Piping Today Magazine – Grey’s Notes: “Piping: No Excuses”

March 17, 2015 on 3:36 pm by Michael Grey | In From Piping Today Mag, Pipe Bands, Solo Piping, Stories, Tips, Whinges | Comments Off on Piping Today Magazine – Grey’s Notes: “Piping: No Excuses”

My Dad always said that life moves forward at a pace in tandem with a person’s age. So when you’re 10, life seems to move along at a grindingly slow 10mph. At 10 a kid feels like it’ll take forever for summer holidays to come and even longer for the next happy birthday. By age 20, a healthy savings account is a nice idea for dull, boring people; but for most there’s nothing but countless, unplanned days of never-ending fun. Your forties come along and it’s all, whoa, something’s happening here: life is moving way past school zone speed. Bill made it to an Autobahn-friendly 86mph before he pulled over and stopped in the parking lot of the inevitable. And this is all to say, the obvious, you’ll know that’s my specialty; and that is, a person’s age goes a long way to inform how life is lived and, in turn, how life is understood.

It was the last issue of Piping Today that found me reading words that stuck in my craw, the very pit of a piper’s gut: “piping is a young person’s game”. Is it really?

First, sadly, these words offer no fresh insight and, really, how many of any of our words do? Yet, they stand as a way of thinking that, strangely, is commonly held by many in the piping game. And to add to my carnaptious state, the comment was unattributed as well: it was assigned to a pseudonym. I hate that, “Here lies Johnny Piper, who always said what he meant and stood up for what he believed as long as he was anonymous”].

It’s seems to me, generally speaking, that newly-minted birl-makers, those who have yet to gain much context and understanding of who’s who and how things go, it’s they who see our world this way. And to be up front, this is the natural human condition for young people. Think of that famous 1960s hippie quote, attributed to a lot of people including Bob Dylan, “never trust anyone over 30”. Young people know it all. And if that’s not you today it was you once upon a time. “Step aside Gramps, I gots jigs and reels to play”.

Vladimir Horowitz,  September 18, 1903 – November 5, 1989

To be fair, longer-toothed pipers, further along a musical life, can be drawn to this way of thinking. There are those who have found mid-life distractions and waning self-discipline the path of least resistance. It’s certainly easier not to play the bagpipes. Not to play means to set aside practice and avoid performing at some of the best places where good piping happens: say band contests, solo piping events and any number of other places we play in public. Not to play means more time.

Click here for the full magazine article.

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