Just when I was getting used to a slight lull in piping events be it from parades, concerts, Highland games, band practice or lessons the time has come where the lessons start up again and band practices are not too far behind them. I have been taking my lessons at the Glengarry School of Piping and Drumming with this being the start of my third season. Their instruction is fantastic with many instructors from the Ottawa Police Services grade 1 band. We enjoy the luxury, here in Eastern Ontario, of being in a band-populous area. In and around the National Capital area we have numerous grade 5 bands, a few grade 4 bands, a grade 3 band and a grade 1 band. That's a lot of inspiration and challenge for a 3rd year piper. I am looking forward to the band aspect of my piping career but this year I plan to start taking part in solo piping competitions. I took part in a few over the summer with disappointing results. This off-season/lesson season I will be taking some private lessons to augment my group lessons at the school in an effort to improve my solo playing. The local pipe band society, the Pipers and Pipe Band Society of Ontario, holds solo competitions for piping and drumming at different skill levels throughout the winter. These are called Knock Outs. They have category A for experienced grade 3 pipers up to grade 1 and they have category B for grade 5 up to less experienced grade 3. Luckily for me they also have a 40+ category for adult learners getting started in solo competing. That is where I will be competing. I will be nervous as playing the knock out is in front of spectators which are fellow pipers and drummers. All I have done as far as solo competing goes is a few Highland Games which has very few spectators for the solo competitions. This new experience for me will hopefully work on the "nerves" component and the "focus" component as they have been my kryptonite during band competitions this past year. It's all about growth and hopefully this will help me.
Another thing I want to share is a blog post from blog portion of the Pipes|Drums web site. It talks about the support we get as pipers or drummers from our families and/or spouses. It really hit home with me as my spouse is so supportive of my piping hobby. Here is that post.