Matthew Poletti

(4 reviews)

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When I was 10 years old I picked up my Grandfather's Bagpipes after a parade and that started my unique journey with the Highland Bagpipes.  I picked up the practice chanter quickly and soon my Grandfather introduced me to his Pipe Band at the time so I could receive further instruction. From Middle School through High School I grew in my playing ability and was an instructor for when we had breakout sessions during Pipe Band practice. I took private lessons, marched in many parades (Including NYC St. Patrick's Day Parade), played at some of my High School events  and began competing in Solos with EUSPBA. I was fortunate to receive a scholarship and further tutelage at St. Andrews University where I was part of the St. Andrews Pipe Band. I graduated in 2012 with a Masters in Business Administration and a Minor in Spanish. If I had taken the music theory courses combined with the Bagpipe Courses I had taken, I would have received a minor in Bagpiping. Due to changing my Major, I didn't have the time to do that when focusing on my required coursework for my Major. During my time there, under the guidance of Pipe Major Bill Caudill and my friends I was able to climb two levels in the EUSPBA Solo competitions to the rank of a Grade II Piper. As you can see from my photos I was in a Kilt when I graduated, the Pipe Band leads the Graduating Class and I was able to receive my Diploma in a Kilt. I also went to The North American Academy of Piping and Drumming for three summers in a row from 2009 - 2011 while I was attending St. Andrews University. I had Sandy Jones, Bill Caudill, Greg Abbott and Ed Neigh as instructors. I am now 30 years old in Ohio and after several years of neglect I have rejoined the piping world. In 2012 there was a several page article about my Bagpiping experiences in The Voice, which is the EUSPBA Membership Magazine. As a Bagpipe Instructor my goal is to pass on what I've learned and to prepare my students for their own Bagpiping goals.

I've played in three Pipe Bands in my life so far; Siol Na h'Eireann Pipes & Drums, Thomas O'Shaughnessy Memorial Pipe Band and the St. Andrews Pipe Band. In  Siol Na h'Eireann Pipes & Drums and Thomas O'Shaughnessy Memorial Pipe Band I was an instructor although only briefly in Siol Na h'Eireann Pipes & Drum as I changed bands to Thomas O'Shaughnessy Memorial Pipe Band when the Pipe Band split into two Pipe Bands.  I learned a lot from Patricia O'Shaughnessy, who was my second instructor after my grandfather Raymond Willis. I held the rank of Pipe Lieutenant, who proceeds from the Pipe Major and the Pipe Sergeant. In order to advance Grade Levels in EUSPBA you need to acuire so many points, submit an application, essay and have a letter of recomendation. I placed at many competitions, most of which were First Place during my time at St. Andrews University which is why I was able to advance the Grade II. For 4 years at St. Andrews Univeristy I received Scholarships for Bagpiping and we also produced a CD. During 3 of those summers I attended  The North American Academy of Piping and Drumming  and received Full Scholarships. As an instructor with my first two bands, I helped beginners with their technical work, learning notes, tempos, how to march while playing and keeping constant air flow as well as pressure. My teaching style is at the pace of the individual student. Everyone has their own learning curves and sometimes it takes some much longer to pick up on things and that's okay because if you push too hard either they won't learn what they need to or they'll quit and nobody wants that. The worst thing an instructor could do is make their student lose their passion for something they enjoy like a musical instrument. Now if a student wants to advance their abilities, I'll of course work with them and tell them how much work they need to put into their practicing, but I won't push them beyond what they're ready for. When I was in the St. Andrews Pipe Band I was the student for the most part and I learned a lot from our Pipe Major and fellow band mates.  I did a lot of assistant work, helping out at practices and competitions in the beginning with whatever the Pipe Major Needed and over the years my band mates and I would help each other get prepared at Solos such as assisting each other in tuning. You can see this in my profile picture where I was tuning my band mate Dalton for his Solo competitions at the Cary Indoor Competition in 2012. The main thing with Bagpiping is to be there for someone as well as patient, because they'll get there. 

EUSPBA Member (Eastern United States Bagpipe Association). Grade II Bagpiper (You Begin as Grade V, if possible work your way up to Grade I, After which is the Professional Level). St. Andrews Pipe Band Alumni (Class of 2012) North American Academy of Piping and Drumming (2009 - 2011)


Instrument: Practice Chanter (Plastic or Blackwood. Regular Length or Long depends on the Student Height), A Roll of Un-Waxed Yellow Hemp and a Backup Practice Chanter Reed

Books : Learn to Play the Bagpipes by Pipe Major R.T. Shepherd (Especially if a Beginner), and the SCOTS GUARDS STANDARD SETTINGS VOLUME 1 (Other Tunes and Tune Books can be discussed on an individual basis). 



Instrument: African Blackwood Highland Bagpipes (If you don't already have a set of Bagpipes I can help you pick one out)

Maintenance Supplies for your Bagpipes (I can go over these with you if needed).

Books: SCOTS GUARDS STANDARD SETTINGS VOLUME 2 (Other Tunes and Tune Books can be discussed on an individual basis). 

Reviews of lessons with Matthew Poletti

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