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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 

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 at the beautiful (and newly refurbished) Desmond Hotel in Albany NY in the fall - a glorious backdrop to our glorious workshop!

The Desmond has wonderful meeting space, comfortable rooms, an onsite restaurant and bar, and some iconic social areas for people to gather and spend time together! It's also a 1-minute drive from Albany International Airport, and has a free shuttle.

New this year! Breakfast, lunch, and mid-session snacks will be provided for you throughout the event.

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.


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.


Schedule of Events


3pm - ARRIVAL and check-in.

Arrive at the Desmond Hotel. Get mentally prepped to start your tuning journey!

Our group's check-in time is technically at 4pm. We will either arrange an earlier check-in time, or arrange a place to drop your bags during your first session.

We will share information about booking your room upon registration.

3:30pm-5:30pm - 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."


Friday evening, we'll have a chance to socialize together after our opening session. Registrants are free to spend time in the Desmond Hotel, or head out to nearby restaurants if they wish. The hotel has a free shuttle that services many local eateries, pubs, shops, etc.


7:30am - 8:30am - BREAKFAST

Yep - it's going to be an early start! But, breakfast and coffee will be provided at the hotel for us before we begin our day.

After registering, dietary restrictions can be shared with us to ensure your needs are accounted for.


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!

Lunch will be provided for you as part of your registration.  


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!  


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.  


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...)  


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.  


This is a final get-together to recap the arc of the day, and preview a few topics we'll cover tomorrow morning.  


Enjoy dinner on the town, or in the hotel. Socialize at the bar if you'd like, or chill out in your room - the great thing about a hotel is that you can play things any way you need.


7:30am - 8:30am - BREAKFAST

Breakfast and coffee will be again be provided at the hotel for us before we begin our day.

After registering, dietary restrictions can be shared with us to ensure your needs are accounted for.


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, there is a free shuttle. If you're not in a rush, we'll be around to chat with 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.")


Price: $379

The Dojo University Tuning Clinic - Sept 9-11, 2022

  • 3 Days of JUST TUNING
  • Lectures and Hands-on Small Group Sessions
  • 13 Step Repeatable Process for Great Tuning
  • Comfortable Environment and Social Atmosphere at the Desmond Hotel.
  • Complimentary breakfast, lunch, and coffee breaks.
  • BONUSES! 4 Steps to an Easy Bagpipe Course, Steady Blowing Trifecta Course, and Tuning Cycle Course (A $141 value) completely free!

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, and if the hotel has room availability. We are limiting sign ups to 40 registrants, so it might be best to sign up quickly!  

Also, any un-used hotel rooms in our group block will be given away August 27th – so if you sign up after that, rooms could be limited.

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 August 27th, 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, catering, etc.  

Once we get to August 27th, we can no longer accept refunds – so, if you have to cancel, let us know before then!  

The Hotel  

We will share complete information about the hotel upon registration.

For now, what you need to know is that we'll be operating at the Desmond Crowne Plaza Hotel in Albany, NY, and that we have 20 rooms guaranteed at a rate of $125 per night.

You can absolutely share rooms with friends. You can absolutely upgrade your room if there is availability (they have some awesome suites there).

Transportation – How do I get there.  

If you’re going to drive, simply point your navigation to hotel! It's about 5 minutes from the I-87 and I-90 interchange in Albany, NY.

If you’re flying, you’ll look to come into Albany International Airport. The 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.

If you'd like to come by train or bus, let us know ahead of time and we'll try to find a way to get you picked up and brought to the hotel. 

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.

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.  

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!