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Review of the Tim Britton workshop Apr 22, 1999

by John Liestman,

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.

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