With worldwide events cancelled for the forseeable future, the focus of piping and drumming might be to develop our abilities and really enjoy making music for friends and family. We've seen online the tremendous efforts to communicate and support with music, and we look forward to more of that. We thought that this newsletter might offer customers some options for their own development. We'll put these at the top here, and send our best wishes to you all during these troubling times.
ONLINE LEARNING OPPORTUNITIES
The two summer schools with which I have been involved are both going to be online this summer, and the opportunity exists for students from across the globe to attend these schools. The costs are very reasonable, and the instruction is outstanding.
SOUND ADVICE [June 29 - July 3]
This school features instruction from world-renowned pipers and drummers. We have also added Highland and Scottish Stepdance, Irish dance for beginners, bodhran, guitar, Scottish smallpipes and whistle. Group classes for piping, drumming and dancing are in the morning, with some great options for learning in the afternoon.
Instructors include: Callum Beaumont, J. Reid Maxwell, Bruce Gandy, Alex Gandy, Ruaridh MacDonald, Danielle Millar, Ryan MacDonald, Eilidh MacDonald, Elizabeth Shaw, Chantal Watt, Sabra MacGillivray, Adam Brown, Elspeth Hughton and Barbara MacDonald.
Registration is inexpensive and limited. Be sure to check out the school at the website, including full instructor bios and likely schedule. Registration is available online, and open to all.
PHSD has been an amazing school for many years, and this year it will be no different! Offering five hours of programming each day, PHSD offers piping, drumming and Highland dance.
The instructor panel is a virtual who's-who, with Jack Lee, J. Reid Maxwell, Marielle Lespérance, Callum Beaumont, Stuart Liddell, Stephen McWhirter, Alan Bevan, Terry Lee, Fiona Lee plus many members of the SFU Pipe Band, all excellent players and teachers.
PHSD offers a great rate for this school,and complete information and registration is available at the website.
Sadly, we're not going to be travelling to Highland Games this summer, and that band trip to the World's is certainly off. If your travel budget isn't sitting hopefully in airline credits, this might be a chance to upgrade or add a second set of pipes, or a new solo chanter.
We're proud to offer a range of excellent bagpipes, including Peter Henderson, Duncan MacRae, McCallum, Strathmore AB1, R.G. Hardie, and we have an good used set of R.G.Lawries for sale, with all proceeds going to student scholarships at Sound Advice.
Callum Beaumont had an excellent year in the 2019 solos, winning his 4th Clasp at the Northern Meeting, the P-M Alasdair Gillies Challenge, and many other prizes. He has been playing the new R.G. Hardie "Infinity" solo chanter, and it's been sounding great. Connor Sinclair won the Northern Meeting Gold Medal, also playing one of the new chanters. We have these in stock and have played one, and they are just superb. Comfortable feel, lovely sound, rock-solid on all notes, and a piobaireachd High G that goes on for days. Available in wood or plastic.
The Gandy version of the McCallum chanter has also been excelllent. We've supplied quite a few of these to solo pipers, and they find them very comfortable, great spacing and solid sound. Of course both Bruce Gandy and Alex Gandy have been playing them with great success. Alex was recently 2nd in both Gold Medal events and also in the Hornpipe/Jig at Inverness.
And there are more! We've also supplied the McCallum Ceól chanter in poly and blackwood, the G1 Blackwood chanter and the Peter Henderson Blackwood solo chanter to solo pipers in the region, and they are all reporting success.
With more time for learning and reading, we've had a bit of a run on piobaireachd books, and we have a great selection of materials for new and experienced players, including some unique volumes that are generally difficult to access in North America.
• Donald MacLeod's Complete Collection of Piobarieachd  - launched at PipingLive! last summer, this book brings together all Donald MacLeod's known tunes for the first time, in a handy A4 format.
• Capt. John A. MacLellan Collection - you will have heard some great recordings online of "The Edinburgh Piobaireachd" and other tunes from this 20th century master of piping. The collection comes with two CDs featuring top players performing the tunes on pipes.
• Joseph MacDonald "A Complete Theory.." - first piublished in 1803, this recent re-publication by the Piobaireachd Society includes a lot of great historical and contextual material about the music and the players.
• Donald MacDonald Collection, Volume 1 - Published in 1828 by the great Skye-born bagpipe maker and collector, this Piobaireachd Society reprint has the tunes beauitfully reproduced in clear notation, along with extensive historical and notes of playing. This is a great book for exploring the style favoured by this 19th century great.
• General Priciples of Piobaireachd: A Guide to Interpretation - The book includes background and information about the understanding and performing of piobaireachd, including accents, phrasing, tune structures, pacing, embellishments, and much more. As well, Andrew Wright gives concrete examples of how these concepts apply to some of the best-known tunes.
• The Piper's Meeting - This collection contains 45 piobaireachds from the famous Campbell Canntaireachd (1796), which was has been a major source of tunes since it was compiled, but many of the tunes have been inaccessible to modern pipers because the manuscript has not been widely available, and pipers are not as conversant with canntaireachd as they are with staff notation.
• The Kilberry Book of Ceol Mor - The Kilberry book contains 114 tunes, arranged by Archibald Campbell of Kilberry.This is an excellent starting point for many players. You will need a pencil and an experienced tutor to get the most out of this book.
• Sidelights to the Kilberry Book of Ceol Mor -They were first published by the Piobaireachd Society in 1984 and 1986 respectively, together with scores and notes relating to an additional ten tunes taken from the manuscript book and 'companion volume' compiled by Archibald Campbell in 1916, referred to in James Campbell's Editor's Preface.
• Piobaireachd Fingerwork - Jim McGillivray breaks the difficult technique of piobaireachd into bite-size morsels that are understandable and that come together into complete movements. There are 118 exercises and five complete piobaireachds to help you put the exercises into practice. All are recorded into mp3 files that are easily downloaded from a web location specified in the book.
• The History and Structure of Ceol Mor - First published in 1982, this handy reference offers histories of many tunes, as well as notes on phrase structure and note patterns that help make many tunes easier to memorize and understand.
The Tone Protector™ Reed Case offers unparalleled protection for your most important and valuable pipe chanter reeds. Storing your reeds at a constant and precisely-chosen humidity level is the single easiest and powerful thing you can do to instantly improve your bagpipe sound. That’s exactly what the Tone Protector does.
We also have replacement Boveda packs for your reed case and your Tone Protector!
• G1 Platinum - This reed is favoured by many bands in all grades for the quality and consistency they deliver, and they go well in a variety of chanters. Played by the SFU Pipe Band, among many others.
• Chesney - The majority of Grade 1 prizewinning bands play Chesney reeds [Inveraray, Field Marshal, SLOT...] and they do so because they really are good. In our experience, they may be a little harder to manage in dry/high climates, but deliver a broad rich sound when managed well.
• Melvin - Adrian Melvin turned his years of top Grade 1 experience into making chanter and drone reeds, and his reeds are being played by ScottishPower Pipe Band. We've supplied these reeds at lower strengths to bands in the prairie region, and they are stable and easy to manage.
• Troy, MacLellan and Sound Supreme - JWT Reedmakers and Colin MacLellan both make excellent reeds suitable for solo and band, and you'll find that many of the world's top soloists are playing one or the other. Need a great piobaireachd high G? Look no further. We have also recently added reeds by Ontario reedmaker John Elliot, renowned for his mastery of sound.
• DRONE REEDS - Ezeedrone, Selbie, Henderson and Canning drone reeds ready to go! We have both models of Canning, the Blue and the Original, and you can ask for either the carbon bass or the inverted bass. Both are excellent. We also have CANE BASS REEDS by Chesney, G1 and Reelpipes.com.
We have a large stock of bags in various sizes by James Begg (sheepskin, cowhide), Bannatyne (most sizes in stock) and Canmore, including the newer Canmore hybrid hide/synth which is a great bag, and the one used by Fred Morrison.
We now carry drumsticks by Steven McWhirter, Jim Kilpatrick (KP2),Stephen Creighton, Tyler Fry and Jordan Bailie!
The legendary Alex Duthart's Collection (2 books) has not always been easy to get, but we're making it as easy as possible! These are books that every serious Highland snare drummer needs to own, study and play.