You may think pipers are scarce, hard to find. You may be tempted to hire the first one you call. Truth is, you can secure a piper in a few minutes online or with a phone. The trick, the really scary part is hiring one who won’t embarrass the heck out of you, and the risk is high, very high if you don’t ask the right questions…and here they are!
How to get the truth:
1. Ask: “Have you competed?” “At what grade?” Hired ONLY pipers who competed in grades 2, 1, or professional. Grades 3, 4 mean the piper needs more experience.
2. “Have you won?” A good piper wins and can prove it. Ask for the years and contests then look them up here: https://wuspba.org/results-2/ These are searchable online records and they’re official. Use Ctrl-F to search for the piper’s name.
3. “What bands have you played in?” Every good piper has extensive pipe band experience, usually with a contest-winning marching pipe band.
4. “Do you teach?” This is less important, but a “yes” answer conveys dedication to the tradition and a giving spirit. However, many good performers do not teach. It’s a different, added skill.
This is all you will need. It takes about 5 minutes to ask the questions and check the records. Remember, a poor piper has never won, probably never even dared to compete, not played in a band, not taught, and is not a member of the piping community. Watch out for those lone desperados. They will almost always disappoint you badly.