Blog Posts


The start of the practise series!

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The bain of most people’s lum!

When we only get an hour or half hour together during the week, it’s hard to remember all the things I want you to improve on- or indeed how to even go about improving them at all! Sometimes we can be so overwhelmed with what to practise, that it’s easier to bury our heads in the sand then actually work out a plan of attack!

Over the next few weeks I’m going to share with you my top tips for improving practise, consequently improving your overall playing and making you a happier piper/person in general! Don’t be fooled, I may be talking about bagpipe practise, but you can certainly apply all of these tips to any areas in your life you know you want to improve on!

So to start off these practise tips, I want you to spend some time over the next few days thinking about how you feel right now; are you tired? Physically, or mentally? Where’s your head at? Do you feel invincible? Recognising your current state of mind at the beginning of your practise sessions can be the determining factor between a successful session, or a frustrating session that leaves you feeling pissed off and questioning your life choices!

Stay tuned; next instalment will expand on how to tailor your practise to suit your mood! If you liked this reading, let me and your friends know!

Anzac, Bagpiper, Ballarat, funeral, Lone Piper, Memorial

Annie Westcott Memorial 27/02/2016


On Saturday morning I had the pleasure of piping for Annie Westcott’s memorial. An unusual request- playing bagpipes for a funeral where the person died nearing 60 years ago! But a great honour and for a great cause. I lead the procession with tunes from the WWI era, and then piped the traditional ‘Flowers of the Forest’ as people laid wreaths.

Annie served as a nurse in WWI who lived and died in Ballarat. She was buried in the Old Cemetery with no identification on her grave. On discovering that one of their former members was lying anonymously in a grave in the Ballarat Old Cemetery, the Ballarat Base Hospital Trained Nurses League immediately set about raising the funds to give Annie her identity and recognition. Nurses League spokesperson, Trina Jones, said “Our membership was unanimously of the view that we should do something to ensure her last resting place carries her name and acknowledges her service to her country.” Ballarat General Cemeteries’ CEO Annie De Jong said she was very pleased to be able to assist the Nurses League with arrangements for the commemorative service and unveiling. “Nurse Westcott’s story came to light during the preparation of our book They Answered Their Country’s Call, so we are delighted to partner with the Nurses League to commemorate Annie and WWI Nurses service”.


Her story is quite remarkable, she trained in Ballarat as a nurse. At 40 years of age and with 16 years of nursing and administration experience, Nurse Wescott joined the Australian Army Nursing Service in October 1915. A month later she embarked from Melbourne on the Orsova and sailed to Egypt just in time for the influx of sick and wounded soldiers being evacuated from Gallipoli. She joined the staff at the 1st Australian General Hospital based in the Grand Heliopolis Palace Hotel in Cairo, but the growing number of patients forced the hospital to expand into the neighbouring Luna Park where the ticket office became an operating theatre.

To join the AANS, women had to be unmarried and between the ages of 21 and 40, consequently due to her age Annie’s overseas service was cut short. On January 21st 1916 she left from Suez aboard the HMAT Commonwealth, nursing soldiers who were being returned home. She then served with the AANS until February 1917.

She married Frederick Smith in 1917 and moved to Gippsland but later returned to Ballarat where she died in 1951. She was buried with other family members whose names were recorded on the headstone, but for some reason Annie’s name was not added.



Learn the Bagpipes for Christmas!


Give the gift that lasts a lifetime this Xmas; give someone you love the gift of music lessons! More specifically, BAGPIPE lessons!!

If you, or someone you know has ever wanted to learn the bagpipe – now’s your chance to bag yourself a great deal on getting started!

For the following prices I am offering 4 x 30 minute lessons with myself (normally $30 each) which includes the purchase of a practise chanter, which is what we use to learn before progressing on to the bagpipes (RRP $90-$120)

$180 for under 12’s,
$200 for 12-17
and $220 for adults.

These prices include all learning materials.

For more information please get in touch, and please share this with all your friends!

Like you needed more of an excuse, here’s an article as to why learning music makes you smarter!

Ballarat Grammar School, Tuition, Uncategorized

Ballarat Grammar Presentation Night

Tonight was a beautiful ceremony and I love the fact my bagpipe pupils get to play such a big part in it! To conclude Presentation Night the Pipe Band was accompanied by the Orchestra, playing Highland Cathedral whilst the current year 12’s exit the stage. 13 pipers on stage, including 5 year 7’s- is the makings of one very proud bagpipe teacher! Can’t wait to get stuck in next year!




Principal Higgs Evensong

Great evening on Friday at Ballarat Grammar School, where the pipe band got to finish the Evensong celebrations for Principal Higgs. It was a smaller band for us tonight, however I was an extremely proud bagpipe tutor as 2 of my year 7 learners joined us for their first time marching!

Ballarat Grammar School, Tuition

Year 7 IMP Concert

What a night!!

So insanely proud of the Ballarat Grammar School Year 7 Pipe Band after tonight’s stellar performances!

These pupils have been learning the bagpipes since May, although I have only been teaching them since October and for them to have achieved so much in such a short space of time is incredible!! We played 3 sets tonight; Amazing Grace – (which the kids learnt with me), Bluebells (which they already knew) and a rock number mash-up, ‘Wake me up when We Will Rock you’ (Avicci & Queen!) – which we only put together 3 weeks ago!! It was so good and so much fun to play!

Was also super cool to have the year 7 drummers join us, playing on our brand new drums for the 5th time! These guys were awesome playing unaccompanied tonight, as our drumming instructor (Tom Mewett) couldn’t make it.

Hoping that a lot of these kids will continue on with their bagpipe lessons next year as they have so much potential! #watchthisspace



Ballarat Grammar School, Tuition

Changing of the the Guards; Ballarat Grammar Year 11 procession to year 12

Today the Ballarat Grammar School Pipe Band got to lead a lovely symbol of change and progression. To mark the end of reign for the current year 12’s, we lead this years Year 11’s on a march around the whole school to their new home for 2016; the Year 12 Common Room.


**UPDATES** ABC Recordings for the Rhianna Patrick show

If you missed me playing on the radio on Sunday night with the Present tense ensemble- you can listen back here! I’m playing the Scottish border pipes in ‘Sweet Dreams’, and xylophone in the other tracks! The tune I play during ‘Sweet Dreams’ is one of my favourites; Chloe’s Passion by Dr Angus MacDonald. This tune was written after a painting hanging in the Young & Jackson’s pub in Melbourne on Flinders St!



Amazing day yesterday in the abc 774 Melbourne recording studio with the @pt_ensemble ! Tune in at 8pm on sun 29th of November to hear our works! #abcrhi

Be sure to tune into @abcradio 774 tonight at 8pm to hear some reimagined synth tracks on the Rhianna Patrick show !…

Posted by Amber Bagpipes on Saturday, 28 November 2015