I am passionate about my
music and I believe it is my true vocation. However, it has been a very long
and at times painful journey to achieve what I have through sheer self
determination and belief in myself.
When was young I was seriously ill with asthma and needed a lot of
medication and a breathing mask; as a result I missed a lot of school &
didn’t have the opportunity to socialise or make many friends.
When I was 8 years old I discovered I could play the chanter and that slowly
built up my lungs which improved my asthma. Then I moved on to playing the
pipes which further improved my lungs along with my schooling, making
friends and my confidence grew and my life began to change.
At age 9 I was given my 1st
set of pipes and started playing with the junior Inveikeithing Pipe Band but
it was very difficult for me because I was very young and shy and the Pipe
Major at the time made it clear that he really didn’t like female pipers and
he obviously didn’t like me! But I already had my love of the pipes and his
attitude only made me want to fight harder to reach a high standard of pipe
playing despite the discouraging efforts of my first Pipe Major.
When he eventually retired he was replaced by a female Pipe Major, in her
20s who had been observing the band for some time. This was my big break
because she had noticed that I had not been treated fairly and she decided
to take me under her wing.
From that moment everything began to improve for me and I began to really
enjoy piping a lot more; with the help of the new Pipe Major and a lot of
encouragement and support from my mum and dad I improved, and I will always
be grateful to them!
A couple of years later I was performing solos. It was during one of my solo
performances on stage that my previous pipe major passed by outside the
auditorium and overheard me playing on stage but was unaware who it was. He
remarked on the high standard of piping and when he saw it was me piping his
face was a picture!
When I turned 15, I wanted and needed to move on, so my pipe major suggested
we both move to the City of Edinburgh Pipe Band, grade 2. This was a
fantastic experience for me to be part of such a big band and to find that
they were all so friendly. I had some really good times there and travelled
with them to France and Spain to play in European Festivals which was just
By the age of 16 I was teaching the Edinburgh Army Cadet Pipe Band whilst
continuing to play with the Edinburgh Pipe Band. I used to teach in the
cadet hall every week and then sometimes went away at weekends to teach at
the the army barracks.
When I was 17/18 I left the
City of Edinburgh Pipe Band to join the Inveikeithing Pipe Band (adult pipe
band) which is now called the Royal Burgh of Inveikeithing Pipe Band. This
went well for a couple of years before the band began to split up until
there were only 4 of us left but we were determined to continue and slowly
more people joined us. Our persistence paid off and the band is now back up
to a good full size and moving forward full throttle; I’m so glad we stuck
with the band.
I am proud to say I have now produced 2 albums ‘Shores o’ the Forth’ which I
dedicated to my late dad and to my family who have always believed in me.
Late last year I released ‘Bend It Like Jane’ . I also have my own web-site
and my music can be heard on you-tube.
When I turned 21, my music became my career, I left my day job and bagpipes
was my new job. i joined a big band, which toured all over UK and Europe, I
honestly had the time of my life and had the first taste of the good life. I
now had proved to my self I was worthy and those who thought I'd never go
any where. I had travelled and played for amazing places and people.
At 23 I found my self experimenting on my solo stuff, I'm really loving,
sharing my life with my bagpipes. Its bliss. Its the one thing I do best.
Music really understands me, being in music is hard work and you always have
to fight for your place but I wouldn't change this for the world. It drives
me to work harder and practice to get better. But what really makes my want
to play is my fans, they keep me going when at times I feel low. So I'm very
thankful to them. I'm very lucky! I'm nowhere near as good as I want to be,
that's why I practice every day!
Earlier this year I visited Australia where I performed at the Highland
Gathering as part of the Adelaide Music Festival.
I will be going to Italy in June to play at the Celtic festival, and later
in the year have been invited to return to Australia to play with a Rock
I am now Pipe Major of a junior pipe band and again teaching bagpipes and
encouraging young musicians and showing them how much fun can be had from
I am still practising and working continuously even harder to discover new
and vibrant ways of expressing myself through my music. Being young and
creative I want my music to appeal to and reach a wide audience and to cross
boundaries and music genres. I am looking to be very much inclusive in
today's music scene.
Most of my early life I found myself having to fight for my place in what
has been and to some extent still is, a very male dominated world of
highland bagpipe playing. Male pipe majors, and even some members of my own
family would not take me seriously which only served to make me more
determined and to work even harder to succeed.
Fortunately my father and mother were a constant source of encouragement to
me with never failing confidence in my ability and gave me every
encouragement for which I will be eternally grateful.
It has been against great odds that I am still here teaching and still
passionate about making music. I know I have had to work so much harder than
any of my male peers to achieve recognition of my ability and to build my
career but it has made me a stronger, more confident person with sound sense
of achievement and self worth.
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