Hints & Tips

Power move practice with Willie McCallum

Power move practice with Willie McCallum

On day 21 of the February Piping Challenge Willie McCallum taught practice techniques for the grip, taorluath and rodin. Willie emphasised the need to play them slowly, rhythmically and accurately before building speed, and played though demonstrations of each movement on his chanter. Willie’s video can be viewed again here on […]

Theory Top-Up: Tunes in the Dorian mode

Theory Top-Up: Tunes in the Dorian mode

By Tim Cummings Piping Today #77, 2015. Having already investigated tunes in the keys of A-Major, D-Major, B-minor, A-Mixolydian, as well as tunes that are pentatonic, “gapped”, and those considered to have a “double-tonic”, we have now covered approximately 90% of the Scottish pipe tune repertoire in this Top-Up series. […]

Extended workshop on steady blowing

Extended workshop on steady blowing

Dan Nevans shared a wealth of information on day 15 of the February Piping Challenge. Dan’s 25 minute presentation was on the topic of Steady Blowing. He also detailed how to adjust drone reeds to, “only take enough air to sound consistently”, and how to tune your drones to allow […]

The fundamentals of strikes

The fundamentals of strikes

On day 10 of the February Piping Challenge Finlay MacDonald, Director of Piping at TNPC, discussed the technique of playing strikes, and explained how strikes are one of the three fundamentals when initially learning to play. Finlay’s video can be viewed again here on The National Piping Centre’s Facebook page. Dan […]

Building stamina in your playing

Building stamina in your playing

On day eight of the February Piping Challenge Dan Nevans presented a 30 minute Facebook live stream on the topic of developing the stamina to play your pipes for up to an hour. It’s a very informative and entertaining talk from Dan (with added bagpipe faeries), and is essential listening […]

Theory Top-Up: Double Tonic Tunes

Theory Top-Up: Double Tonic Tunes

By Tim Cummings Piping Today #76, 2015. Imagine for a moment that it’s February in the North Country, and you’ve been invited to a friend’s sauna.  You enter into the thick, steamy, blanketing air of the sauna, which in midwinter feels absolutely wonderful, rapidly softening petrified muscles that have been […]

The watertrap

The watertrap

By David V Kennedy Yes, indeed: to watertrap or not to watertrap, that is the question! Some say that the trap is necessary in all climates. In an eight month 100˚F average summer? With less than an average 20% relative humidity? Sounds dreadful, doesn’t it? Logical? Well, not at first […]

Squeezing the chanter reed

Squeezing the chanter reed

By David V. Kennedy The question a piper may ask is: “Why on earth would one want to squeeze the blades or the staple of a chanter reed?”’ And this is certainly a valid question. After all, didn’t the reedmaker assemble the reed correctly? Didn‘t he tie the blades onto […]

‘Scraping’ the chanter reed

‘Scraping’ the chanter reed

By David V. Kennedy In an early issue of The International Piper, Mr. Roger Gould-King wrote an informative, and useful, article on the chanter reed. He included a drawing of the reed, dimensioned. From the top of the lips, going downwards to the staple- bindings, he drew in a conception […]

Extending the life of a chanter reed

Extending the life of a chanter reed

“The pipe reed obeys no laws. Like the most fickle woman, it rewards, if at all, the lavish attentions of an honest heart with but a brief and transient display.” – J.C.M., Piping Times, October 1949. By Chris Apps Contrary to ‘J.C.M.’s’ quote, the average pipe chanter reed, if well […]