Contests are curious things. We need to prepare for them well and be ready to soar or fail - and anything else in between. Being humble and open helps a lot, but that's really only a small part of it.
Listen to your tutor, take the comments in stride, and work towards the next, whatever that is. In your own way, you're already winning.
The months can prove long and dark - don't forget your music! Either playing it or listening to it, having the luxury of music in your life can bring so much to it.
Share with your friends, look for new challenges, and play for others - it can make a day brighter for everyone. Plus you improve and become a more solid performer, so everyone wins.
Go get your music on!
January can be a bleak month, for many reasons, and for many people. I keep busy making plans for the next spring and summer, and taking things off the never-ending checklist. I make sure to call friends and cause laughter to break out, because you never know what great you can be giving. Just give, and you'll get so much more in return.
But don't forget....we're Canadian, and that means we're silly and fun, snowbound and sarcastic. We are champions.
I've been a piper for a very long time. I have taught piping for many years too, and I truly enjoy the journey that not only I am on, but helping others is great joy. I find myself sometimes sharing stories with the people I work with, reminiscent of hearing our piping peers at summer camps gaze longingly out a window and go on at length about a piper they once knew who won medals and wrote a tune about a goat or something to that effect.....and now that I do it, I have a greater appreciation for those who told the tales, and those who have to listen to pipers like me.
In sharing our stories, I have to say that if someone had told me, all those years ago, that piping and/or playing in a pipe band would bring me to enjoy repeated visits to the Royal Family, I most likely would have kept the image of meeting Her Majesty and others in the back of my imagination as I practiced....but nowadays I am content with the memories of what we've been able to achieve, and what's to come. And there are more stories to tell because there will be more wonderful opportunities. Happy 90th birthday Your Majesty. We will see you again.
Bethany Bisaillion is a piper living in Ottawa, Canada. She performs, produces shows and loves to help others. Being loud and sometimes in a kilt is a way of life.