can I tell a good piper from a "marginal" player?
Once you've got a contact, and assuming that you have
some time, don't just ask if they have an instrument and a kilt. Ask about his/her
Copyright S.K. MacLeod 1996-2016
- Ask how long they've been playing:
It takes about three years of study before a piper
should be doing ANY solo gigs - even for friends. Most
players begin to reach their limits after about seven
or eight years, but every player reaches a different
development plateau. (read about The Development of a
- Ask about their performance experience:
Have they done your type of event previously?
What do they recommend for your event? Can the
play the tunes you want?
- Ask about competition experience:
Most assertive players, working hard to get ahead,
will have competed. (read
What do the grade
levels mean?) (Note: I
think the worst I've ever heard of was a person who'd
never taken a lesson, much less competed in a band
above Grade IV, nor as a soloist, calling themselves
a "Master Piper".)
- Ask about their learning experiences:
Active tutelage (giving and/or receiving) or
attendance at a summer piping school is a good sign
- Ask if they are playing with a band:
Current or past experience with local pipe bands or
folk groups also a good sign of musicianship.
- Ask for a demo tape:
If they're serious about playing, (s)he'll be able to
provide you with a demo tape with tunes suitable for
your event. If you don't like the tape, don't do it.
Find another piper.
- Develop your