Welcome to
the forums at bobdunsire.com
bobdunsire.com forums One of the largest message boards on the web ! bobdunsire.com forums
You can reset your password by going here. Be sure to try your current email and any email addresses you may have had in the past.
Otherwise please use the Contact Us link at the bottom of the forums. In order to help you, please provide the following info: Your Display Name from the old forum and any possible email addresses you would have used before. Without that info we cannot locate your account.

Go Back   Bob Dunsire Bagpipe Forums > Great Highland Bagpipe > Beginners, Intermediate, +
Register FAQ Calendar Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read

Beginners, Intermediate, + Discuss issues, tackle problems, share experiences, ask questions, and look for specific help...

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old 11-04-2020, 07:16 PM   #21
Forum Regular
Join Date: Sep 2015
Location: New Jersey, USA
Posts: 173
Default Re: What reaction do you get when playing in public?

I used to have to practice outdoors, so I've gotten a lot of reactions. I would play in a city park near my apartment at the time, or in a wildlife refuge near my work, or any open area I could. I've gotten tune requests, requests to let people take a video, people stopping to sit on a bench and smoke a joint while listening, people offering me a joint, woken people up who were sleeping(?) in bushes, had people see me and leave then return with their kids, been told to shut the F* up, had someone ask me to stay for an open mic they were about to set up, and a lot of people stopping to relate stories of how there were pipes at their grandfather's funeral or some such. I've had a few veterans and firefighters thank me for playing.

Maybe the most unexpected reaction I got was I was playing once in a public land preserve in a rural area, on a foggy day. A woman came out of the fog and told me she had been walking in the woods trying to practice echolocation - closing her eyes and snapping her fingers to see if she could make out the contours of her surroundings by listening to the echos. She snapped her fingers and heard a bagpipe in the distance, and followed the sound. She felt like she had summoned me out of the fog, and wanted to see if I was really there.

I suppose we have to remember that we play a very public instrument, and though we may just need to practice sometimes, the sound can hold all kinds of meaning for the people who hear it. If you can get pretty well in tune and play carefully, you should be fine and end up having interactions that make someone's day, and sometimes make yours.

Last edited by DapperDan; 11-04-2020 at 07:22 PM.
DapperDan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-09-2020, 04:02 PM   #22
Forum Member - Shy or Quiet
Join Date: Jan 2019
Location: Toronto, ON
Posts: 3
Default Re: What reaction do you get when playing in public?

Originally Posted by Piper_DaveTO View Post
Our Toronto band of 6-8 pipers and a tenor has been practicing in an isolated public park since our normal practice location is closed. Passers-by often stop for a while to listen and a few have even made tune requests. I’ve also ventured out to play on my own a couple of times this month. Again, it’s not been an issue and I’ve even had some applause after playing a few sets! Only one person has asked me about my pipes. The remainder just seem happy to watch and enjoy the music.
Which park? I'm also in Toronto - would love to come check you all out!
briguy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-12-2020, 11:19 AM   #23
Holy smoking keyboard!
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: North America
Posts: 3,767
Default Re: What reaction do you get when playing in public?

Greetings to All,

Yesterday... it being November the 11th... and because
of our now increasingly grim... public health situation...
and the concomitant restrictions upon gatherings and
movement... and there being no public engagements...
it seemed to me... that a bit of pro bono playing... at
some appropriate setting... would be in good order.

There is a small... and very out-of-the-way military
cemetery... that is rather far-distant from almost
everything... and the only reason I know of it... is
that about five years ago... I was called to play there
for a funeral and interment service.

And... in retrospect... some days before the 11th...
it came to mind... and re-minded me... of some of
those small and out-of-the-way military grave sites...
that are scattered about in Normandy... and for which
some of the lads and I would form small detachments...
and after the ceremonies at Sword Beach... we would
travel to those sites... and play there... as well...

This... then... was to me... a good... and proper... thing
to be done... "Lest we forget... Lest we forget"... ("Far
called our navies melt away-- On dune and headland
sinks the fire-- Lo, all our pomp of yesterday--is one
with Nineveh and Tyre!")

And so... the 11th... I again found myself in this quite
similar setting...

Very few people there... perhaps a dozen or so... and
scattered about... in ones, and twos, and threes.

There is a small monument there...inside the grounds...
near the entrance... and I chose that place from which
to play... and after "America the Beautiful" and "Abide
With Me"... and... as I walked back to my car... several
there spoke to me... and with heart-felt gratitude... for
my coming there to play... and once and again... I was
moved... and simply grateful... for what we... are called...
and are able... to do...

This is no small... or transient thing... that we do... for
it... Lasts... as is carried about... within others... and
long after... the last notes... we have played...

Wishing for All... Good Days,


My friends all know,
With what a brave carouse...

Last edited by Pip01; 11-12-2020 at 11:25 AM.
Pip01 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-19-2020, 10:04 AM   #24
Forum Silver Medal
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: Scottish Global Citizen
Posts: 359
Default Re: What reaction do you get when playing in public?

Out of necessity I quite often have to practice outdoors, just the patio area of my own garden and thankfully fairly sheltered from view from everyone except my neighbours on either side. The sound does travel around the area though as we live in a valley with cliffs on three sides and we're high up.

Thankfully everyone seems happy enough, especially the neighbours who all love the pipes. On one side the house is being rebuilt and the owner likes to do regular video updates of progress, I quite often see him doing that when I'm playing. He told me he likes to have my music in his videos. On the other side I have a professional singer, again he loves the pipes so I'm lucky there as well. To be honest, he makes more noise than I do when he practices (and parties!!).

Next to the singer there's a hobbyist DJ and he sometimes blasts music too. I joke that the DJ, the Tenor (singer) and the piper probably brought the property prices down round here!

Very occasionally, I give a round of "crowd pleasers" like Amazing Grace and some jigs etc. to give them a break from the piobaireachd I usually play. Probably the most disconcerting thing is realising someone has a video camera on me. One time someone filmed constantly through a piobaireachd, a breakdown in the crunluth singling, the restart and then the whole tune again. I dread to think what might be on social media!!

Last edited by Bluescottygirl; 11-19-2020 at 10:14 AM.
Bluescottygirl is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-19-2020, 09:48 PM   #25
Holy smoking keyboard!
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: North America
Posts: 3,767
Default Re: What reaction do you get when playing in public?

It being a warm and beautiful day... a mate and
I played outside his building this afternoon... and
cars slowed... and people waved... and others who
were walking not too far away... came over for a bit
of a listen... and chat... :)

Yet another... Lovely Time... with lovely people... :)

My friends all know,
With what a brave carouse...
Pip01 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-25-2020, 11:08 PM   #26
Chris C.
Forum Silver Medal
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Seattle, Washington
Posts: 403
Default Re: What reaction do you get when playing in public?

I've only had positive experiences for the most part. If I play outside where I live (in a neighborhood), it's not too loud for people and those who are walking about generally like hearing it. Sometimes they thank me later. Obviously the outside playing keeps the volume down, which probably helps. If it's at a family gathering, they naturally are positive about it.

The only negative was at a pub right after midnight on New Year's, when several people wanted me to play a few tunes before closing, and a woman who had just gotten off work at a different pub had a headache and didn't want to hear me play. In fact, I was already playing when she came in, and instantly she was yelling and complaining.

An argument ensued between the two factions -- her and her female buddy, and the people who had asked me to play -- where money was even involved -- "I'll pay you to play, forget what she says!" / "I'll pay you not to play!"

I forget how it went. I think I played a short tune and then stopped. It was a few years ago, mid 1990's probably, so I don't remember if I took the money from the people who wanted to hear the pipes, if I did it was probably a couple bucks at best.

Last edited by Chris C.; 11-25-2020 at 11:10 PM.
Chris C. is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-24-2020, 06:36 AM   #27
Forum Member - Shy or Quiet
Join Date: Jul 2020
Location: Virginia
Posts: 30
Default Re: What reaction do you get when playing in public?

So, the best reaction I’ve probably had so far is when I started playing down by a pond, 50 yards from the nearest other person, and a policeman came and made me stop. I guess current regulations are “no outdoor music” because wind instruments can aerosolize the coronavirus.
Davidck is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Yesterday, 10:33 PM   #28
Gavin Patterson
Forum Member - Shy or Quiet
Join Date: Apr 2013
Location: Seattle
Posts: 4
Default Re: What reaction do you get when playing in public?

I often play on my porch. People would stop and listen, clap, and all seem to enjoy it. Neighbors would say they appreciate it, even to the extent of receiving a couple of Xmas cards sent to “the bagpipe player”. Last summer, I received my only negative feedback from a neighbor who claimed his work phone call had been interrupted and asked me to play inside. Fair enough to ask as I have no desire to interrupt his work and under COVID times, we should all be more respectful, but it is a bit of a dilemma given his is the only negative feedback and so many others seem to really appreciate it. Then, and I wonder if anyone else has experienced this subtle and miserable form of communication, the following appeared on the list of nearby WiFi signals, “thebagpiperisadouche”. Pretty laughable and pathetic! At least someone is paying attention. When better weather returns, I will be out there again, but until Mr Misery can tell me more so I can make an effort to avoid impacting his work, he will just have to suck it up.
Gavin Patterson is offline   Reply With Quote

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

All times are GMT -7. The time now is 08:38 AM.