I refer, of course, to my current instructorless state.
Time and again the question arises on the Bob Dunsire Forums, “How do I go about learning piobaireachd?” and in almost every case the first answer is “Get an instructor!”
This past season I have been teaching myself The Lament for Captain MacDougall, and I even had some moderate success with the first two parts at the local Salt Lake Highland Games. My untutored condition is about to change, however, thanks to the efforts of Justin Howland, our band instructor (and resident Grade 1 soloist). Next Monday will be the first of a piobaireachd workshop series taught by Justin.
To get us started, Justin has picked the tune “Is Fada Mar So A Tha Sinn”, or “Too Long in This Condition”. It’s a beautiful tune – actually not “Too Long” (just the Urlar + 5 variations) – and is from a group of tunes with the Fosgailte structure. These are tunes that use the crunluath fosgailte (a kind of high-hand crunluath) in place of the regular crunluath, which produces a lighter more rippling sound. I’ve never tried to play this embellishment, so it should be interesting for that alone.
In any case, it goes without saying that I’m looking forward to Monday, and kudos to Justin for initiating something like this.