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Beer Tent The general discussion forum, and the place to start a new "beer-tent-like" Piping Related discussion...

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Old 09-26-2020, 05:17 PM   #1
EquusRacer
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Default First Exposure to Piping/Drumming

I'm curious about at what age you had your first exposure to piping or drumming (obviously, bagpipes and Scottish-style drumming). And what were the circumstances (e.g., Highland games, parade, relative who piped or drummed, etc.)?

To start, I was probably 6 or 7 when our parents took my brothers and me to the Liverpool Highland Games north of Syracuse, New York. I can still remember coming home and, at night, hearing nothing but pipes in my ears. We went every year after that, and my mother and I talked about taking up piping, looking through flyers for pipes (which we couldn't afford). Didn't start until 30 after moving to Oregon and learning from the Pipe Sergeant of the band to which I became a member (and, eventually, P/M).
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Old 09-26-2020, 09:09 PM   #2
Raibeart
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Default Re: First Exposure to Piping/Drumming

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Originally Posted by EquusRacer View Post
I'm curious about at what age you had your first exposure to piping or drumming (obviously, bagpipes and Scottish-style drumming). And what were the circumstances (e.g., Highland games, parade, relative who piped or drummed, etc.)?

To start, I was probably 6 or 7 when our parents took my brothers and me to the Liverpool Highland Games north of Syracuse, New York. I can still remember coming home and, at night, hearing nothing but pipes in my ears. We went every year after that, and my mother and I talked about taking up piping, looking through flyers for pipes (which we couldn't afford). Didn't start until 30 after moving to Oregon and learning from the Pipe Sergeant of the band to which I became a member (and, eventually, P/M).

I was at a flea market when I was a little kid and saw a set of pipes (probably Pakistani, probably non-functional "baby" pipes) in a booth. Later in the day my mom asked me if I'd like anything before we left and I wanted those pipes. We couldn't find them, but years late remembered them and one Christmas asked for a practice chanter. I didn't know at the time it would ruin my life.
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Old 09-27-2020, 06:09 AM   #3
pancelticpiper
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Default Re: First Exposure to Piping/Drumming

My former Pipe Major said that what inspired him to take up piping (which turned into a lifelong passion) was an episode of Scooby-Doo.

I grew up in a place where as far as I knew there were no pipers, no bands, no Highland Games.

Like many others I had fleeting glimpses on TV like the massed Canadian pipe band that played in the Rose Parade every year and the random appearances of pipes in old movies.

What inspired me to take up the pipes were some albums my Dad had

Farewell To The Greys, Royal Scots Dragoon Guards 1971

Scottish Bagpipe Music, Pipe Major John MacLellan 1967

Scarlet & Tartan, Royal Scots Greys and the Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders 1963

By around 15 I started badgering my Dad for pipes, at 17 I got a practice chanter, at 18 the pipes.
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Last edited by pancelticpiper; 09-27-2020 at 06:15 AM.
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Old 09-27-2020, 07:24 AM   #4
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Default Re: First Exposure to Piping/Drumming

Apparently my first experience was the street parade at Cowal Games having just turned two; I'm told I made desperate efforts to escape my parents and join in. My earliest memory is a Calum Kennedy record where he sings Amazing Grace accompanied by a piper, and I was transfixed by it (indeed by the whole record).
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Old 09-27-2020, 08:30 AM   #5
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Default Re: First Exposure to Piping/Drumming

I grew up in a town with pipes and drums being part of the high school band. As a grade school child, I could hear the distant sound of pipes being practiced....I thought it was the greatest sound that could be.
Fast forward to high school, only girls were allowed to play the pipes. Texas and boys not allowed to wear a kilt dashed any hope of learning to play the pipes.

Years later, my wife and I joined a local Scots heritage association. There, I was befriended by a great open grade piper who offered lessons. The rest of the story is an unfinished journey of countless episodes of musical adventures.
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Old 09-27-2020, 09:22 AM   #6
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Default Re: First Exposure to Piping/Drumming

I heard pipes, both live and taped at a show , I attended, at age 12 and got hooked.
They announced that night that there was a person coming to town to teach piping. I promptly went home and told my dad I wanted to take up pipes (as my parents had always encouraged us to take up music)

Of course my dad had to ask me why a good German boy like me wanted to take up pipes, grandpa had emigrated from Germany before WW1. I said that oh you don't hear them very often and they are different. Dad said if that is what you want to do and took me faithfully to lessons every week.

That was 57 years ago and I am still at it...what an obsession, but I still love it.
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Old 09-27-2020, 10:21 AM   #7
EquusRacer
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Default Re: First Exposure to Piping/Drumming

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Originally Posted by CalumII View Post
Apparently my first experience was the street parade at Cowal Games having just turned two; I'm told I made desperate efforts to escape my parents and join in. My earliest memory is a Calum Kennedy record where he sings Amazing Grace accompanied by a piper, and I was transfixed by it (indeed by the whole record).
Oh, my! Your reference to Calum Kennedy stirred up memories of the records we had. My brothers and I shared a bedroom, and we had a record player in it where we could stack albums at night as we were going to sleep. Amongst such albums as "The Chad Mitchell Trio", we had Calum Kennedy and Kenneth McKellar. Love them.

We also had albums of pipe bands; but not of what I'd say were quality. Back then, they were fine. But when I became a piper, especially in a good band that demanded good tuning, attacks and cuts, I went back to those albums, where drones and Es came in an any old time, tuning was clearly not required, and cuts were whenever. Good God! But I liked them as a child!
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Old 09-27-2020, 01:42 PM   #8
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Default Re: First Exposure to Piping/Drumming

OOooft, well probably in the womb!

I all honesty I can't remember, I grew up surrounded by music. Mainly box music in my family, my granny especially was a cracking box player and a big inspiration musically in general. My dad and his friends were all very successful musicians and pipers.

I can remember the events that made me realise I wanted to play the pipes. We had a wee hÚro-gheallaidh at the house and a well known piper was in the room and after a few drams struck up, and played a few tunes. I was mesmerised and the house was jumping!!! We used to go and watch the local pipe band march down the street every Monday to the local Highland night, that got me too.

Started at piping at 6, but my fingers were tiny and it wasn't until I was 7 that I managed to make a decent fist of learning.Come to think of it.....I'm still learning!
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Old 09-28-2020, 12:09 AM   #9
Jim Fogelman
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Default Re: First Exposure to Piping/Drumming

My high school had a pipe band. My first exposure was them playing at my brotherís graduation when I was 8.

A few years later at a family friendís college graduation, there was a pipe band that played the graduates in.

Once I got into high school, I had thoughts of joining the pipe band, also being in the regular band. I started learning the chanter halfway through my junior year and joined the pipe band in my senior year.

After graduating, I joined the pipe band that practices at the high school that turned out to be the same band that played at the college graduation and for almost 7 years was the high school pipe band instructor.
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Old 09-28-2020, 07:03 AM   #10
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Default Re: First Exposure to Piping/Drumming

As far as I can recall, my first conscious awareness of the bagpipes as an instrument came at the middle school spring band concert when I was in 8th grade (about 13 years old). The new band director that year played AG with the middle school band backing him. He brought out one of his piping students (probably a high-schooler) to play the seconds. I was intrigued by the sound and badgered my parents for at least a recording, which I got 4-5 years later (the 48th Highlanders of Canada Amazing Grace album, on cassette). We had no idea how to find instruction, as the local music shops didnít offer lessons.
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