Join us for the second Dojo University Pipe Major's Symposium, running from February 12th–13th, 2022
Building on the success of our first Symposium in 2020, we are once again offering the rare opportunity to attend a 2-day intensive online workshop, focused exclusively on supporting you to be a better band leader.
Join world champions Richard Parkes MBE, Alasdair Henderson, and Ken Eller for more than 10 hours of workshops, tailored 1:1 sessions for every attendee with each guest speaker, and the chance to meet other pipe band leaders from around the world!
You can bring up to two guests with you to access this unparalleled knowledge and worldwide support that is specifically curated for pipe corps leaders to drastically improve your pipe band, guaranteed.
Dear Passionate Pipe Majors, Pipe Sergeants, and aspiring Pipe Corps Leaders,
Being a Pipe Major isn't easy – understatement of the century, right?
Not only do you need a vast array of skills to do a good job musically, but you also have to deal with managing personalities, balancing motivation and leadership with musical commitments, and the inevitable loneliness that accompanies the top job.
I remember the first time I became a pipe major in my high school pipe band. I was elected on the basis of having strong musical skills. However, despite being a capable piper, I soon learned two important things:
1. Being a skilled piper does not make you a skilled Pipe Major. While being a good piper certainly helps, there are many new skills one has to learn to be able to do the complete job at hand.
2. Leadership is hard to begin with, but it's even harder in a group where people are there 100% by choice, and for the purposes of enjoyment!
Later in life I was fortunate to be elected a Pipe Major again, this time in a high-level competitive band. It took years of hard work and determination to raise the level of the band, and to earn the respect of my players. Our band rose to compete in the Grade 1 final at the worlds, which was a great achievement. However...
Not long after reaching the world's final, a schism formed among the most senior leaders and members of our band, and resultantly the nightmare scenario was played out: before long, the band was to be no more. Just like that, it all fell apart.
It's now been quite a few years since that happened, and in my reflections I've always thought to myself: I wish I had reached out more often for advice.
But... where would I have gone? Rival bands were not really open for much talk beyond lighthearted chit-chat in the beer tent. Other great pipe majors I knew were always busy, and if they did have time to speak with me it would have only been for brief periods, and typically they weren't in the right 'mode' to dig deep on any specific technical and/or interpersonal issues I was struggling with...
Well, as you can probably guess, this struggle, which is so common amongst every pipe major I've ever met, was the inspiration for us to put together our Pipe Major's Symposium here at Dojo U.
For this unique event I've reached out to the very best pipe majors I can think of, and together we will work through every conceivable challenge with them. From technical matters such as tuning, creating unison, working on ensemble, all the way through to personnel issues such as inspiring players to work harder, working through conflicts, improving attendance, teaching beginners, and so on, the best of the best will help us become better leaders, and thus help our bands realign towards success.
It doesn't have to be lonely at the top. There are some among us who are happy to share information, and glad to help forge a great community of pipe band leaders who want their bands to succeed.
It's my sincere hope we'll see you at our upcoming Pipe Major's Symposium!
Andrew Douglas Founder, Creator, and "CEO" of Dojo University
12-time world champion Pipe Major of Field Marshal Montgomery Pipe Band, MBE and two honorary doctorates for services to piping and drumming
Pipe Sergeant Alasdair Henderson
Pipe Sergeant of current World Champions Inveraray & District Pipe Band for two world championships, winner of gold and silver medals at the Northern Meeting.
Ken 'The Captain' Eller
North American Pipe Band Legend – 15-time Grade 1 winner of the North American Pipe Band Championships (78th Fraser Highlanders and Clan MacFarlane Pipe Band), world-renowned teacher and pipe band leader.
Here's what you'll receive as a symposium registrant...
9 DETAILED LECTURES FROM THE WORD'S BEST PIPE MAJORS
Each of our three guests will teach 3 hour-long sessions on a specific, actionable topic that will make your band better. We'll also have a 90 minute Q&A panel with all three instructors to conclude the weekend.
A ONE-ON-ONE SESSION WITH EACH INSTRUCTOR
This experience isn't just lectures. In addition to group sessions, you'll also receive an exclusive 1-on-1 session with EACH of our world-champion pipe majors.
THE "PIPE MAJOR'S GUIDE TO THE GALAXY" BOOK
To summarize everything our instructors shared with us over the weekend (and then some), we'll compile it all in book form, publish it, and send it to your door. It'll be a life-long reference you'll always be able to refer to.
Hear From Our Past Attendees
"The Piper's Dojo Pipe Major's Symposium was a well-run and organized virtual event.
Having access to three of the top PMs of anytime is something that nobody in a band leadership position should miss. This event was well worth the price."
Charlie Martin (California, USA) – PM Pipes & Drums of CAL FIRE L2881
"Extraordinary event, both for reinforcement of things I knew and 'light bulb' moments. In my neck of the woods, it's such a rare thing to have access to high caliber players, let alone leaders of top bands. It was well worth attending, and I'm hoping for future sessions!"
Steve Lemieux (Maine, USA) – Claddagh Mhor Pipe Band
"I can function much more confidently and credibly armed with the information from this experience. The Zoom format was so engaging that I often forgot I was not attending an in-person event. Information disseminated from this event will have a huge ripple effect."
Mary Crum Scholtens (South Carolina, USA) – Charleston Pipe Band
Guidance from the Very Best Pipe Band Leaders
Our symposium features three of the world's best pipe corps leaders, here to offer you the very best instruction, advice, and guidance.
These are the people who have walked many miles in pipe band leadership shoes at the very highest level. They've battled with the very same issues you struggle with - musical development, personality management, recruiting, teaching, lean year, budget troubles - you name it!
Let's face it - being the pipe major is a difficult job that requires you to wear many different hats. At our symposium, you'll get up close and personal with the most successful among us.
In-Depth Solutions For the Things That Really Matter:
Our symposium features 10 hours of presentations by our world-class pipe majors.
Many workshops you could attend have a moment or two to look at issues surrounding how to run a great band, but this workshop is 100% focused on it.
At the Pipe Major's Symposium, you'll experience three hours of lectures from EACH guest pipe major, and a concluding Q&A panel where all three will address any questions from you, the students.
Personal, Hands On Help.
One of the very best features of our event is that you get a 30-minute 1-on-1 session with EACH of our three guests!
Work individually with each instructor to address leadership, musical considerations, personal feedback on how you approach your tunes, and anything else you can dream up! .
A Memento That Will Last Forever:
This is a special workshop, so we wanted to do something special for each registrant.
To commemorate and to document the amazing information from this unique event, each member will receive a printed summary book from the weekend. This "Pipe Major's Guide to the Galaxy" will contain all lecture notes, never-before-seen interviews with each pipe major, and more! Use this book for years to come any time you come to a difficult moment as a pipe band leader.
We won't be reselling these books either. The only way you'll be able to get one is to attend the event.
Making It A Little Less Lonely At The Top...
To help make it just a little less lonely at the time, each student at this event has the option of participating in a group directory, so fellow pipe majors will always have a support group to reach out to during difficult times.
After getting to know each other at the symposium, it'll be great to have an official peer group to call your own.
Bring Your Team Along:
You spoke up, and we listened! Now you can bring up to 2 "leadership team members" with you to the workshop, for no additional fee.
Sit down as a team and work with the best pipe majors, and use this as a real "spark" to your future path.
Our Promise To You...
You shouldn't invest real money in a program like this unless you know for sure it's going to work for you and for your band, that's why...
We promise that you'll super-charge your band and vastly improve your leadership during this intensive weekend. If you don't see how you'll be reaching what you would consider to be a much higher level upon completion, receive a full refund.
No shenanigans here. If the program doesn't work for you, you get your money back. It's that simple.
The Pipe Major's Symposium is a big investment, and that can raise a lot of important questions. Here are some of the big questions and their corresponding big answers for you.
Is This Taught Fully Online?
Yes. The symposium is designed to happen from the comfort of your own practice room!
All interactive sessions with instructors will use Zoom software to interact. Zoom is extremely user-friendly and works on any computer, phone, or tablet.
What if my internet is unreliable?
Take a moment to test your internet speed by clicking here now. Click the "Go" button when you get to the page to test your internet speed.
Wait for the test to finish. If you have at least 5 mbps (that means "megabytes per second") DOWNLOAD speed, your internet should be good enough for this program.
Below that, and we would recommend faster internet before undertaking this program.
What materials do I need for the program?
Really all you need for this program is the will to succeed! Of course, some of the following essentials are highly recommended:
A practice chanter.
Note-taking medium of some kind (though we'll have a dedicated note-taker at the event who'll be creating your keepsake book from the lectures, but you'll probably want to take notes for the 1:1 sessions).
Prepared questions and challenges to discuss with our guests during the program.
Can I Cancel Before the Program Starts?
Yes. You can cancel up until 2 weeks before the start date of February 12th to receive a full refund. After that, no refunds will be offered.
What happens if I have an emergency and need to bow out of the weekend?
In the case of emergency, we will follow the common sense rule here. If you need to cancel part-way through the plan due to a personal crisis or emergency, we will offer a pro-rated refund.
You say I can bring 2 guests, what does that mean exactly?
Many of us have leadership teams we work with in our bands, and it would make the most sense for the full team to attend these sessions. Now, you can bring up to 2 guests along with you to sessions.
The small print:
Your guests should be mindful not to "dominate" group discussions, and make sure to allow all primary attendees to get all of their questions and interactions in.
Your team will only receive 1 private session with each instructor (you don't each get your own session).
Your leading drummer can be one of your two guests.
Note: If you absolutely must have a third guest, this can usually be accommodated; simply reach out to us.
Is there any "fine print" regarding the satisfaction guarantee?
This weekend is designed for you! It’s a big investment on your part, and so it's very important that, if you're not satisfied, you can get all of your money back. With that said, you must play your part and "buy in" to the program in order to be eligible.
In order to be eligible for a refund, you must show that you:
Attended all sessions offered by the program.
Gave the program a fair chance to help you.
Can specific specific reasons why you were dissatisfied with the course material and/or other common sense reasons why the program didn't work for you.
Speaking of common sense, we will always adhere to the rules of common sense when doing business together:
In the case of a true life emergency, we can offer a pro-rated refund.
In the unlikely event that the Dojo is unable to deliver all of the agreed upon goods and services outlined by the program, you will be refunded a fair amount.
Dojo University has been established as the leading online bagpiping school for more than a decade, with an extensive hundreds-strong global community of pipers; 20+ live classes running every week on every timezone; and more courses, tunes, articles and resources (on every piping-related topic that you could think of) than you could work your way through in a lifetime.
Yes, you can find bagpipe instruction in person and elsewhere on the internet, but Dojo U is unique because our curriculum has been built from the ground up by real-world bagpipers – world champions and pipe band leaders who teach based on real-world experience (read: successes).
If that sounds appealing, then we'e delighted to welcome you to Dojo U – your new home base for everything to do with bagpiping.