You sometimes make your luck and you sometimes chance on luck but however it comesÂ I can tell you I’ve had a fair bit of itÂ when it comes to tuition.Â The 20th century master, Captain John MacLellan, is one teacherÂ who helped me a lot; he left a big impression.Â Of his many memorable pieces of advice one thatÂ stays close to the surface is this:
“It should never be a chore to play the pipes when asked”
I’ve often thought of his words when called upon to play when I didn’t feel much like it, or thought the time not right or whatever other excuse I’d had in mind.Â Pipers, I think, more than most musicians, have an obligation, when called on, toÂ share theÂ sweetÂ music.Â I mean, it’s not theÂ kind of mainstream instrument that sees players frequently coaxed and cajoled toÂ lay out a tune – at leastÂ not beyond theÂ Outer Hebrides.Â We can’t let the first request slip away.
A couple of weeks ago Reagan Jones, the band’sÂ outstanding bass drummer, asked me to play withÂ her at a bigÂ percussion competition in London, Ontario.Â I thought twice:Â I thought of Reagan and I recalledÂ John MacLellan’s words.
So, if there was ever any doubt, I can tell you that no matter how long you hang around this game there’s always opportunities to try new things, experience new musical adventures and to always play – when asked. Â Â
This Saturday, May 3rd I’ll be playing with ReaganÂ at the Innovations event in London, Ontario.Â Â A solo bass drum contest is a firstÂ for me.Â Â I’m looking forward to it!Â Especially knowing Nathan McLaren, band snare drummer and DCI champion and my old friend and pupil Jamie “Jamsie” HunterÂ will be joining on rope drum and guitar (respectively)Â – aÂ bass quartet!Â Let theÂ music begin!Â
Maybe I’ll see you there.
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