Teaching Older Players – a Panel Discussion – Part 1
We continue our look into the joys, benefits and challenges of older pipers and drummers with a fascinating and essential panel discussion with world-famous piping teachers Jori Chisholm of BagpipeLessons.com in Seattle, Margaret Dunn of the National Piping Centre in Glasgow, and Andrew Douglas of the Piper’s Dojo and Dojo University in Albany, New York.
With the average age of the piping and drumming world’s population getting older, the experience of players over age 40 will come increasingly into focus.
There will always be a search for new, young pipers and drummers so that future generations and the art can be nurtured, but older players can’t be overlooked. Associations can see rapid drop-off once members reach 35, so efforts to retain them are generally few.
But what about teaching itself? One might observe that competitive piping and drumming paid short shrift three or four decades ago to those older than, say, 15 who wanted to learn. Have attitudes changed? What are the benefits, concerns and opportunities teaching older learners and more established players?
Our esteemed panellists:
Jori Chisholm is a mover and shaker in the piping and drumming world. The founder of BagpipeLessons.com, the world’s first online business that focuses on instruction, Chisholm is one of the world’s most successful competitive pipers, with a bounty of solo awards and more than 20 years as a member of the Grade 1 Simon Fraser University Pipe Band on Vancouver. BagpipeLessons.com continues to stage the World Online Solo Piping & Drumming Championships. Chisholm is the inventor and manufacturer of several innovative and award-winning products designed to improve the piper’s experience with the notoriously temperamental instrument.
A native of Ireland, Margaret Dunn has lived in and taught piping at the National Piping Centre in Glasgow for many years, teaching pipers of every age and ability in Scotland and worldwide. One of history’s most competitively successful female solo pipers, her awards include both the March and Strathspey & Reel at the Argyllshire Gathering and the Silver Medal at the Northern Meeting. She’s a member of Grade 1 Shotts & Dykehead Caledonia and has led the Grade 3 Cullen Pipe Band of County Cork, Ireland. In addition to teaching, Dunn is the head of The CLASP (Competition League for Amateur Solo Pipers), running an annual season of in-person and online competitions for adult amateur players worldwide.
The founder, creator and CEO of the Piper’s Dojo and Dojo University, Andrew Douglas made piping his profession after graduating from college. His teaching experience is as comprehensive as can be, working with beginners, intermediate learners, and advanced players of every age and background. He was the pipe-major of Grade 1 Oran Mor for six years and has won numerous prizes at the top solo levels, including events at Winter Storm, the Northern Meeting and the Argyllshire Gathering. A member of Grade 1 Inveraray & District for almost 10 years, he was part of the band’s 2017 and 2019 World Championship wins.
We are pleased to bring pipes|drums readers and viewers Part 1 of our panel discussion with three of the most accomplished and respected teachers in the Highland piping world.
Stay tuned for Part 2 of our Teaching Older Players panel discussion.