Tip #1: Be There

March 29, 2013 on 3:59 pm by Michael Grey | In Random Thoughts, Solo Piping, Stories, Tips | Comments Off on Tip #1: Be There

Not so long ago I was talking to Colin MacLellan. He was telling me (among other things) about one of his fairly recent bagpipe lesson experiences [sorry, CRM, hope this wasn’t secret]. Anyway, his story involved bagpipes, teacher, student and iPhone.
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Suck In and Buckle Up

February 23, 2013 on 6:48 pm by Michael Grey | In News, Pipe Bands, Tips, Whinges | Comments Off on Suck In and Buckle Up

I was talking to a friend the other day about flying. He’s one of those people who flies a lot. Not because he has scads of spare cash to holiday, rather, it’s all about visiting family – far flung family. Circumstances in his life sees most of his clan at the other side of the world. For him, like so many, flying isn’t a luxury, it’s a utility.
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5 Reasons the Other Band is Winning

November 4, 2012 on 7:03 pm by Michael Grey | In Pipe Bands, Tips | Comments Off on 5 Reasons the Other Band is Winning

In pipe bands there’s winning prizes and then there’s just plain “winning”. In “plain winning” I mean, winning as in feeling really (really) good about the group where you’re a member, feeling an affinity with your team, your pals; win or lose, the band just feels right. In “plain winning” you almost always feel better after having attended a practice rather than not. Like the American basketball legend, Michael Jordan, said, “winning isn’t always about championships”.

Someone once passed along an interesting definition of what makes a good friend and that’s someone who makes you feel better after having had a chin-wag, a visit. That’s a “plain winning” band, you feel better after attending a practice.
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Intransigence 911

August 20, 2012 on 6:01 pm by Michael Grey | In Pipe Bands, Random Thoughts, Tips | 5 Comments

The pipe band world is many things: unmercifully competitive, aggressive, cutthroat even – and, yes, occasionally collegial. But loving and nurturing? Not so much. The last little while I’ve stumbled on things said in public places (read: the Internet) and am genuinely incredulous at the anger, rage even, that pipe band music can elicit from people who purport to love the music. And to be clear: it’s not just the band I play in I’m talking about – it’s almost every band going, especially in the premier grade. It’s clearly powerful stuff we bring to the world through the wiggling of fingers and battering of sticks.
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Score Sheet Freak Out (Trust Your Teacher)

July 9, 2012 on 12:17 pm by Michael Grey | In Solo Piping, Tips | Comments Off on Score Sheet Freak Out (Trust Your Teacher)

For those of you who live in a part of the world where judges of solo piping competitions provide score or, “crit”(icism), sheets, or some kind of recorded adjudicator performance comment, you may especially relate to this …
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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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The Secret to Finding Good Reeds?

January 2, 2012 on 8:00 pm by Michael Grey | In Humour, News, Pipe Bands, Random Thoughts, Solo Piping, Tips | Comments Off on The Secret to Finding Good Reeds?

Many of us have always wondered. The truth is out:
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Keep the Flags at Home

August 15, 2011 on 3:39 pm by Michael Grey | In Pipe Bands, Random Thoughts, Solo Piping, Tips | 6 Comments

The big day has come and gone. The 2011 World Pipe Band Championships will surely stand as the best ever. What fantastic virtuoso performances and delivered, too, by bands across a hugely wide breadth of the contest. Every band seemed to play varying degrees of great.
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Thank You / Gracias / Merci / Tapadh leibh / Grazie

June 12, 2011 on 6:50 pm by Michael Grey | In Pipe Bands, Random Thoughts, Solo Piping, Tips, Whinges | 2 Comments

A rare and wonderful thing happened yesterday. At Georgetown highland games we saw a most deserving public thank-you [understatement].
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Making Music

June 5, 2011 on 8:29 am by Michael Grey | In Random Thoughts, Tips | Comments Off on Making Music

Everyone’s always looking for the “secret“: how do I make music happen?

Making great music is a different story, but good music, to make good music? That’s a horse of a different colour.
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