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Old 05-01-2015, 07:22 AM   #11
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Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: New England, USA
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Default Re: Anyone here start playing GHB as an older adult?

Started at 49, up on pipes seven months later and after 13 months was playing with a band (not the one I started lessons with either).

Competing (with the band) my second year and a little over two years since picking up a PC, won a Grade V band competition as one of 6-7 pipers in the band that compete.

3 years in, I've played onstage with Gaelic Storm, performed for Boston's Cardinal Sean O'Malley, filmed a scene in the upcoming Johnny Depp movie "Black Mass", piped in boxer Danny "Bhoy" O'Connor to the ring for DKM's Ken Casey's boxing promotion company, done more parades than I count at this point and numerous other events.

Not going to win any solo competitions and still have miles and miles to go but you just gotta want it.
- Scott
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Old 05-01-2015, 10:25 AM   #12
John Bolt
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Default Re: Anyone here start playing GHB as an older adult?

I started at 54 with a COP book and a PC thinking I could teach myself. My original goal was to play a few tunes and be happy with that. After getting no where I found and Instructor and took a year of lessons.

I limped along another year or so then joined a band and while I had memorized about 45 tunes and could play pipes it was a harsh reality trying to play with a group after doing it my way. Four months later I was given my uniform and thrown to the lions having never played in the circle in my first parade because we were short of guys but it went really well.

At 5 years I know about 90 tunes and I have 33 parades under my belt and still make plenty of mistakes but it gets better every parade. So having said that I practice a lot and play in a really good band where most of the guys have 40, 50 or 60 years playing in Grade 1 or military bands. There is even talk of doing competitions again!
John Bolt

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Old 05-01-2015, 10:48 AM   #13
9 note Tex
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Default Re: Anyone here start playing GHB as an older adult?

In my early 50's I wanted to play the GHB. I live in a town where the closest instructor is over 100 miles away. Everyone said "you can't do it." At that time I did not know about Skype lessons. I was fortunate in that I have a good musical background. I can read music and I have played several other instruments. So at age 55, I started with COP and Bagpipe Solutions. I practiced in detail, recorded myself, videoed myself, scoured YouTube and read everything I could on this forum. After 4 months I played at church ( they were very polite ;)) Now two years later, I play regularly at churches, played a funeral, played with an orchestra. We don't have any pipe bands nearby but I am trying to help the local firefighters with forming one. I have since picked up the small pipes, bellows pipes and I am starting on Swedish bagpipes. If I had to do it all over again, I would have gotten an instructor though. Doing it yourself is slower and it is a real pain to have to go back and correct errors and bad habits that creep it. I would say to you, yes you can do it at 58! This is life! You only get to do this once! Make the most of it and don't let anything stop you!

Last edited by 9 note Tex; 05-01-2015 at 10:49 AM. Reason: Typo
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Old 05-01-2015, 11:21 AM   #14
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Default Re: Anyone here start playing GHB as an older adult?

I attended the London Scottish cadets when I was a kid..& was told by the pipe sergeant who was ex army I was to old at 14 to learn the pipes ..I ignored him.
I am now 83. Alough I don't play anymore.. I still think how times have changed, in those days , they liked to get hold of you at a very early age .

My advice is ..Follow your dreams, they could come true.
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Old 05-01-2015, 12:56 PM   #15
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Default Re: Anyone here start playing GHB as an older adult?


I also play GHB, SSP and Swedish pipes. Once you master the Swedish pipes it isn't hard to add an Irish Pattern Boru chanter to your GHB. The hardest part is finding a proper Boru chanter. Sadly, the ones made today are the same length as a standard GHB chanter and the bottom key is F-nat not E-nat. Fun to play the Irish tunes on the Boru.

I know, off-topic! Sorry!

Fithoffive, keep at it and have fun. At 69, new tunes come slower but they come. Just takes me a bit more time than at 29 or even 49!
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Old 05-01-2015, 01:41 PM   #16
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Default Re: Anyone here start playing GHB as an older adult?

As you can by these posts, you're never too old -- nothing will keep you young like having your mind and body engaged in a challenge, particularly one as satisfying as learning and playing music.
David Locky
Aim for the moon, you might hit an eagle ... Bagpipe Ecology
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Old 05-01-2015, 02:48 PM   #17
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Default Re: Anyone here start playing GHB as an older adult?

Thanks again to all who have replied. I got the encouragement I needed, and some things to think about as well.

Lots of interesting stories about the piping journey from you folks, so thanks for that inspiration as well.
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Old 05-01-2015, 11:03 PM   #18
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Default Re: Anyone here start playing GHB as an older adult?

i started at 26 two years ago. But last year almost got no practice time due to building my own house. I recently start again Skype lessons because i didn't want an ego instructor anymore.
Thing is: don't expect to much.
If you think about it: if any piper could blow and tune steady / could take care of their instrument properly AND is able to play 10 easy tunes with expression and correct fingering, that's already a huge achievement. and you should be proud of it.
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Old 05-02-2015, 02:27 PM   #19
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Default Re: Anyone here start playing GHB as an older adult?

I started at 54 having never played an instrument before and spent my first year entirely on PC under instruction. I had to first learn how to read music. I picked up my pipes after that first year and getting used to them, having the right setup for me and getting used to the feel. I got a practice tutor to help me work on tempo, clean execution and maintaining a solid sound (still with him).

I nearly threw the things away many times during this period, frustrated at my inability to even play a couple of notes together, but kept at it.

Now after 1 year on the pipes, I am starting to join the circle at practice and get used to playing with others. I'm okay on my own, but panic when I get with the others at this point, but I know I will settle down within a short time as I gain confidence.

I'm now 56 and really just starting my journey but loving it as I improve each week. My instructor wants me to do a solo competition to help improve my confidence and technique. My next challenge is learning the tunes well enough so that when my nerves kick in I can still hold it together!

I take advantage of any workshops available to help improve and practice as frequently as my neighbours can put up with!

Keep at it and enjoy the journey!
My bagpipes are haunted
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Old 05-02-2015, 02:37 PM   #20
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Default Re: Anyone here start playing GHB as an older adult?

I started at the same age as you did. I had always loved the pipes and served in a Highland Regt. in my younger years, so I guess that"s where my love of the pipes started. Another reason I started was to keep the ol brain box active I also find it a great stress reliever. I am about 2 years in now and bought my pipes last july. I would encourage you to make the big step and get your pipes if you think you will stick with it. If you have a teacher that you trust then I think that you should heed his advice. I find for myself that memorizing the tunes is the hardest part along with the blowing rhythm but it will come with time. Having a good instructor is the key I won the lottery with mine, and he has been very supportive. I would like to play with other people maybe in small group at first before joining a band so that is my next goal. I would encourage you to stick with it even though some piping days are better that others!
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