Second Piping Lesson

Well, my second (again) piping lesson came off pretty well tonight. I say ‘pretty well’ because it’s been one month since the last lesson and very little practice was had during the Christmas and New Year’s season. I spent about an hour Sunday evening practicing until my lips were so weak I couldn’t keep a seal on the chanter. It was horrible… I had spit running down the length of the chanter, making for a slippery playing experience. It was disgusting. Anyway, I practiced a bit tonight before heading out to John’s house, which was sort of dumb because I started having the same lip failure even before I left the house. As a contingency I took along my Shuttle Pipes in case I suffered catastrophic lip failure whilst at my lesson. I am happy to report that no such failure occurred.

What did occur was me getting my ass kicked by this passage:

Most of the lesson went fairly well, but we spent the last 15 minutes working on just that one damnable passage. My fingers just went all wonky when I came to those two measures and refused to play properly nine times out of eleven. The rest of the tune was very nearly perfect, but not those two spawn-of-Satan measures. O no. Very frustrating, indeed. Back when I was taking lessons five years ago I always had problems with this bit, so this really isn’t anything new. That doesn’t make it any less aggravating.

Ah well, I’ve got two whole weeks to work on it and get it polished up. Now I just need to practice during those two weeks, and not wait until the night before my lesson…

Piping Lessons Well Begun… Again… Well, Almost…

Some of you who know me know that about six years ago I started playing the Highland bagpipe under the expert tutelage of Mr. John Recknagel. Some of you also know that about two years after beginning lessons I stopped them due to the birth of my wonderful son. Well, I’ve been trying for two years now to get back with John, but he’s been full up with students. Finally John has an opening and I’ve now got it. My first lesson was supposed to be last night, but he called 10 minutes before I walked out the door saying he was still at his office and wouldn’t be home in time. Ah well, we’ll try again in two weeks. The extra delay is actually a good thing since it gives me more time to practice and try to get back into some sort of playing shape before embarrassing myself in front of him… Actually I haven’t lost as much of my ability as I’d feared, but much work is still needed.

All of which leads me to an amusing Thomas story. Sunday night I was telling him I had to return to work on Monday after being home for the long Thanksgiving weekend. Here’s a transcript:

Me: You know I have to go back to work tomorrow, right?
Thomas: Drat!
Me: I’ll be home for a few hours after work but then I have to leave for a little while.
Thomas: Where are you going?
Me: I have to go to Mr. Recknagel’s house so he can tell me how bad my bagpiping is.
Thomas: No… I should go with you to tell him that it’s not bad. It’s great!

What a great cheerleader!