The Last Day of the Year

December 31, 2008 on 2:28 pm by Michael Grey | In Photographs, Tips | Comments Off

A beautiful, crisp, clear, cold winter’s day here in Dundas, Ontario.  For lovers of winter, this is a perfect winter’s day.  I’m more a “liker” of winter.  But today is a shiny, bright punctuation point for the run-on sentence that was 2008.
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Blind Justice

December 29, 2008 on 10:40 pm by Michael Grey | In Music, Pipe Bands, Tips | Comments Off

To the deaf person in an audience competition pipe bands in full flight must seem pretty dull.  Backs to the audience, motionless but for flying fingers, wrists and the odd twirling tenor stick, bands at play are starchy stiff.  To some extent, the military roots of the pipe band might account for some of the undertaker’s demeanor.  Mostly, though, I think the real reason is the intense physical and mental focus needed to present pipe band music at its best.  Contrary to a well-kent youtube video that has made the rounds, I say it really is hard to do the “hokey-pokey” and deliver a technically and tonally unanimous musical performance.   
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A Christmas Prezzie

December 24, 2008 on 7:05 pm by Michael Grey | In Music, Solo Piping | Comments Off

Here’s an mp3 you might enjoy, “Doubled Over Happy“, a cheery hornpipe from my CD, “Nine Blasted Notes” released 2003. 

Merry Christmas to you and yours and all the best in the coming New Year!  

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M.  

5 Tunes I Wish I Had Written

December 19, 2008 on 7:27 pm by Michael Grey | In Music, Stories | 4 Comments

We all have our favourite tunes, pieces of music that we love to play or love to hear – or both.  Pipe tunes are such short little things – pibroch aside – it’s hard to keep a Favourite Tune List brief.  My own FTL changes a fair bit, and often.  I think it depends on what I’m listening to, what’s on the radio, what I’m practicing, what the band is playing, my mood; I think all of these variables are among the drivers of my FTL.
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Hum Bug Pipers

December 15, 2008 on 8:24 pm by Michael Grey | In Music, Stories | 12 Comments

Of the thousands of tunes made for playing on the Great Highland Bagpipe, there’s hardly a Christmas tune in the lot.  Pipers write tunes for their pals, mums, dads, bands, teachers, to commemorate “in” jokes and happenings, birthdays, retirements, battles won and lost and places.  But not much for Christmas – or Hogmanay or New Years for that matter! 
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Money for Nothing

December 14, 2008 on 9:28 pm by Michael Grey | In Stories, Tips, Whinges | 4 Comments

One of the most remarkable changes in the piping world in the last twenty years is the commercialization of the game.  When I say “commercialize” I mean just that, “1. To apply methods of business for profit.  2. a. To do, exploit, or make chiefly for financial gain or, b. To sacrifice the quality of for profit.”  

I suggest to you piping commercialization has grown above the natural levels associated with population growth. 
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One of My Motivators

December 11, 2008 on 9:39 pm by Michael Grey | In Music, Solo Piping, Tips | 3 Comments

November through to January have traditionally been my fallow practice months.  In part,  because I’ve been fed up with piping and needed time away and, part because I know time away from practice is a very good and healthy thing, especially when that practice is regular and intense.  I’ve always felt better about piping after a good break.  That’s got to be a good sign of a good “training” regimen.   I recommend planned time away from piping – or drumming – or any crazy intense pursuit.
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