Chris Hadfield: Space Oddity

May 13, 2013 on 5:31 pm by Michael Grey | In Music, Random Thoughts, Video | Comments Off

I really like this. At first, I thought cheesy. Then I gave my head a shake.
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MyVote: Cool App or Seriously Seditious?

August 30, 2012 on 5:07 pm by Michael Grey | In Music, News, Pipe Bands, Random Thoughts | Comments Off

Earlier in the summer pipes|drums was one of the first news outlets to announce the launch of Kenny Constable‘s free MyVote app. Since then the app is getting loads of play – and use – from keeners around the pipe band world.
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The Secret to Making Good Music: “This Boy Needs More Practice”

May 1, 2012 on 6:57 pm by Michael Grey | In Music, Solo Piping, Stories, Tips | 2 Comments

Just so there’s no suspense on this one; the secret to making good music is simple: It’s practice.

We’re coming up to the bagpipe competition season and everyone who aims to seriously take part is hard at it trying to make the best music they can.
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It’s Free! Michael Grey Book 5: Music for Everyone

January 23, 2012 on 10:05 pm by Michael Grey | In Music, Pipe Bands, Solo Piping | 5 Comments

Here you go: my fifth book of music, “Music for Everyone”. First published in 2006.
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Alex MacMillan: It’s a Small World

January 10, 2012 on 10:29 pm by Michael Grey | In Music, Photographs, Solo Piping, Stories | Comments Off

“It’s a small world” must be one of the most often said bromides in the English language. But, surely for a reason: it is a small world. The top-of-the-small-world-pops in my family belongs to the story of my younger sister and her husband.

Here’s the scoop: After meeting and date number three or so they start talking a little about their families. He says to her something like, “my Mum’s family comes from a little place in the Outer Hebrides of Scotland: Benbecula”. “Yikes”, thinks my sister – or something like that. That’s where my father’s mother comes from!
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Gaelic College Fiddles with the Great Highland Bagpipe

December 14, 2011 on 12:50 pm by Michael Grey | In Music, News, Whinges | Comments Off

Cape Breton is surely a beautiful part of the world – in the summer, anyway. I’ve spent a good few summer weeks in the past teaching at the Gaelic College of Celtic Arts and Crafts in St. Ann’s. Happy times, for sure, with a hundred kids or so running up and down the hills with their chanter and pipes and plans aplenty for pranking (mostly) suspecting teaching staff. Though “from away”, as they say in CB, my time at the GC gifted me some truly great memories, lifelong friends and some modest insight into how things “go” in that part of the world.
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(Tunes for) Summertime

July 1, 2011 on 1:53 pm by Michael Grey | In Audio File, Music, Solo Piping | 2 Comments

Here’s a few tunes to help while away your day – a holiday if you live in Canada.

Here’s me playing my solo spot at the May 21, Toronto Police Pipe Band show at the el Mocambo club in Toronto.
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Copyright this Way

April 5, 2011 on 6:45 pm by Michael Grey | In Music, News, Pipe Bands, Solo Piping, Tips | 4 Comments

A week or so ago I led a talk at the annual judge’s meeting of the Pipers’ & Pipe Band Society of Ontario. The day’s always a good one. At the very least it’s a great gathering of old friends and acquaintances and at it’s best its a really insightful exchange of ideas and perspectives.

Anyway, my bit was a comparative look at pipe band ensemble. I checked out competitive orchestras – yes, they do compete – American high school concert bands and British brass bands. I learned a lot in my seeking out of information related to other competitive musical worlds. For instance, I can now tell you with great certainty that it’s scarily, freakishly and jaw-droppingly amazing how close the British brass band world mirrors that of the pipe band. Maybe a blab for another day.
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Advice from Jimi Hendrix

March 25, 2011 on 6:52 pm by Michael Grey | In Music, Random Thoughts, Tips | Comments Off

I have to admit I’m not one of those blindly obsessed Jimi Hendrix fans. Not even close. Guitar players tend to worship him – especially electric guitarists. I do appreciate his musicianship, though. Absolutely [I'm sure Jimi is sighing with relief amongst his rock and roll angels].

But his stuff, unlike, say, Cathy-Ann MacPhee’s, is not what I listen to; it’s not music that tends to make my day – or night – better. And we all know music has that magical power…if directed to the right ears.

But just because someone hasn’t dialled in to your music, well, that doesn’t make it any less great.
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Japanese Cinema and Pipe Bands

February 17, 2011 on 6:46 pm by Michael Grey | In Humour, Music, Pipe Bands, Random Thoughts, Video | 3 Comments

Now there’s a subject line you probably never imagined.

I always thought those old cheesy Japanese movies from the 1950s might benefit from a little kick, a little something to give them a boost. I’m not talking Seven Samurai or Rashômon here, I’m talking about movies like those from the Godzilla and Mothra franchises (did they call ever call old movie serials “franchises”?).

Anyway, I thought how great it would be for one to snag a pipe band soundtrack, music to go along with the badly dubbed English.
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