If you have questions, check out the frequently asked questions below.
Q.What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
A.Look at accomplishments and be sure your piper is competent. Unfortunately there are pipers who don’t know how to play or tune their instrument and they are out there playing for the public. There are many bagpipers for hire- make sure you get a professional. Oftentimes you don’t get a second chance to make it right.
Q.What important information should buyers have thought through before seeking you out?
A.How long is the gig, where is it, inside or outside, any tunes needed. Many times clients are unsure of what songs they want and that’s fine but it’s important to understand what mood you want to set or what combination of moods.
Q.Why does your work stand out from others who do what you do?
A.I can tune a pipe and play a wide variety of tunes well. I am committed to performing well, being on time, being flexible and considerate of my clients wishes. I am there to make their wishes a reality. I perform and my clients love the sound and the atmosphere I can generate with the pipes- everything from joyous wedding songs to sombre memorial tunes- it is all possible.
Q.What do you like most about your job?
A. I love to play the bagpipe. It really helps other people. I’ve seen them cry with joy and grief and dance too. I love the sound of the pipes, there is no other instrument as powerful as the bagpipe when it comes to human emotion. It grips the soul and stirs up human emotion like few other instruments.
Q.What questions do customers most commonly ask you?
A.They ask about the bagpipe and how it works. They also ask how I got started and why I play them.
Q.Do you have a favorite story from your work?
A. I was a surprise piper at a wedding this year. As I came into the church, playing, the bride was jumping up and down crying with joy. It was such a pleasure to play for her and her future husband. She and I were afraid her mascara would run so I had to calm her down quickly. I still hear from her about how special it was and it was an honor for me to play for her and her new husband.
Q.What do you wish customers knew about you or your profession?
A. There is much more to playing the pipes than just performing. The practice, maintenance and preparation for a performance often take longer than the actual performance itself.
Q.How did you decide to get in your line of work?
A. I love playing the bagpipe and the sound it creates and I enjoy playing for others.
Q.What are your most common types of jobs?
A. Weddings, memorial services, parades, parties, openings, birthday parties, St. Patrick’s Day and any celebration. I often am called to add flair to an event- the client may not have an idea of what they really want but I have enough experience that I can put something together that works really well.
Q.Tell us about a recent job you did that you are particularly proud of.
A. I did a Memorial service yesterday that went especially well. It was dignified, respectful and honored the deceased. Many of the family were very grateful that I came. I played some slow airs and laments leading up to the burial and at the appropriate time played Amazing Grace on pipes(their request). It is always a sad event but I am honored to be able to help people start the grieving process and send off their loved ones with grace and dignity. I feel honored that I am asked to do this.
Q.Do you do any sort of continuing education to stay up on the latest developments in your field?
A. I am constantly working to improve my playing and I am learning new material everyday. Bagpipes take commitment to play well, there are very few days in my calendar that I am not involved in some activity to maintain my level of playing or maintaining my pipes.
Q.Describe your most recent project, what it involved, how much it cost, and how long it took.
A. I had the great opportunity to play for the Flying Scotsman Team at the 2011 Red Bull Soapbox derby in Los Angeles. Out of 900 teams- 40 were chosen to race based on our video featuring me on bagpipes and the team dancing. Out of 40 teams we placed third and I had the opportunity to play in front of 115,000 people. It was a great event – one that I would gladly do again.
Q.If you have a complicated pricing system for your service, please give all the details here.
A. Simple- the price is dependent on time and distance.
Q.If you were advising someone who wanted to get into your profession, what would you suggest?
A. Don’t perform until you are competent. Many inexperienced pipers start performing too early- before they have tunes adequately memorized, and before they know how to tune a bagpipe and treat the customer and the instrument with the respect they both deserve. I’ve seen some people pipe and I’ve cringed; they do a great disservice to those who love the bagpipe and play it well. Make sure you are able to pipe well before you become a bagpiper for hire.
Q.What forms of payment do you accept?
A. I accept cash, check, PayPal, Popmoney or credit card, (small processing fee of $15 is added). When I arrive it is usually the best time to get paid, it’s less disruptive.