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Learning How to Think About Bagpipe Fundamentals

Learning How to Think About Bagpipe Fundamentals


The Piper's Dojo started in miniature form in 2008, the summer after I graduated from from college. I knew I wanted to teach bagpipes (only later did I develop a passion for selling supplies as well), but it had to be different than what other institutions were doing. Not because other institutions were doing a bad job (quite the contrary, actually!), but instead because... well... there was something missing in the mainstream approaches to teaching bagpipes.

After several years of following my gut, I started to see what it was that was missing: Objectivity. While there is so much extraordinary passion among bagpipers, so few of us have the ability to think rationally about what we're doing. The result? We end up painting ourselves into a corner that we can't paint ourselves back out of. We learn habits, bizarre dogmatic terms, and quickly we become unable to adapt when adjustments are necessary.

At the Dojo, I decided, we needed to teach people control, objective fundamentals -- yep, you guessed it -- the Bagpipe as an extension of your Self.

FundamentalsMapWhere to begin? Well, let's break down the fundamental abilities we need into two main parts: Instrument Quality, and Fingerwork. Both of these elements have fundamentals within themselves.

Your instrument needs to (1) be maintained such that it operates at the utmost efficiency, then we need to strive to (2) attain a great tonal quality out of the instrument, and finally, after the first two things are mastered, we can work to (3) fine-tune the instrument.

On the fingerwork side, we need to (1) develop the ability to play various melody notes, (2) learn the basics of rhythm to arrange these melody notes in time, (3) learn various ways to articulate our new melodies, (4) learn to develop dynamics, and (5), learn to sculpt larger phrases, tunes and parts using the first 4 fundamental skills.

At Dojo U, we focus heavily on these fundamentals - and this is why we convert beginners into excellent pipers at a rate unheard of anywhere else in the world.

----->Click here to preview our acclaimed Fingerwork Fundamentals Course!


Andrew Douglas Andrew is a prolific practitioner of the bagpipe, having been active at the highest level of pipe bands, solo competition, teaching, and creative endeavors for the past 20 years. He's also the founder and creator of Dojo U and of PipersDojo.com