Introduction to Instructional Recordings

Much of Willie's teaching was done well after he had given up active competition and regular performance.  Any of us who've been away from piping for an extended period well know the effects of atrophy, not only on our fingers, but also on memory.

For many of us who received tuition from Willie, it was standard practice to bring a tape recorder and to make recordings to aid our memory between lessons.  Willie was always obliging, even when he didn't feel that his technique was up to standard, and dutifully recorded tunes or variations for our benefit.

In as much as we feel fortunate to have recordings of Willie's tuition, we are equally self-conscious about making them widely available.  The recordings were created as part of a special teacher / student relationship where the evident eagerness of the student often persuaded the tutor to perform, even in spite of technical shortcomings.  Had he insisted on recording only under most favourable circumstances, we would undoubtedly have less to share on this site.

Aside from the recordings under the heading "Willie's Ceol Mor", the recordings in this section make no pretence of being professional or even refined.  They are inevitably of variable and substandard quality in many ways, but in spite of that, will be of value to users who are able to accept their guidance in the spirit in which they were created.

You will find multiple recordings of several tunes, or of their variations, that together should prove helpful to anyone wishing to get a glimpse of how the Cameron style is expressed.  We also hasten to add that there was always more to Willie's instruction than can ever be captured on recordings.  Many recordings were intended to give a "black and white" version of the tune.  Later came Willie's admonitions to soften the delivery of certain variations, to be bold with presentation of the phrasing, or to let the melody in latter variations speak for itself and were all part of his approach, and are something that isn't captured in these recordings.  Willie wasn't content simply to have his students mimic his playing, they were intended to gain a clear understanding of what they were doing.

- Brad Davidson, January 2009
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