Keeping Traditional Culture Alive


I am proud to be Scottish and feel strongly that we should, as a nation, protect our heritage. I enjoy researching the history of Scotland and discovering more about our traditions. I love to try to keep our heritage in the things I do personally and to encourage others to also take an interest in traditional Scottish activities and pastimes.

I often cook traditional food using local ingredients and go to local events and community gatherings with others who celebrate everything Scottish. I also believe it is important to pass on any cultural traditions to our children so that they will continue onwards with the next generation and not be lost to the annals of time.

My love of bagpipes

One of the things that people usually associate with Scotland is bagpipes. This is a wonderful instrument that is often played at ceremonies, large events and celebrations. I was recently staying at a country house hotel in Speyside and discovered that the local Grantown-on-SpeyHighland Games was on – lucky me!

Who doesn’t love the amazing sound of a pipe band? It certainly gets the hairs standing on the back of my neck whenever I hear the familiar drone sound.

I love this instrument so much that I began to wonder about the history of them and whether I would have the skills to play the bagpipes myself.

History of bagpipes

In spite of their strong connections with Scotland, this isn’t the country of their origin. The first recorded bagpipe was found in Asia. They were a popular instrument in many countries across the world including, Spain, Egypt, France and India. Before they became popular in Scotland, they were played in other parts of the UK first. How bagpipes were first introduced to Scotland is debated, as some believe that they came from Ireland while others believe them to be a Roman import.

Skills for playing bagpipes

A friend let me try to play their bagpipes; I found it impossible to even make a sound! So, I have looked into the skills needed to learn before I decide whether or not I will have the ability to play the bagpipes myself. Apparently, I will need good wind power and steadiness of the hand. I will also need to learn how to read music, how to tune the bagpipes, positions of fingerings and how to control the sound. Although it seems a lot to take in I’m assured that with the right tuition there is no reason why I cannot learn all of these things with effort and a lot of practise.

Bagpipe lesson possibilities

When I was on the Internet finding out about bagpipes, I came across some websites with instructions for learning how to play them. However, I think it will be much better for me to learn the skills from a qualified instructor. That way I can get practical demonstrations and they will be able to support me in learning the instrument step-by-step. An instructor will be able to give me tips and advice to improve, concentrating on areas that need the most attention. Luckily, there are several options in my city for learning the bagpipes. I think the best option will be to contact each of them and find out about the times and costs of the lessons. I can then base my decision on this information and the experience of the instructor.

Based on my research and findings about learning to play the bagpipes, I think it is something that I will pursue. I would love to be able to play an instrument that is so important to many Scottish traditions and I would be delighted if my children learnt this instrument too. It would be fantastic to play together as a family, and to know that I had passed this tradition on to another generation.

You can find out more about this fascninating instrument at The National Piping Centre website.

Developing Confidence in Children through Music Instruction

young girl playing guitar

From a young age children begin to show signs that they enjoy music. When they are babies they will move parts of their body when they hear music and will spend time when they are toddlers singing and dancing.

As children begin to get older, learning to play a musical instrument can be an enjoyable activity and it can also help to build a child’s confidence in a number of ways.

As a child learns to play an instrument, and becomes more accomplished at it, their confidence will grow as they begin to gain a sense of pride in their achievements.

Outside Feedback Is Crucial In Development

The child should be able to recognise themselves that they are improving. If this is also pointed out to them by their teacher, and any other people that hear them play on a regular basis, then this too has the power to increase their self-confidence.

The confidence that a child has is quite fragile at a young age and learning a musical instrument can help the child to retain and even enhance their confidence.

The encouragement that a child gets from their music teacher can also help to build their confidence. A child may feel disappointed if there is a particular piece of music that they are finding difficult to play and this could result in a lack of confidence. However, with encouragement from the teacher, the child will begin to understand that all that is needed is a bit more practice and hard work.

Confidence Grows Like A Snowball

If the teacher demonstrates that they believe that the child will eventually get the piece right, then the child will gain confidence and begin to believe that they will be able to do it. This is a lesson that they will be able to apply to all aspects of their lives, and one that will greatly benefit them as they get older.

As a child begins to realise that other people are taking pride in their achievements in music this can further raise their confidence. Their parents and other members of their family will more than likely enjoy listening to performances from the child and if praise is given when noticeable improvements are made in the quality of the child’s playing this will give the child increased confidence which may even improve their playing further.

If the child plays in public at any point they will also receive a confidence boost when they receive a good reception.

Developing Skills For Life

There are a number of skills that a child will learn when receiving music lessons that can be transferred to other areas of their lives such as concentration and co-ordination.

Concentration will help them with their school work when they are required to focus all their attention on one particular subject. The co-ordination that children learn from playing sports and doing other physical activities can be complemented by the fine motor co-ordination that is gained when a child learns to play a musical instrument.

Music lessons can be held anywhere from the child’s home to a Glasgow piano shop, depending on the type of instrument that is being taught and the preference of the student and teacher.

If the instrument cannot be moved easily, such as a piano, then the lesson will have to be held in the location of the instrument. It is important that wherever the lesson is held that the student feels comfortable and is able to relax. This will improve their playing and ultimately grow their confidence in the ways that have been discussed above.

Children Love Classical Music, So Why Don’t Adults?

thumbs down to music

When walking through the aisles of any store, you are certain to find numerous products and toys intended for children that feature classical music.

From crib mobiles that lull a baby to sleep with the sounds of Brahms Lullaby to Baby Einstein interactive toys that play snippets of Mozart or Bach, these toys are everywhere.

It is quite easy to understand why children love classical music. They hear it frequently from birth.

However, as we grow into adulthood, our exposure to classical music becomes almost non-existent unless we go out and look for it. As a result, the music we loved as children is replaced by music that currently tops the charts.

Currently, less than 10 percent of the population admits that they enjoy listening to classical music, while everyone else has no desire to hear it. Let’s look at several reasons why adults do not feel the same love for classical music as children do.

The adult brain has great difficulty understanding it

According to Phillip Ball, author of The Music Instinct, adult brains find it very challenging to identify a pattern while listening to classical music. However, the adult brain needs to understand music’s composition in order to make sense of it and enjoy it. Essentially, it is harder for adults to listen to and this increases their desire to dismiss the music as racket.

On the other hand, children’s brains are not concerned with finding a pattern or understanding music’s composition in order to enjoy it. They simply identify music as something they like, regardless of what type it is. They tend to be just as happy listening to classical music as they do the top 40 hits.

Adults tend to automatically not like things they are not exposed to on a regular basis

How often do you hear classical music being played, whether in a public place or on the radio? In most cases, the answer is almost never, unless you specifically search for it. Anyone with access to satellite radio will find this much easier than those who do not. Humans are programmed to unconsciously have little to no use for things we are not exposed to routinely.

Adults perceive classical music as boring

There is no denying that for the majority of the population listening to Elton John or Adele is significantly more interesting than classical music. Lyrics keep us intrigued in a song and this something that most classical pieces do not have. If there are no lyrics to entertain us, many are much more likely to dismiss this type of music.

Classical music does not mesh with our fast paced lifestyles

Consider the following. When we are working out or even performing household chores, we tend to look at music as a way to bolster our energy levels and motivate us to keep going. We want something fast paced and this is something that classical music rarely, if ever, is able to do. In fact, classical music tends to be relaxing, causing us to have little desire to do anything outside, particularly if we are tired when started listening to it.

While there are plenty of adults that enjoy listening to classical music, they tend to be few and far between. The same can’t be said with children, especially those of a younger age. Due to their routine exposure to classical music, they tend to like listening to it.