Tim Britton, uilleann piper and
pipemaker, was scheduled to do probably a 3 hour
workshop (it was hard to make clear contact with him
while he was on the road). When he arrived in
Houston, he mentioned that he would not mind it being
longer. On the night of the workshop, 6 of us local
pipers and pipe-owners showed up, plopped down our
$25 and began. First Tim evaluated and tweaked each
of our chanters (he is a master reedsmith) and
improved each instrument, with the exception of one
that simply needed too much work to be done on the
spot. I think each participant ended up with a better
sounding and playing chanter. Along the way, Tim told
us the logic he was using and we all learned a lot
about reed adjustments (truly the bane of pipers).
Next we each played Tim a tune so
that he could assess where we were and give us tips
on our next steps. Along the way, we got a lot of
ideas from him on how he would decorate a tune AND
WHY and a good insight into Tim's thoughts on how
pipes should be played. Information that will give us
months if not years worth of stuff to work on.
Finally, we had to break it up, as a
few of us had to be at work the next day. When all
was said and done, the workshop lasted about SEVEN
HOURS! Let me know next time you find this kind of
tuition, for this price, from this well-known a
musician. Such a deal!
John Liestman is an award-winning
maker of Northumbrian Smallpipes and author of the
acclaimed manual "The Northumbrian Smallpipes
Tutor". His home page is here.