In our previous issue we announced a new bellows-piping event in the USA. We received the following report on what looks like becoming a regular feature of the bellows-pipe calendar

San Leandro, California was the location for a  Pipers’ weekend in November which featured 2 days of classes for bellows pipers of all levels. It was a fantastic weekend and I would very much like to give positive feedback for EJ Jones our tutor!
 Here's a little of what we learned:
●    How to start up
●    Tuning - to our drones as well as to pianos or singers
●     The "lonesome touch"
●     Jig phrasing (emphasis on beats 1,3,4 and 6)
●     About just vs equal temperament tuning
●     Mental power - practicing playing with only the bag and no bellows and vice-versa
●     Embellishments (turns, slurs, vibrato, suspensions, crossing "noises", vamping, and Low A (or B) pedal tone
●     Learning by ear - and some holiday tunes
●     Drone and chanter reed adjustments
●     Dancing to 'An Dro' and 'Atholl Highlanders'!
Being human, I am compelled to compare this workshop with the many others I have attended over the years.  And I can honestly say that the quantity and quality of the material that EJ shared with us was just unbeatable.  Here are just some of the highlights that stood out for me:
●    EJ's advance prep - sending tunes in advance so we wouldn't spend class time learning the dots, but rather, learning technique. Talking with each student before the workshop to learn individual goals and needs and thus, to plan content tailored to the participants.
●    Friday pipe maintenance clinic - making sure each student was sorted out (as much as possible) before the workshop, thus devoting class time to the group instead of individual "equipment" issues.
●    One-on-one attention
●    Unflagging energy and patience - EJ is completely focused on what he can do to help his students - not what he can do to promote his products.
●    Teaching style - mix of lecture, demonstration, and student participation to reinforce what we just heard.
We are already planning our second annual Bellows By the Bay

EJ Jones teaching a group at the Bellows By The Bay Weekend