Exercises are a good way to improve your embellishments. But basic exercises tend to be monotonous and it’s easy to lose focus. You may also find that something you can play well in an exercise becomes rough once you find it in a tune. An easy way to solve this problem is to find a tune that has a lot of the embellishments you want to practice.
Here at Dojo University it is usually easy to find tunes that feature your embellishment of choice. If you need to work on D-throws, a quick search will turn up a number of tunes. A great tune for D-throws is “Castle Dangerous.” Another good one is “Prince Charles Welcome to Lochaber.” It also has a nice section to work on grips.
Other tunes that provide opportunities to work on grips include: “Siege of Delhi,” “Teribus,” and “When the Battles O’er.” This is also a good tune to work on the C grip from a cut B, a very common passage in bagpipe music.
Some tunes that work well to practice doublings are “Angus McKinnon,” which also helps with taorlauths, “Flowers of the Forest,” where you can develop birls and grips, and “Shoals of Herring,” which provides an opportunity to work on crossing noises as well.
Exercises work great for building technique, but many tunes themselves are tailor-made to improve a specific embellishment. Finding one of these tunes is as easy as searching for the embellishment that needs work and picking a tune from the list.