Practicing Outdoors in Public

Playing in the park


I live in a coop apartment in Chicago on the North side.  While my wife is very supportive of my bizarre middle-aged hobbies, she does insist on an “in-the-house piping” moratorium.

While the weather is still above 40F, I try to get outside to give the pipes a blow as much as I can.  Luckily, I live across the street from Lincoln Park and can easily combine a bit of practice with a dog walk.

In seven years of practicing, I’ve only had one person ask me to stop.  I’m always surprised by the people that hear the music and walk blocks to to find me.   More often than not, I am about to pack up by the time they show up and I’ll play some extra tunes.  When I was younger, no one ever said to me, “Oh please, keep playing, we can’t get enough of your clarinet music”.

One of the great things about piping is about how much happiness it brings to people (and how tolerant the folks in my neighborhood are).  More than one has remarked “you are so much better than you used to be!”  I accept the compliment.

Where do other folks practice?  I understand that cemeteries are always a good bet.    What is your experience? Let us discuss.

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