HBD Hector MacDonald

December 1, 2014 on 4:46 pm by Michael Grey | In Photographs, Stories | No Comments

A photograph today: In honour of Hector MacDonald and his milestone birthday this week. And with it a nice bit of video here showing a little of Constable MacDonald’s other non-piping talents.
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Three Deep Breaths (A Kiwi Tip)

November 20, 2014 on 9:21 pm by Michael Grey | In News, Stories, Tips | No Comments

A piece of advice I remember time and again is that which came to me through the thoughtfulness of the great New Zealand piper, Gold Medallist, John Hanning. Early in my career, while I was recitalling through the north and south islands of NZ, he passed along his recipe for performance steadiness; that is, his final personal prep for ensuring he didn’t unduly contribute to the filling up of the laundry basket.
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Rare Photo and Video: G S McLennan

October 29, 2014 on 6:02 pm by Michael Grey | In Delightful Data of the Day, Music, News, Photographs, Solo Piping, Stories, Video | 1 Comment

Back in June I wrote a little about the recently posted Pathé film footage of the great Highland dancer, Mary Aitken. Among many other good things, she was the namesake for a fine bagpipe tune, the jig “Mary Aitken”.
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Piping Today Magazine – “Grey’s Notes”: A band, a team, is not a thing. It’s people.

October 26, 2014 on 2:05 pm by Michael Grey | In From Piping Today Mag, Pipe Bands, Tips | No Comments

If you want to make a fast million, forget trying to invent the perfect set of drones or never-fail chanter reed, like, say, a possible brand like the SkweelAway or, maybe, the NaySkirl2000. If you’re looking for fast coin to roll in hard and fast, figure out a way to build the perfect team — and sell it. The business world is reeking with countless people, companies and websites touting answers-for-a-fee to the forever-old question: how to create a great team. Now that’s where the money is.
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Piping Today Magazine – “Grey’s Notes”: Seven Deadly Sins

October 5, 2014 on 7:48 am by Michael Grey | In From Piping Today Mag, Solo Piping, Stories, Tips | Comments Off

One of the people I teach, a young guy, about 17, is mad as hell about piping. He eats it up. Loves the tunes, loves to play. He’s crazy about piping — a lot like you maybe. I can tell you he’s definitely a lot like me. He’s the guy that rode around the town where we both live the other weekend in the back of a convertible, with the top down, while playing tunes on the pipes. Top down, breeze blowing, sun shining, chicks (apparently) loving it. This guy has it going on.
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Field of Drones

September 17, 2014 on 8:11 pm by Michael Grey | In Photographs, Random Thoughts | Comments Off

I was out for a bike ride around where I live this evening and could’ve sworn I heard pipes coming from the corn fields.
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Advice to Pipe Majors (from Madonna)

September 2, 2014 on 5:27 pm by Michael Grey | In Pipe Bands, Tips | Comments Off

It strikes me that when we look for fresh eyes on a problem and a new way of tackling a challenge, it’s not always such a bad thing to look for insight – if not answers – from places beyond the usual. For pipe bands this is New Years; the competitive season is over (for those of us in the Northern hemisphere) and so a new pipe band day dawns. And for Pipe Majors – the hardest working people in the pipe band world – it’s the time of year where reflection is deep and decision-making and planning can take a lot of energy.

So why not look to Madonna for answers? “Why not”, I say!
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Piping Today Magazine – “Grey’s Notes”: Dear Old Glasgow Town

August 19, 2014 on 5:17 pm by Michael Grey | In From Piping Today Mag, Humour, Music, Pipe Bands, Stories | Comments Off

You know you’re a seriously regular visitor to Glasgow when someone stops you on the street, asks for directions and you can help — and with mostly reliable info. It’s the last Friday of the Commonwealth Games and thanks to years (and years) of tramping the streets of the city, I did my bit as a sort of on-again off-again local and helped two ladies from London find their way to the bowls. I was tempted to ask them why they were interested in lawn bowling — a snoozefest to me — but then, had they known I was something of a keen piper, they’d been in their rights to ask the same: “Piping! What’s That For?” When it comes to human colour the place is unconditionally iridescent.
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Competitors: 5 Things a Solo Piping Judge Wants to Say to You

June 27, 2014 on 7:49 pm by Michael Grey | In Solo Piping, Tips | Comments Off

For those few in the world who trot their piping wares in earshot of a judge for prize-winning consideration, here are five (mostly) tongue-in-cheek things a solo piping judge is thinking as you come forward to play – and as you set off to perform (and remember – I’m broad-brushing to make points).
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Mary Aitken

June 16, 2014 on 6:21 pm by Michael Grey | In News, Random Thoughts, Video | Comments Off

One of my favourite two-parted jigs is that named, “Mary Aitken”. It’s a tricky little finger challenge first published in 1936 in John Wilson’s outstanding first book of music. Written by Malcolm R MacPherson (son of “Mrs MacPherson of Inveran” and Angus), a piper more famous for his playing than his composing, the tune is named for a champion Highland dancer of the day: Mary Aitken of Aberdeen.
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