A good piper – how do I know?
Just as with any other musicians, there can be a vast difference in the standard of different pipers. A simple benchmark of a good piper is one who has performed in a Grade I pipe band, or in solo bagpipe competitions and has had success against the very best. To get to this level requires talent, dedication, and a love for the instrument. Quite simply, a “Journeyman” piper does not get here.
A good piper takes pride in the uniform and will have a perfectly tuned bagpipe, which even to the untrained ear will be instantly recognisable as being a class above the rest. Importantly, the piper’s experience ensures that the bagpipe will be perfectly tuned in minimal time regardless of weather conditions or lack of rehearsal facilities, which is the norm when performing at an event.
When hiring a journeyman piper, in addition to having to listen to poor playing and an out of tune instrument, there’s a risk that the bagpipe will malfunction, causing the piper to stop and cause an embarrassing break in the proceedings.
The Highland Bagpipe is a complex instrument and requires a high level of skill and experience to maintain it. It cannot be left under the bed for weeks and played again after being left for a lengthy period of time. A good piper can simply assemble the bagpipe and perform straight away with minimal time spent tuning. This is only because the piper practices frequently and has the skill to setup and maintain the instrument properly. Similarly, the piper’s uniform also requires regular cleaning and care and maintenance of various items in order for the piper to look tip-top in your photographs. Your piper should wear the ceremonial Piper’s No.1 Full Highland Dress as standard, and not the far less spectacular Day Dress.
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