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Students Turn to Webcams to Learn to Play an Instrument

young woman playing an instrument For many people, learning a new skill is a great New Year’s Resolution. You could sign up for expensive private lessons, take classes at your school, or do what Dr. John McClure did and take lessons from someone who lives on the other side of the country.

McClure, who lives in Minnesota, was learning how to play the bagpipes from a friend and was really enjoying his new-found hobby. However, when his friend moved away, McClure had to find an alternative way to continue learning. So he turned to Jori Chisholm – a bagpipe player who won first-place at the 2010 Cowal Highland Gathering in Dunoon, Scotland, and who currently lives in Seattle – to help him continue improving. So how does McClure receive his lessons? Does he fly across the country every week in order to take the lessons? Of course not. The two men use Skype in order to connect and practice; sometimes they even have a lesson when McClure, a pathologist, is at work.

“I’ve been on call, waiting for a specimen from the O.R., and I’ll do a lesson with Jori,” McClure said. He uses a practice chanter, which is basically a bagpipe without a bag, in order to keep the lessons quiet and hospital-friendly.

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