the age of 25. He published 6 books of light music and one book of piobaireachd. He also released over 40 volumes of piobraireachd tutorials as well as several other recordings.

Submitting Files for Critique at Dojo U

Andrew Douglas
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Submitting your performances for critique is one of the most important aspects of Dojo U. It’s our primary means for you to get feedback on how you are playing. First off, before you submit something, you’re going to need a means of recording. Frankly, modern smart-phones are all it takes to get started. Later, there

As You Improve, Slow Down

Mark Olson
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You've logged more than a few hours practicing. The desk has a little bit of wear where you set the sole of your practice chanter. Your gracenotes are becoming tidy. Your embellishments are becoming consistent and crisp. Your natural inclination is to reach over to the metronome and crank the dial up. Stop! You still can reap the benefits of practicing slowly.

How to Use a Metronome to Learn a Strathspey

John Holcombe
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When you play a strathspey, does anyone ever tell you that it “sounds like a march”? Is it difficult to get the correct strathspey rhythm, no matter how many times you play through the same tune? One method of learning a strathspey correctly is to use a metronome from the outset, and hear your playing improve.