Rescue Your Bagpipe Sound
May 31 - June 2, 2024 • Troy, New York
You don't have to be "that person" who loves bagpipes but can't figure out how to make them sound good.
Make May 31st the last day you ever worry about tuning your pipes by
joining us at the world's only tuning-centric bagpipe workshop.
Tuning Your Bagpipes Shouldn't Be a Struggle
Are you one of the many pipers who just can't tune themselves (yet)?
It's the most basic element of playing any instrument, but many bagpipers just can't do it, no matter how hard they try.
As a teacher, it's painful to watch. Here are great folks, working as hard as they possibly can to tame the most noble of instruments, but one of the most basic elements just isn't happening for them. Spouses, family, and other pipers don't respect the time and the passion they put into the instrument because... can we be honest?
They just don't sound good when they play.
We go to bagpipe workshops because we have a glaring tuning weakness. We learn a lot about tuning (and tons of other topics). But, look closely: We don't actually learn that much about doing the process of tuning.
We touch it, talk about it, do it once or twice, then it's on to another big topic.
We never quite get our footing underneath us before we move on.
If I'm being honest, standard lessons with experts don't usually work to learn to tune either - 1 hour is not long enough to get into all the details. Even if you have lessons every week, that 1 hour lesson (followed by a loooong gap where you're on your own) doesn't build nearly enough momentum to learn tuning skills well.
Occasional, surface-layer lessons (whether an actual "bagpipe lesson" or at a bagpipe workshop) don't work when it comes to bagpipe tuning. It's too complex a task. It requires immense focus and repetition up front.
Not being able to play in tune and feel that rich, powerful, transcendent feeling that it gives you makes getting the pipes out of the box a chore instead of a reward. It makes you feel frustration. Go long enough without that passion or desire to play, and you're going to quit. Or even worse - you're going to keep playing but resenting the experience.
Enter the Dojo U Tuning Clinic!
Based on this huge challenge pipers face, I decided to put on a weekend workshop entirely focused on bagpipe tuning. No expression, no crossing noise exercises, no Piobaireachd lectures... JUST tuning.
When you learn to tune:
• Bagpiping becomes fun again.
• You desperately want to play your bagpipes LONGER instead of not at all.
• Your family and friends are (actually) proud of you.
• The world as a whole stops seeing the bagpipes as a joke.
Our Dojo University Tuning Clinic is the only bagpipe workshop that eliminates bad tuning by focusing on only tuning throughout an entire weekend. I promise you will be able to tune your pipes well by the end of our clinic.
How confident am I in that promise? Can I deliver? More on that later...
What To Expect
Experience what being in tune actually feels like
At the tuning clinic, you'll have hands-on-help from world-renowned tuning experts, so you can get help with those holes in your tuning technique, and then actually feel what being in tune is like. Many of us have never been in tune before. Feeling the sensation of playing your own well-tuned bagpipes is going to be a major break-through for you.
Get your specific tuning needs addressed
Tuning is an intricate process, and your tuning issues might be different than the challenges others have.
At the tuning clinic, we have several lectures but have plenty of very small breakout sessions, so that you can get your specific needs addressed by our world-class instructors. Using this structure, you'll actually reach that incredible freeing feeling of tuning your pipes on your own by the end of the weekend.
Be able to tune yourself on your own - again, and again
By taking a deep look into our 13 Steps of Great Bagpipe Sound, you'll start to see that there's a process to producing great bagpipe sound, and that you can learn to control that process. More importantly, you'll start to feel excited about piping, and you'll have breakthroughs that will carry through to every practice session you have from here on out.
Enjoy the knowledge AND the experience
The workshop takes place at the Arts Center of the Capital Region, home of the Dojo U headquarters in Troy, NY. During our Saturday lunch break, simply step outside the front door to soak in the shops, sounds, smells, and tastes of the famous Troy Waterfront Farmer's Market! There are plenty of sites to see and restaurants to visit in downtown Troy when you're not working on your piping.
Our host hotel is the Hilton Garden Inn on Hoosick Street, less than a ten minute drive from our workshop home base.
Schedule of Events
3:45pm-5:30pm - FIRST SESSION: Getting your pipes ready for launch!
In our first session, we're going to do a "gang-busters" review of bagpipe maintenance issues. We can't tune our pipes unless they are in pristine working order. We'll go through the essential 4 questions of bagpipe maintenance together as a group, and then we'll break-out into small groups to give all of our instruments a thorough "once over."
6pm - SOCIAL TIME
Friday evening, we'll have a chance to socialize together after our opening session. We will provide a list of recommended restaurants and pubs in the area.
8:30am-9:15am - SECOND SESSION - Cornerstone #1: Steady Blowing
How are you supposed to tune a bagpipe that's not blown steadily? You aren't! In the first session, we'll talk about the development of a steady blowing cycle, and then we'll do some hands-on exercises to start to dial things in.
9:15am-10:15am - FIRST BREAKOUT SESSION
Now, we're going to break out and work in small groups and actually do the stuff we talked about! Do you ever get the feeling that the usual bagpipe workshops are all "blah blah" and not enough "do the thing"? Well, we do too! Let's get our hands dirty.
10:30am-11:00am - THIRD SESSION - Cornerstone #2: Tuning two drones together
Once we can blow steadily (or, at least, once we've got a plan), it's time to work on the next cornerstone of tuning - bringing drones in tune together. Afraid you don't have "the ear?" Just "can't do it"? We think you can, and we'll teach you how.
11:00am - 12:00pm - SECOND BREAKOUT SESSION
12:00pm-1:30pm - Lunch on your own
We HIGHLY recommend visiting the Troy Waterfront Farmers Market, right outside the front door on River St. It's a great time, and a great breath of fresh air after an intense morning!
1:30pm-2:30pm - FORTH SESSION - Cornerstone #3: Tuning drone(s) to the chanter
Believe it or not, once you can tune two drones together, there's really only one other key skill to master before we're done. And, we'll talk about that in this session. Here, we'll take what we've learned so far and apply it to the logistically challenging task of tuning the chanter and the drones together.
2:30pm-3:30pm - THIRD BREAKOUT SESSION
3:45pm-4:15pm - FIFTH SESSION - Cornerstone #4: Bagpipe Tuning "Workflow"
So, we can tune our drones together, check! We can tune our drone to our chanter... check!
Well, now we'll put it all together, using one of two classic "tuning workflows."
4:15pm-5:15pm - FOURTH BREAKOUT SESSION
5:15pm-5:45pm - SATURDAY RECAP, SUNDAY PREVIEW
This is a final get-together to recap the arc of the day, and preview a few topics we'll cover tomorrow morning.
6:30pm - GROUP DINNER
Join us for a group dinner courtesy of Dojo U. (Drinks are on your own tab, though.)
8:30am - 11:00am - GUIDED PRACTICE
Today, it's time to simply practice. Let's work through the skills we've develop thus far, and just get some reps in.
We'll be there to guide you when you get stuck. Soon though, it'll be time to head out into the real world of piping - when you do, you'll have the confidence and "tuning swagger" you need to truly up your game.
Bonus: Sign Up Before April 1st to Receive Three Free Online Courses
If you sign up before April 1st, we'll send you access to THREE essential bagpipe sound courses that you can study leading up to the clinic. We'll cover these very concepts in depth at the workshop, so if you can master the ideas and concepts beforehand (and try a few things on your own), the workshop can truly be a hands-on, breakthrough experience for you where you can truly make huge gains, instead of trying to tackle all of the concepts from scratch.
FREE with Registration
4 Simple Steps to an Easy Bagpipe Online Success Plan Course
Master the "4 Questions" that ensure your bagpipes are easy to play every time you pick them up out of the case!
$47 Value - FREE with registration today.
FREE with Registration
Master the Steady Blowing "Trifecta" Online Success Plan Course
There's more to it than just "blowing steady." Master the three concepts of great bagpipe tone in this course.
$47 Value - FREE with registration today.
FREE with Registration
6 Steps of the Bagpipe Tuning Cycle Online Success Plan Course
You need to master 6 steps to be a great bagpipe tuner. Learn each step in depth in this course.
$47 Value - FREE with registration today.
Tuning Clinic Instructors
Andrew is a prolific practitioner of the bagpipe, active at the highest level of pipe bands, solo competition, teaching, and creative endeavors for the past 20 years. He was 2017 & 2019 World Champion with Inveraray and District Pipe Band, 2017 Winner of the USA Silver Medal for Piobaireachd, 2008–2013 Pipe Major of Grade 1 Oran Mor Pipe Band, multi-prize winner of Silver Medals at Oban and Inverness, the 2004 B-Grade Winner Strathspey/Reel at Oban. Andrew published his debut and award-winning book, Finding Bagpipe Freedom, in 2021. He's also an Accredited Bagpipe Teacher and Examiner (Scottish Qualifications Authority) and holds a Bachelor Degree in Fine Arts from Simon Fraser University.
Pipe Major Andrew Fusco
Originally from upstate New York, Andy is now well and truly a Las Vegas local. In addition to running the Las Vegas Pipe Band as Pipe Major for more than a decade, Andy performs and teaches bagpipes full-time, is a kit drummer for two Vegas rock bands, and co-hosts a notoriously popular piping podcast. Andy has played in the World Pipe Band Championships several times and enjoys travelling overseas to play at competitions and events. Andy has been a popular weekly class tutor at the Dojo for many years, and is also a Dojo U workshop, cruise, and special event regular instructor.
What our attendees say
"Exceptionally organized, efficiently carried out, and well beyond my expectations..."
"I attended the Dojo Tuning Clinic in May, 2018, along with quite a few other members of Dojo University. The Clinic was exceptionally organized, efficiently carried out, and went well beyond my expectations I had for improving my ability to tune my own bagpipes. "
DR JOHN HOLCOMBE // Indiana, USA
"The clinic cleared away the confusion and made accurate self tuning a reality..."
"The tuning clinic really gave me such a confidence boost in having control over my instrument and understanding how to tune the drones. It was always a bit of a mystery, but the concrete, factual methods taught at the clinic cleared away the confusion and made accurate self tuning a reality."
Beth Paul // Vermont, USA
"Judges now write 'well tuned pipe, drones to chanter'..."
"I'm a 40 year player that could not tune my pipe if my life depended on it. The tuning clinic eradicated that condition. Judges now write "well tuned pipe, drones to chanter". The tuning fundamentals build on each other so great tuning can be achieved. The blow trick is the best thing since sliced bread. Well done Dojo U."
Ken Allan // Ontario, Canada
"The techniques learned over that weekend were an epiphany..."
"I always stressed when tuning myself, never trusting my own hearing and like many of us I relied on other people to assist me or used a tuner. Not happy with either alternative, I signed on for the Tuning Clinic. The techniques learned over that weekend were an epiphany. Basically, the Dojo teaches that tuning is a Journey not a destination and gave me a roadmap so I can now confidently tune myself and continue on my piping Journey."
Patrick mcbride // New York, USA
TUNING CLINIC REGISTRATION
The Dojo University Tuning Clinic
May 31 - June 2, 2024
- 3 days of JUST TUNING
- Lectures and hands-on small group sessions
- Master the "four cornerstones" of great tuning
- Comfortable environment and social atmosphere
- Complimentary group dinner
- BONUSES! 4 Steps to an Easy Bagpipe Course, Steady Blowing Trifecta Course, and Tuning Cycle Course ($141 value) completely free!
100% Satisfaction Guarantee
We promise that you'll be able to tune your pipes well by the end of this weekend workshop. It's as simple as that.
Tuning is the main ingredient to FEELING GOOD about playing the bagpipes. It's what gives you confidence, what makes others respect and admire you, what allows you to use the bagpipes to transcend the toils of every day life.
If our usual methods don't work for you, we'll turn over every stone we can think of to help you learn to tune.
And of course - if you're not 100% thrilled with your results from the clinic, we'll give you your money back in full (and you can keep all three free bonus courses "on us.")
Frequently Asked Questions
You can sign up any time before the clinic, IF there’s enough space left, and if the hotel has room availability. We are limiting sign ups to 15 registrants, so it might be best to sign up quickly!
Also, any unused hotel rooms in our group block will be released back to the hotel for general sale on May 1, 2024.
Depending on how long it is until the event, we offer some payment plans to more gradually pay the cost of the clinic. When you click the ‘register’ button on the home page, you can view the order form to see what’s available.
We understand that sometimes plans change. However, due to the limited availability of spots at our workshop, we do not offer refunds. Instead, if you find that you are unable to attend, we provide the following options:
Cancellation before April 1st, 2024: If you cancel your registration before April 1st, 2024, we can offer a full credit towards a future Dojo U event. This allows you to reserve your opportunity to experience the value we offer at a more convenient time. Note: this credit must be applied within 18 months.
Cancellation after April 1st, 2024: Due to the limited spots and the demand for our event, we are unable to offer any credits for cancellations made after April 1st, 2024.
We have implemented this policy to ensure fairness for all potential attendees and to allow for the most efficient organization of our event.
Acts of God: We recognize that sometimes unforeseen circumstances, or "acts of God," can disrupt even the best-laid plans. In such circumstances, we will apply a common-sense approach and handle these cases individually.
We appreciate your understanding and your commitment to our event. We look forward to providing you with a rewarding and enriching experience at our bagpipe workshop.
We have a room block at the Hilton Garden Inn Troy on Hoosick Street for $159 per night. Make your reservation by calling 518-272-1700 or online here using group code PDOJO.
Note: The Belmont Stakes is taking place in nearby Saratoga Springs this same weekend, causing an influx of visitors to the area. Book your accommodations early!
Workshop home base: Arts Center of the Capital Region, 265 River St, Troy, NY 12180
Host hotel: Hilton Garden Inn Troy, 235 Hoosick St, Troy, NY 12180
Albany International Airport
Albany-Rensselaer, NY (ALB) Amtrak Train Station
We are going to have a healthy balance of INTENSE clinic sessions and laid back social activities.
On Friday afternoon and Saturday all-day, we’re going to be intensely learning. On Sunday, we’ll wrap up with one more intense morning of sessions. From there, you’ll depart back towards home!
During lunches and especially during the evenings – it’s time to kick back, relax, and socialize with your fellow pipers and your instructors.
Look, let’s face it – there are a lot of bagpipe workshops out there. So why pick this one?
Well, you should only pick this one if you struggle with (or want to learn) tuning specifically, and if you want to do something that gets you real results in an intensive, 3-day experience.
Tuning bagpipes is a process. There’s a lot that goes into it, and, at the end of the day, you do have to develop an ear for it. Most bagpipe schools and workshops offer a smorgasbord of piping topics, touching on everything but not drilling down into anything – this workshop is different. We’re going to take this one thing – tuning – and we’re going to drill down into it until there’s nothing left to drill. We’re going to tune until we can’t stand it anymore — and then we’re gonna tune some more.
If you’re not a dramatically better tuner at the end of this clinic, we’ll be happy to fully refund your registration fee. We mean it.
So, it’s that simple – come to our clinic if you want to really, honestly, learn to tune your pipes well.
Ok, you want the specifics? Here we go:
As I mentioned before, bagpipe tuning is a process that we need to master. To make a 3-day clinic into a quick answer (see what I did there?), there are 13 steps that we need to master (and masterfully assemble) if we want the tuning of our pipes to “lock in” and stay “locked in.” Here are the steps in short form:
- Is my bag airtight?
- Are my joints airtight?
- Are my reed seats airtight?
- Are my drone reeds calibrated?
- Find the sweet-spot of the chanter reed.
- Develop strong physical blowing mechanics
- Eliminate “mental blowing” anomalies
- Let the pipes acclimatize
- Balance the chanter by “seating” the chanter reed properly
- Tune 1 drone to the chanter
- Tune the other two drones to the first drone
- Repeat steps 10 and 11 frequently as the chanter changes in pitch over time
- Fine-tune chanter notes once chanter pitch has stabilized
We did a really cool short YouTube video on the 13 steps that you can watch here.
So, looking at the steps above – tuning accounts for steps 9 through 13. At our clinic, we’re going to spend the first two sessions reviewing steps 1 through 8, and then we will be diving DEEP into chanter balancing, drone tuning, studying how the chanter changes pitch over time, and much, much more.
And the thing here is: We’re going to be actually doing these steps, repeatedly, with guidance during the clinic. You’re going to get this. And you’re going to be a drastically happier bagpiper by the time this is over.
Sign up today while there are still spots left!
There are a few odds-and-ends logistical details we will provide to you between your registration and the Clinic itself. Don’t stress about it – oh, and, of course, if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact us any time – email email@example.com.