25–27 October 2019
Peter Shipley reports on his first visit to an LBPS Teaching Weekend

Driving to my first LBPS Teaching Weekend brought thoughts of ‘will I be good enough’, ‘what will the people be like’ and ‘what am I going to’! However, after arriving on Friday evening and helped by a very warm welcome by those already there, my worst thoughts were quickly forgotten. With friendly banter and following a great two course dinner everyone settled in for an informal session for a couple of hours before bed. Things were going well.
Saturday dawned with a beautiful blue sky and a short walk before breakfast proved the house to be an amazing venue for a musical weekend. After breakfast Colin Melville started the weekend proper with a tuning session in preparation to play Braigh Loch Iall as a group. Colin is a great teacher and his extensive knowledge and skills enabled the remaining time up to lunch to be a general discussion period on piping methods and techniques, solving piping problems at both beginner and advanced levels.
After a most enjoyable lunch, a tour of the house showed how beautifully unique the building is having oil paintings and sculptures abounding with numerous stone and wood carvings. Following the tour, we got back to work with an introduction to musical scale construction that cleverly lead into instruction on how to apply chords and creating harmonies. We used “Dawning of the Day” to both develop the theory and proved it worked with group playing while accompanied by Colin on the guitar. That evening Ian Kinnear helped with a few more pipe problems and talked about the difference between Scottish and Irish music and how to play in an Irish Session. I was reminded that the clocks changed that evening and the extra hour allowed for an additional hour playing and not an hour in bed. And so it was.
Sunday morning was a very enjoyable session of discussion and playing, which introduced the finer points of pipe tuning and playing.
All in all the weekend was excellent, informative, friendly and most of all fun. For that I would like to thank Anne Duncan for doing the hard work of organising the weekend and especially Colin and Ian for allowing us access to there knowledge in such a free and easy way.
Would I go to another musical weekend? – Definitely but with totally different thoughts on the Friday drive up.

Peter Shipley