Thanks to the Gordon Duncan Memorial Trust, I have been able to get piping tuition with Dan Nevans from the National Piping Centre the last six months. Developing my musical capabilities and understanding has been quite a journey. Hearing the progression in my playing, the result of my lessons and practice has been surreal. Opening so many doors to new opportunities, and shutting the ones to old bad habits (or at least a lot of them).

Meeting Dan at a Highland Games made me realise what proper piping sounded like and immediately after the competition was finished my mum booked a block of lessons. However the NPC lessons are more expensive so money was tight to afford weekly 50 minute sessions, what I required to progress.

With the cost of living crisis, the probability of continuing with Dan seemed slimmer by the week. I had heard about the GDMT as Gordon is one of my biggest inspirations. His albums motivate me to push myself, he has shown me more from recordings than I could have ever thought anyone could. I would love to think that performing his pieces is keeping part of him alive and continuing the legend’s legacy. Such as when I played in Usher Hall with the National Youth Pipe Band of Scotland and again in Dunning, Perthshire, with Ross Ainslie and Tim Edey. And you’ll never catch me out busking without slipping in one of his tunes!

Although I’m not the same as other pipers since I’m in a wheelchair and use my hands reversed due to chronic pain, I feel that I have found acceptance within the community. Networking with fellow musicians from all across the world is something I’d be lost without.

Thank you GDMT for making this possible.

Submitted by: Katie Robertson
Year of award:  2022