You sometimes make your luck and you sometimes chance on luck but however it comes I can tell you I’ve had a fair bit of it when it comes to tuition. The 20th century master, Captain John MacLellan, is one teacher who helped me a lot; he left a big impression. Of his many memorable pieces of advice one that stays close to the surface is this:
A while ago I happened across a great site, the University of California’s (Santa Barbara) Cylinder Preservation and Digitization Project. Here you can have a listen to any one of a vast array of mp3 recordings lifted from the university’s collection of almost 8,000 wax cylinders.
My friend (and electronic music-maker) Mikael Hansson just passed me a quote that I absolutely love.
“Play more things that make me dance around and less things that make me sit and look miserable in a plastic chair”
I’ve been going on for ages now about the standard competitive pipe band performance configuration, “the circle”. This arrangement makes no sense to me. Yeah, everyone can see the hands of the person leading the band, and that helps unison and timing of rhythmic transitions, but what about the many and varied down sides, the good reasons not to perform in a circle?
I’ve had a couple of notes from people looking for “more jigs”. So for the jig hounds here is a 4-parted 6/8 jig, “Jenny Hazzard”, from “Old & New Tunes“, published 1995. I’ve played this in solo jig competitions with success and I’m pretty sure Peel Police Pipe Band played a couple of parts in a competition medley when I was PM in the mid 90s.
When I decided to start making recordings that went beyond a capella bagpipes a lot of good musical things started happening. One of the best? The chance was created to work with other, non-bagpipe musicians. One of the first musicians - and best – that I’ve worked with is fiddler and violin-playing maestro, Oliver Schroer.