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I offer lessons in:

  • Bagpipes
  • Scottish Traditional Scottish Smallpipes
     
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    Hal CummingsOffering private lessons in
    Annapolis, Maryland
    About MeContact Me
    Introduction
    Hal Cummings began studying piping as a member of the Bermuda Rifles Cadet Corps Pipe Band in 1959. He played in that band until 1962, when his father, who was serving as the Base Chaplain for the U.S. Naval Station in Bermuda, was transferred to the Washington D.C. area.

    From 1962 until 1965, Hal studied Piping with Sandy Jones, who became Pipe Major of the Air Force Pipe Band, and went on to act as Musical Director for the Citadelís Pipe Band for over twenty years. During that time Hal played with several groups that Sandy sponsored, and did solo work, and piping for Highland Dancing performances. In addition, he took music and voice lessons from members of the Navy Band. In 1966, Hal studied and played pipes with the Edinburgh Academy pipers, and piped for Highland Dancing in various places in Scotland.

    Hal is a piper with strong ties to the Navy and the Naval Academy (USNA). He graduated from USNA in 1971 with a degree in Physics. While there he was a member of the Chapel Choir, and played the pipes for the occasional USNA meal formation. While in the Navy, and until several years ago, Hal played pipes mostly for his own amusement, and did some occasional informal solo work. During the summers of 2004, and 2010, Hal attended the North American Academy of Piping and Drumming with Sandy Jones. Currently, Hal lives in Annapolis Maryland with his wife Judith, and plays as a member and soloist with the Chesapeake Caledonian Pipes and Drums, in addition to performing on his own at weddings, charity fund raisers, corporate functions, private parties, church services, and funerals. He often plays pipes with Seamus Kennedy, Ceann, The Rovers, and Off The Boat, and regularly plays pipes at: Fado's in Annapolis; O'Loughlin's in Arnold; Killarney House in Davidsonville; The Crofton Irish Channel; Tir Na Nog in Baltimore; and James Joyce in Baltimore. He occasionally plays at the following Annapolis venues: Stan and Joeís; Harry Brownís; Castle Bay; Obrien's, Middleton's, and Galway Bay. He currently plays regularly with the Traditional Irish Pub Singing Club (TIPSC). Hal recently played the pipes at a Vice Admiral's retirement at the Navy Yard in Washington D.C., and regularly Pipes for Military Dining-Outs including Dahlgran, Fort Meade, and PAX River NAS organizations. Hal is a Piping Instructor for Pipers in the U.S. Naval Academy Pipe Band, and is the Piping Instructor for the Calvert County Fire and EMS Pipe Band.

    Halís Web Site: http://www.webspawner.com/users/halthepiper/
    Halís MySpace page: http://www.myspace.com/halthepiper/


    My Teaching Background
    I sometimes feel I was born to be a teacher. All my life I seem to have been drawn into that role. Having learned to play tennis at a young age, I began teaching tennis via group and private lessons as a teenager, and continued doing this in my adult years, often in partnership with my mother who was a teaching pro for many, many years. While in the Navy, I was often asked to tutor friends and shipmates in math and science which I had studied for many years. I spent five years as an engineering instructor at the Naval Academy. Teaching Bagpipes has been a natural extension of my involvement with playing and performing as a soloist and as a member of a bagpipe band and with a variety of other performers and bands. I am gratified at how fast some of my students progress in their abilty to play. One student began lessons in November, got a set of pipes as a Christmas present from his wife, and began playing tunes on his pipes in January. He did his first public performance at a military retirment ceremony in June! I find that students who have played another instrument pick up bagpiping quite quickly when they practice routinely, especially if they have played wind instruments. Saxophone and recorder players just seem to progress at light speed!

    My Teaching Philosophy
    My aim as a bagpipe teacher is to get my students to be able to help teach themselves. I want my students to know themselves what sounds right and what sounds wrong, so they don't always have to wait until we have a lesson to begin correcting their mistakes. I want to help my students get to the playing of tunes as quickly as possible, but not at the expense of proper execution. I tell all my students that if they will practice a half hour a day they can make progess, and the more they practice on a regular basis, the quicker they will progress. We both know when they have gone a week with very little practice - I never berate anyone, but we do talk about it! I get really excited and become a one man cheering section when a student plays something really well! What can I tell you - we pipers are noisy! I want as many of my students as possible to start playing in a pipe band, because it is fun, and it gives students even more incentive to practice and learn more tunes. No one ever forgets the first time they got kilted up and played in public with a bagpipe band! Just remember - it is never too late to learn to play. Even if you think you will never have the lung power for the big pipes, there are other options. There are a variety of small pipes that require much less wind, and there are electronic bagpipes that sound wonderful, and can be played in a variety of keys, requiring very little physical exertion! Most of the pipers in the band I play with learned as adults (some as quite mature adults!), and if you ever see us play, I know you will agree we play some very beautiful music together!

    Rates And Availability
    I teach at my home studio, and at the homes of my students. I would be willing to travel to an institution for group lessons.

    My basic rate is $135 per month for four one-hour lessons. I offer the families of my students one half price kilted bagpipe performance by me per year after their first year being tutored by me. Call me at 443-995-2691.

    I am proud to be an authorized Gibson Bagpipes Instructor/Supplier. You can see the Gibson product line at: http://www.gibsonpipes.com/
    Contact me for prices on indivudal Gibson products. This includes any items in the Gibson line, including Highland Pipes, Fireside Pipes, the other types of wonderful Gibson smallpipes, and, of course, pipe chanters and practice chanters, and those awesome Gibson practice chanter reeds!

    Richard Russell: You have sent me messages at this website twice, and I have responded both times - maybe my emails are not getting thru your spam filter. I'll try again, using my other email address, but why don't you just call me at 443-995-2691.