My little- rather, my youngest brother (seeing as he’s taller than me now), Whit, got a bagpipe practice chanter for Christmas, and during the school year he’s taken lessons from a teacher at his school. For free. This summer he’s gone a few times to her bagpipe practice group that meets in a church building, and each time the pipers have been eager to work with him and basically give him more free lessons in between their own practice. Perhaps they’re afraid the art is dying out, and they love it too much to ask for money before passing it on.
Well, the other evening I went with Whit to practice to watch and listen and let my Scottish blood tingle. I was quickly interrogated as to whether I played too (no), whether I wanted to (perhaps some day), and at that I was handed a chanter and guided by one big burly man (with a reddish-blond beard), while Whit was interrogated on his practice or lack thereof and worked with through a new song. Our mom had left for a quilter’s meeting across the street, so when we came out I informed her that I now had a borrowed practice chanter and the ability to play the scale! More like honk and puff and screech out the scale, but at least I know where the notes are and how (after a bit of blowing) to make something a bit like a note emerge.
The moral of the story: If you’re around a bagpiper and have some slight wish to play the instrument someday, beware! ;)