I Am Proud to Play a Pipe

I am proud to play a pipe.
I understand the world’s most misunderstood instrument.
In conflict I am the charge up a hill, the landing on the beach, the Flowers of the Forest.
Pipers have fought and died as pipers, for the freedom to play a pipe.
When I play tunes from wartime, I seek to know their story, their inspiration, their authors.
I am a wedding, a graduation, a party, a funeral.
I am competitive edge, and the drive to improve.
I play hundreds of tunes from memory, every one of them different.
From nine notes I make thousands of songs and millions of memories.
I’ve heard every joke: what’s worn, what’s far, far away, and I politely play along.
I will patiently try to inform the misinformed, and gently correct the stereotypes.
I respect every piper, regardless of skill; strive to learn from those better.
I give advice only when asked, always constructively.
Every other piper is a friend, regardless of ability, age, gender or persuasion.
In competition my only concern is for myself or my band.
Selfish but selfless, I want to win but wish only the best to my rivals.
I’m magnanimous in victory and congratulatory in defeat.
Win or lose, I will celebrate with my fellow competitors, appreciating that they did not decide the result.
I will never be the mythical drunken piper.
If I see another piper in need of a helping hand, I will extend it.
My door is always open to any piper who needs a place to stay.
Every judge for whom I play, I will accept their decision.
I respect other piping ways and the ways of other pipers.
As a piper, music played well is always my first goal.
I learn and respect the history of piping and the legacy of those who preceded me.
The Highlands and Islands of Scotland are piping Mecca and always will be.
I will respect and strive to understand piobaireachd, the genesis of pipe music.
I work to improve the piping world, and volunteer my time to my association as I am able, because my association is made up of those just like me.
I am a reluctant leader, and I shun those who seek power to the detriment of my art.
As a piper, I accept and cherish that I will always be the piper to non-pipers.
I wear the kilt proudly, but know that it is less important than good piping.
I will tune my instrument, and learn to keep it in tune, never satisfied until it stays.
I will respect and appreciate drummers, knowing that they could choose to play elsewhere but have chosen the pipes as their partners in time.
I play the pipes, the most misunderstood instrument there is.
I am proud to play a pipe.

17 thoughts on “I Am Proud to Play a Pipe

  1. Andrew. I might not always 100% agree with your opinions but today I completely agree. Thank you for finding a way to put into words what I have always struggled to explain.

    • Thanks, Iain. I would be concerned if anyone always agreed with anyone else 100%. Constructive dialog is what it’s all about. And with this, glad to be of service.

  2. WHEN ASKED—DO I PLAY THE PIPES ?—-I REPLY—-”I AM A PIPER”.
    I DINNAE SCORE IN THE COMPETITIONS –AND I GIVE GREAT PLEASURE AND CLOSURE AT WEDDINGS –FUNERALS—AND WHOOPDEDO’S .
    I ENJOY WEARING THE KILT—AND I RESPECT IT.
    THO I DINNAE SUFFER FOOLS–I TOLERATE THE IGNORANT.
    AND I APOLOGIZE—-NOT AT ALL—–
    I AM A PIPER.!!!!1
    HEARM

  3. Wow, Andrew. This is, like I say when the pipers in our band are in tune prior to checking with the tuner, “spot on”!

  4. It is indeed a creed. One to try to follow. I wonder how many pipers can truly say that they abide by all of it….?

    • That’s a good question. I think it might have been while I was practicing. My brother-in-law gave me a little poster of the Robert The Bruce “For as long as one hundred of us shall remain alive” speech (which I do not necessarily agree with) that I have on the wall, and I thought in the middle of the a-mach of “The Prince’s Salute” or something that we pipers don’t have anything like some sort of creed or code of conduct or statement. Not that we necessarily require one, or that everyone should agree with what I strung together, but perhaps it’s a good conversation starter, and some readers seemed to like it.

  5. Andrew,
    Thank you for the response to my question and for the thoughtful essay.

    ps: “For as long as a hundred” is from The Declaration of Arbroath.
    Keir Todd
    Oregon, USA

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