Early Bird Special Ends Friday at Midnight!

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Use Code 'tuningworm' during checkout. 

Why Learning to Tune Your Bagpipes Has Been Such a Struggle

You know what's weird about bagpipe workshops? 

You can go to a workshop, have a wonderful time, "learn a TON" ... but...

Ever notice how, when you get home, it's virtually impossible to replicate what you've learned on your own? It's bizarre!

Tuning your bagpipes is probably the most quintessential example. So many pipers just can't tune themselves. It's the most basic element of playing any instrument, but many bagpipers just can't do it (yet), no matter how hard they try. 

For me as a teacher, it's painful to watch. And sad. 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. 

Going back to the "weird" factor: 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.


The 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 Tuning Clinic. How confident am I in that promise? Can I deliver? More on that later...

For now, check out the recap video from 2018's clinic:

Tuning Clinic Instructors

Andrew Douglas

Andrew Douglas

2017 World Champion with Inveraray and District 2017 US Silver Medal Winner Pipe Major of Oran Mor Pipe Band (14th in the World, 2011) Founder and Creator of Dojo University 

P/M Marc Dubois

P/M Schenectady Pipe Band 2002-2008 North American Champion '02 Oran Mor Pipe Band 2007-2013 EUSPBA Piping and Ensemble Judge 

Carl Donley

Carl Donley 

Carl is a co-founder of the Dojo and student favorite! Professional Piper in the EUSPBA. Oran Mor Pipe Band 2008-2013 

P/M Andy Fusco 

Pipe Major, Las Vegas Pipe Band Co-host, Chanter Rant Podcast (very educational...) 

Experience what being in tune FEELS like:

At the tuning clinic, you'll have hands-on-help from world-renown 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.

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. 

From bagpipe maintenance, through tonal quality, and then into the 6 key steps to great bagpipe tuning, you'll learn to get your self in tune - but 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.

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 work heavily in very small break-out sessions, so that you can get your specific needs addressed. Using this structure, you'll actually reach that incredible freeing feeling of tuning your pipes on your own by the end of the weekend.

Enjoy the knowledge AND the experience.

The workshop takes place in Troy NY in the spring-time - a glorious backdrop to our glorious workshop!

Troy has amazing bars, shops, farmers markets, and more. When you're here at the workshop, you'll as great a time socializing with your friends after class as you will in class! 

On Friday of the workshop, we'll have a complimentary dinner for all of the students, to say "thanks for coming" and to get to know each other better.

What Our Students Say

"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. "

John H. Holcombe, MD - Indiana

"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

"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

"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

Hurry! Sign Up Before Midnight to Receive Three Free Online Courses.

If you sign up before midnight tonight, we'll send you access to THREE essential bagpipe sound courses that you can study leading up to the clinic. These are the exact same concepts we'll cover in depth at the workshop, so if you can master the ideas and concepts beforehand (and give things a try 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.

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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 

There are 6 repeating steps you need to master to be a great bagpipe tuner. Learn each step in depth in this course.

$47 Value - FREE with registration today.

REGISTER NOW TO GET THESE FREE BONUSES!

Schedule of Events

Friday:

12pm - 3pm - ARRIVAL

Arrive in Troy and have a look around. Grab lunch at any one of the many great local eateries. Get mentally prepped to start your tuning journey!

3pm-5:45pm - FIRST SESSION

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 - HOTEL CHECK-IN

While rooms last, we have a room block at the extremely convenient (and comfortable) "Franklin Square Inn," just down the road from the Arts Center. It's a Best Western hotel with all of the necessities to make you fully comfortable while you're here (and a pretty decent rate too, I might add).  

At this point, you'll get checked into your hotel and get settled before dinner.

7:15pm - DINNER AT THE FAMOUS BROWN'S BREW PUB

Around 7:15pm, we'll meet for a COMPLIMENTARY dinner at one of the best brew-pubs in Upstate NY: Brown's brew pub. They have great food, great atmosphere.... oh and they brew amazing beer too!  

At dinner, Andrew will speak a bit about what to expect for the remainder of the Tuning clinic - we'll break down how the classes will work, what the schedule will be, etc.  

After dinner, you may be VERY tempted to stay up late to explore Troy's night-life, but don’t stay out too late because the next day we get things started again - bright and early!

Saturday:

8:30am - 9:30am - SECOND SESSION - TONAL QUALITY DISCUSSION

We need to make sure our bagpipes are WORTH tuning - no one cares how well a bad-sounding bagpipe is tuned!  

In this session, we discuss how to get a full, rich sound out of your chanter reed, and two important "secrets" to cracking the code of steady blowing.  

9:45am - 11:45am - FIRST BREAKOUT SESSION

Now, we're going to break out and work in small groups on perfecting our tonal quality. Get 1-on-1 hands-on feedback with the instructors as they rotate from group to group during these breakouts.  

After lunch, it's time to dive head-first into tuning!

11:45am-1:15pm - LUNCH!

Let's a pick from a wide variety of options and have lunch together! We may or may not actually do a full 90 minute break; this just allows a buffer in case we need extra time before or after lunch.  

1:15pm-2:15pm - THIRD SESSION - TUNING WITH 1 DRONE

Now, we'll discuss the first three steps of the bagpipe tuning cycle; Acclimatize the pipes, "balance" the chanter reed, and get 1 drone in tune with Low A. A lot to cover here so make sure you brought a coffee with you so you're not too sleepy after lunch!  

2:15pm-3pm - SECOND BREAK-OUT SESSION

Now, we're going to break out and work in small groups on perfecting these first three steps of bagpipe tuning. Get 1-on-1 hands-on feedback with the instructors as they rotate from group to group during these breakouts.  

3pm-3:45pm - FOURTH SESSION: GETTING THE DRONES IN TUNE WITH EACH OTHER

Now that we have our "reference drone" in position, we'll talk about how to get the other two drones in tune with that drone. Simple, right? (Evil Grin...)  

3:45pm-4:30pm - THIRD BREAK-OUT SESSION

Now, we're going to break out and work in small groups on perfecting the art of tuning all of the drones together. Get 1-on-1 hands-on feedback with the instructors as they rotate from group to group during these breakouts.  

4:30pm-5:00pm - 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.  

6pm onward - DINNER ON THE TOWN!

Sunday:

8:30am - 11:30am - FINAL MORNING OF CLASSES, THEN DEPARTURE  

We'll put the finishing touches on tuning concepts this morning, including discussion of the "Cycle" part of the tuning cycle; the idea that we need to continuously tune our pipes, not just "set 'em and forget 'em."  

After a final set of break-outs, we'll get together for a final Q&A and then we'll say our good-byes.  

If you need help getting to the airport, we'll help coordinate things for you. If you're not in a rush, we'll be around to share a coffee and/or some lunch with you before you depart!

Our Promise To You...

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 (for some reason...) 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.")

TUNING CLINIC REGISTRATION

Base Price: $499

...but many will apply for DISCOUNTS.

The Dojo University Tuning Clinic - Rescheduled to Sept 26-27, 2020

  • 3 Days of JUST TUNING
  • Lectures and Hands-on Small Group Sessions
  • 13 Step Repeatable Process for Great Tuning
  • Amazing Environment and Social Atmostphere in Troy, New York.
  • Complimentary dinner on Friday Night.
  • BONUSES! 4 Steps to an Easy Bagpipe Course, Steady Blowing Trifecta Course, and Tuning Cycle Course (A $141 value) completely free!

Applicable DISCOUNTS

  • Dojo U Premium Members - Save $100
  • Active/Former Military or Public Service - Save $100
  • Past Tuning Clinic Attendee? - Save $100
  • Groups of 2 or More: Contact us to see how much you save!


Discounts are combinable to a minimum of $299. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Regarding Logistics:

How Soon Should I Sign Up?  

You can sign up any time before the clinic, IF there’s enough space left. We aren’t setting a definite cut-off number, but space is definitely limited, so it might be best to sign up quickly!  

Also, any un-used hotel rooms in our group block will be given away at some point during the month of April – so if you sign up after that, it’ll be up to you to book your accommodation.  

What Are My Payment Options?  

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.  

What If I Need to Cancel?  

That would be SO sad. But we know sometimes life happens and gets in the way of the best laid plans.  

If you need to cancel before the one-week-before mark, we can refund 80% of your registration fee. We would love to be able to refund all of the money, but as soon as you register, certain funds are allocated to the rental of class space, your welcome dinner, etc.  

Once we get to “one week out,” we can no longer accept refunds – so, if you have to, let us know before then!  

The Hotel  

We have a hotel room block for this event at the Best Western Plus Franklin Square Inn, a short walk from the Arts Center. To get our special group rate, be sure you mention you’re part of the BAGPIPE CLINIC block – please expect approximately $120 per night for the room, plus applicable taxes.  

Note: You must book over the phone to access the BAGPIPE CLINIC room block (and special rates). The number for the hotel is (518) 274-8800  

If you’d like, you’re welcome to stay elsewhere during the clinic. Please just keep in mind that you’ll be in charge of your own transit to and from the hotel if you choose to do that. It won’t be a big deal though – it’s pretty easy to find your way to and from the Arts Center area.  

Transportation – How do I get to Troy  

If you’re going to drive, simply point your navigation to the host hotel (linked above)! Troy is easy to get to from US Rt 787, a major highway in the area. From New York City it takes about 2.5 hours to drive to Troy. From Boston it’s also about 2.5 hours – a great location!  

If you’re flying, you’ll look to come into Albany International Airport. The host hotel has a shuttle to get you to the hotel. Alternatively, myself and our staff should be able to help on a limited basis – just contact us to let us know what flight you get in on.  

Transportation During the Clinic  

If you are staying at the host hotel, you’ll find that everything we do is in an easy walking distance! This is a huge upgrade from last year, and we are very excited. If you are staying elsewhere don’t worry – Troy (and all of the venues for our clinic) are very easy to navigate to, and parking is quite doable.

Regarding Troy and the Fun/Social Elements

What’s Troy Like?  

Troy is like a lot of cities in Upstate New York, which, to grossly over-simplify, fell into a depression in the 2nd half of the 1900′s, but has experienced a vibrant rebirth in the past ten years or so.  

On River Street, where the clinic will take place, you’ll experience art, culture, and GREAT EATERIES that encompass several blocks. On Saturdays, there is also a huge farmer’s market that you’ll get to see and explore.  

Here’s a great site that highlights the features of downtown troy: Click Here.  

We will be using the downtown Troy area as our backdrop for our Tuning Clinic.  

What will we be doing outside of class time during the clinic?  

When you arrive on Friday of the clinic, we’ll have our initial class session, and then we’ll be going out to a complementary dinner together (note: food is on us, drinks will be on you) to kick off our journey together.  

During class days, we’ll have semi-organized (optional) ventures to different Troy venues for lunch and dinner, to experience the best Troy has to offer. It’ll be great fun to hang out together and enjoy some good food and drink.  

How do I get to the Clinic Home Again?  

You are responsible for making appropriate travel arrangements to arrive in Troy on Friday at our around mid-day.  

The Clinic officially begins with the first class friday afternoon.  

For basic travel details, see the logistics FAQ post here.  

What else do I need to know?  

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!

Regarding the Clinic:

What makes DOJO UNIVERSITY TUNING CLINIC something I should want to do?  

Look, let’s face it – there are a lot of bagpipe workshops out there. Why pick this one?  

Well, the answer is 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.  

How much time will I spend at Clinic Activities?  

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. We’ll pick cool dinner spots and pubs, and have a GREAT time during our down-time. Specifics will be communicated as the clinic-date draws closer.  

What Topics Will Be Covered? (Like, you know, specifics!)  

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!