The Future of My YouTube Channel -

The Future of YouTube Channel

by Jori Chisholm, Founder of
Last Updated: March 12, 2024

I started 25 years ago with the simple goal to provide high-quality information and inspiration for anyone, anywhere in the world who has a dream to learn to play the bagpipes. Thanks to you support, my business has been able to grow and help thousands of pipers of all levels. Join me and help me determine the future direction for Thank you!

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Video Transcript:  Hey everybody, let me know in the comments if you can hear me okay, or give me a thumbs up or a like or something. Thanks for joining. I haven’t done many of these YouTube lives, but there’s something on my mind that I wanted to make a video about, and I thought instead of doing one of my videos where I write it and script it and shoot it, edit it to make it all slick, I would do a live thing and do it a little more improv and just kind of talk about what’s going on. 

So first of all, thanks. If you’re tuning in live, go ahead and pop in the chat there and say where you are from and, just to say hello. And if you were watching this on the replay, yeah, put a comment in there, and just say hi and where are you from, I’d love to hear from you. 

So, I want to talk a little bit about how I got to where I am now with my business and and a bit of my piping background and where we are today, and where we’re going to be going in the future. 

And I’m going to ask for your input and feedback to help me with some future planning. I’ll tell you a little bit about my background: I started piping as a kid in Oregon. I grew up in the suburbs of Portland, Oregon, we’re not a piping family.  No one in my family piped, but we were one of those families that did a bunch of activities: sports and language classes and music and all kinds of stuff. And we found a great teacher who lived in our neighborhood and his name was Colin McKenzie. 

Colin sadly passed away just a few years ago, but I’m still very close with the McKenzie family and he’s probably the biggest influence on my life, outside of you know, my family.  My firstborn son is named Colin so that kind of gives you an idea of the closeness.  So I started taking piping lessons with Colin McKenzie and really got into it. I  started competing at our local piping society and started traveling up to British Columbia to play some competitions up there.  And I started rising up the solo competition ranks and really just really loving it, and really living the community and the music and my relationship with my teacher. Bagpiping was becoming a bigger and bigger role in my life and I didn’t know what I was going to do for my career, but I knew that I wanted bagpiping to be part of it. 

So at that point, there really wasn’t a model for how you could be a professional bagpiper and support your family doing it other than teaching piping at a school, which was pretty much in Scotland or being in the Scottish military, which wasn’t going to be an option for me. 

So I figured that like all of my teachers and mentors and piping heroes, I would have a more conventional career as a day job and then just pursue my piping as a very, very intense hobby, really serious hobby. 

So I figured that’s what I’d do. I ended up going to college just south of Seattle (I live in Seattle now). I specifically chose to move north from Oregon into Washington State to be closer to British Columbia and the piping scene up there. At that point I was going up there and competing and playing with a band up there.  Eventually I moved over to play with the Simon Fraser University Pipe Band, one of the top pipe bands in the world. 

Graduated from college, did well in college. Still didn’t really know what I’m going to do with my life. And I had a “real” job for a year, and over that year I was thinking about ways that I could create a vision for my life where I could do piping as a profession.  I didn’t really have a way to do that. I don’t really have a path, I should say. But this was also in the mid to late 90s and the internet was just starting to happen. 

I had no idea, and most people had no idea where we were going to go with broadband and webcams and streaming and certainly YouTube and all this stuff. But I had an idea that I should get a website and see where that goes. 

So I started in 1999, 25 years ago, (amazing.) That was the world’s first website dedicated to providing information and guidance and resources for people who wanted to learn to play the bagpipes. 


After college, I moved to Seattle, started teaching bagpipes, and that was pretty much my full-time job.  I was trying to build it into a full time job by teaching private lessons and working with local bands. 

A really big thing happened in 2003, which was that Apple released the iSight webcam. I was a Mac guy, I’ve always been a Mac guy. I’m looking at my Mac right now. iPhones and iPads weren’t out yet, but Apple released this camera and it was a high-quality webcam, and would work with an application they had called iChat AV, audio video. 

At that point, I had been studying with two very influential and great mentors in my life. That’s Mike Cusack and Alasdair Gillies. So, Mike is the greatest American piper. Mike is from Houston and still lives down there and has won all the gold medals in all of the top competitions in Scotland, and around the world. He is a fantastic player and a great mentor and teacher for me. 

I met Mike going to piping schools. So before online education, if you wanted to get exposure to some of the world’s greatest pipers, you had to go to these camps, these weekend workshops, these week-long summer camps.  That’s where I met Mike, and that is also where I met Alasdair.  Alasdair is no longer with us, tragically, but he was a great mentor to me and was a connection to some of the great light music playing that was going on in Scotland. 

So I had these two mentors doing all my MSRs and my light music with Alasdair and doing my pibroch with Mike. And Mike learned from Jimmy McIntosh, and that’s part of that Nicol-Brown Tradition of pibroch. 

So I was getting instruction from these guys at piping camps, and sometimes I would go to a student, and later I would be teaching with them during the day. After we were done with our teaching, (they were very generous) I’d get some private lessons in the afternoon and early evening. 

I’d fly down to Houston a couple times a year to do a two or three day intensive with Mike on my gold medal pibroch tunes. So it was really a big deal when this webcam came out, and I knew that Mike was an Apple Macintosh user.  I bought two of these webcams and sent one to Mike. This was in 2003 and we did the world’s first ever online video based bagpipe lesson that we know of. I think it has to be the first one because those webcams just came out and I got them right away and sent one to Mike, we did it right way. 

So, that was sort of a historic moment for me and, I think for piping education, in that it proved that you could do online webcam-based lessons. This is way before Zoom, way before Skype. Right away I put on my website “Now offering interactive webcam based lessons!” The idea was, it doesn’t matter where you are in the world, you can meet with your teacher. 

I started teaching online lessons like that in 2003, and it was really a big change. Several years later, I was featured on the front page of the New York Times, a very big newspaper, about the growth of online music lessons.

At that point, it was primarily Skype. It’s a fascinating article, and it’s very fun to be on the front page of the New York Times, and have my picture on there. What I didn’t realize, (since I was just busy doing my thing and teaching and, you know, running my business, and this just came out two weeks before my first son was born, so I just kind of focused on family and piping and work,) was this was a big trend globally.  It was really sort of for me learning that the idea of online music education wasn’t just something that I was doing, but this was happening all around the world in different types of music. 

Students love it because you get access to great teachers or a teacher that you connect with and you’re not stuck just having a teacher that’s local to you. Teachers love it because you can access so many more potential students. 

What we see now is not only in piping, but in all areas of education, really, that online education is a huge, huge thing. So that’s 2003, and then I was ticking along teaching in person, private lessons here in Seattle, working with bands, traveling to teach workshops and piping schools, and also teaching these one-on-one lessons on the webcam. 

Then another big change for me was in 2010~2011. I was really getting into doing yoga and you know, people go through different sort of exercise phases in their life and I got a friend who introduced me to yoga.  One of the things that this yoga studio was doing was they did a 30-day challenge.  The idea is, can you come and do one of these classes every day for 30 days? It’s fun and I did it and I loved it. 

I thought, “Wow, I wonder if I could do something like this for pipers?”  So that was the inspiration for me. I think it was 2010~2011. I put on the 30-day piping challenge.  I just put it out on my website and I had a blog at that point, and I sent it to my email list, and what do you know? 

Over a hundred people signed up! Then I thought, “Well, I’ve got to figure this out. I’ve got to create a course curriculum here!” I wasn’t sure how it was going to work, but basically I did an online lesson or a challenge every day for 30 days. 

Sometimes it would be a PDF or an exercise or tune or some kind of practice challenge. And it was really cool. And people really loved it. And It was very satisfying. I felt like this was a great use of the internet and email and this blog format to bring people together.  There’s a lot of collaboration and remember blogs?  people would post comments and all that kind of stuff. 

So it’s really cool. And then that was the inspiration for me to create the Studio that still exists today.  The studio is a lesson library with hundreds and hundreds of lessons on basically every piping topic: tunes, exercise, technique, fingering, expression, tuning, blowing, reeds, equipment, product demonstrations, reviews, all that kind of stuff. 

I created it as a way to have a single repository where I can put all the cool stuff that I’m working on if I have any exercise or a new tune. If I am teaching a workshop somewhere, teaching a seminar or masterclass, I could record it and put it on there.  Sort of like a one-stop-shop for me to put all this great content in there.  Then members can just sign up for a monthly or yearly membership and get access to everything. 

That was ticking along great but I always had this idea in the back of my mind that I wanted to do something extra for my members. That kicked off in 2020, which is an unusual year as you probably remember. 

In 2020 I created a membership called the Inner Circle. The Inner Circle combines the membership in the Studio. So you get access to the lesson library and you also get the weekly live classes that I do on Zoom. 

That was a great thing for and for my students, to get on the Zoom bandwagon. We did that in 2020, when everyone was getting on Zoom, and we’re still doing it. I lost track of how many of these live classes we’ve done, but hundreds. 

When you sign up for that Inner Circle membership, you get access to the lesson library with hundreds of lessons that were formally called the Studio. You can also access the weekly live classes and all those live classes are recorded so you can go back and watch them all. 

I’ve heard from one of my students who’s gone back to the very beginning and is watching every single one of these one-hour Inner Circle live sessions in order. He says it’s kind of like watching a Netflix show. He’s just binge watching it and gets to watch as the the content and the lessons unfold and and gets to know all the people that are in the Inner Circle. 

So that has been really, really cool. If you’re interested in that, you can check it out at We have people from around the world, all different time zones and ages and ability levels. 


It’s been a really cool thing to have some community there. And the Inner Circle has really helped me fulfill my vision for, which is to bring high-quality information and inspiration and community to help people fulfill their dream to learn the pipes.  I really look forward to these weekly sessions. Many of our members don’t tune in live. They watch the recording if the timing doesn’t work for them. 

We have a private Facebook group, so you can watch it on a Facebook Group. You can join live on Zoom and then you can watch the recording later. It’s really cool. One thing I would like to do is to have an Inner Circle in-person gathering at some point.  We’ve got to figure out where that’s going to be. 

We have people all over the world: UK, Europe, gosh, almost every continent.  I don’t think Antarctica but Australia, New Zealand all across the US and Canada, Hawaii, Alaska.  So it’d be fun to get us all together at one point.  

Those are some big sort of milestones for my business. I would say the other really big thing that changed in my life is the success of my products. If you’re on my email list or you’ve been watching some videos on the YouTube channel, you know I’m trying to let people know about some products that I use and some products that I’ve invented that have been very helpful to pipers. 

Probably the most famous one is the Tone Protector. So this is my humidity-controlling reed cap. It’s 84% just where it’s supposed to be. Fantastic. And I have a whole line of Tone Protector products that allow pipers to deal with the challenge of having cane chanter reeds and the fact that they are very temperamental and very sensitive to the moisture content in that cane, in the natural material. 

So it’s been really, really amazing. And I’m just so happy and honored and pleased and grateful to everyone who’s using the Tone Protector. I hear from people almost every day who just love how their Tone Protectors helped them enjoy piping more with less messing around with reeds, less time tuning, and just more time playing and practicing and enjoying playing. 

I was talking to Willie McCallum in January, when we were judging together in Kansas City at Winter Storm. Willie’s one of the all-time great pipers, a great guy, also a teacher and mentor of mine. I had this theory that I asked Willie about.  I said, “You know your generation of players, you guys have all had these incredible careers that have been like 10 or 20 or 25 years longer than the careers of the generation before.” He said, “That’s absolutely true,” and he shared a funny story with me.

He says that when he was 40, he thought “Well, I don’t think I’m going to be competing much past 45.”  I don’t know exactly how old he is, but he is well past 45, and he’s still playing and competing and playing better than ever. 

I said to Willie, “I have this theory that I haven’t seen anyone talk about, but my theory is that all of this technology in terms of equipment has really helped your generation of pipers extend their careers.”

We have had big innovations like synthetic zipper bags with moisture control systems and synthetic drone reeds instead of the traditional cane drone reeds. Someone actually mentioned to me, they think the Tone Protector is right in that category of world-changing innovations for piping.  I was very flattered and honored to hear that comment. 

I said to Willie, “That’s my theory.” And he said that is 100% true. He said in the old days with sheepskin bags and cane drone reeds and all this temperamental, natural, finicky equipment, he said you could easily spend four days practicing and not actually even play a tune because you’re just messing with all your equipment. 

So he just confirmed to me that, yes, all these amazing technological advances in terms of the equipment of bagpipes has allowed you to take breaks throughout the year and come back and just sort of hit the ground running and get back to playing.  He also said that your practice time is actually way more efficient and productive because you’re not spending all that time messing around with your gear. 

That was a great conversation and it also encouraged me to know that these innovations people are coming up with, these products that I’ve been working on and continue to work on (I have more things that I’m working on right now) that these products are important not just for convenience but really to help pipers do what they want to do and do more of it.  Which is practice and play and perform and put out great musical performances. Even with all these innovations, there’s still plenty of time spent, and still plenty needed to get into the gear and the adjustments and to set up the instrument side of things. 

So don’t worry, that’s never going to go away. If you love to tinker with your equipment, that definitely is always going to be there. I think of it a little bit like how we have athletes now, these professional athletes and their careers are much, much longer than they used to be because of better training methods, better safety equipment. With American football, you’ve got the better helmets and pads and various braces and stuff. Also better physical therapy and medical innovations that help people recover from injury better. 

Pick your sport, whether it’s American football, soccer, F1 or golf or whatever, you will see athletes, both men and women, having longer careers.  Some of these all-time-greats really can have greatly extended longevity in their career, and I think it’s equipment, but I also think it’s the ability to recover. 

And for me, that’s kind of like the bagpipes. If you think about the instrument as part of you, and how you perform these technological innovations, in terms of equipment, it allows you to recover quickly. 

I definitely have some more products I’m working on. Thank you to everyone who’s using Tone Protectors and my new microphone that came out just over a year ago is very quickly catching up to the Tone Protector in terms of popularity. So thank you to everyone for supporting my business. Although I know you’re not doing it to support me, you are doing it because these products really work for you, and I hear that every day, so thanks. 

I want to talk about the future of and of this YouTube channel. If you’ve been following my YouTube channel or if you’re new to it, check it out. I’ve got all kinds of different videos I put on there and there’s all kinds of different topics. 

Somewhere I have a list of probably a couple hundred ideas for either lessons for my members, topics for one of my live sessions for my Inner Circle, or for a video for the YouTube channel. And they pretty much fit into three main categories. This is a way to think about all the stuff that you need to learn and master if you want to be a piper. 

One is the fingering. So everything that’s related to technique. We have proper form: how you put your hands on the chanter, gracenotes, our doublings for low G bass movements, the birl, crossing noises. Everything has to do with technique, a lot of that we do on the practice chanters. That’s a really big topic. I think a lot of pipers spend a huge amount of time on our technique. I will just give you a little hint. 

I have something that’s coming out later this month. I’m recording this in March of 2024, and I have something that is coming up that I am very excited about later this week. It’s going to be a new online course. 

So check that out. So we got the technique. That’s all about the hands and the fingers. We also have the tone side of things. A big part of it is equipment and technology. Another big part is the skill of the sound production. 

There we’re talking blowing, right? So it’s really a huge thing, and it is unique to the bagpipes.  Not the fact that we blow, or that we create intonation through blowing, but the blowing and the squeezing the bag, and the blowpipe, and we have four different reeds:  that is not something you see in other instruments. 

It really is a big topic. If the technique is in the hands and fingers, the tone is the body because it is the lungs and diaphragm and cheeks and your physical stamina and the arm for the squeezing. 

Also the tone production side of piping involves all of your equipment. So this is bags, moisture control systems, setup, maintenance, hemping, making sure all your joints are airtight, and tuning. 

Tuning is another skill. And just more equipment like using my InTune Mic, using my Tone Protector, my Tone Protector Reed Case to protect the humidity levels in your reeds. So we got technique, we’ve got tone. 

If you think about a triangle, at the top is the musical expression part. Music, that’s how we get into this, right? If you’re like me, there’s something about when you heard the bagpipes, and maybe you were so young, you don’t even remember. 

I was like that. I can’t remember a time before loving the sound of the bagpipes. I can’t remember the first time I heard the pipes, but I just remember being a kid and seeing those pipers and thinking, “I want to do this.”  I don’t know why. There’s this idea that you don’t pick the instrument, that the instrument picks you, and I definitely feel that way. Who knows? Here we are. But for most of us, there’s something about the sounds and something about music that just grips us. 

That was certainly the case with me. For the musical expression side here, we’re talking about your tune selection, your tempo, your expression, your phrasing, your pulsing, your dot-cut, the smoothness of your eighth notes, in your jigs getting the right amount of dot and cut in your six eight marches.  It’s all about the music and if the technique is in the hands, and the tone comes from the body, the music comes from the heart or mind. And really that’s the goal: that your technique is solid and consistent; your tone is solid, and you have pipes that are easy to play, that sound good, that stay in tune. 

And those two things allow you to deliver a musical performance. That’s really the goal. So there’s these three big areas: technique, tone, and music. If there was a fourth area, I would say it is the performance psychology side of things. 

I’ve made some videos about that and have definitely done a lot of study and teaching about that over the years. How to deal with nerves, how do you deal with distractions, and also how to set goals, how to come up with a practice plan, and how to come up with a program that will help you stay on track and stay inspired to help you reach your goals. So it’s the big three plus one. If you look at my YouTube channel, you see I’ve covered a lot of these topics.  And I have a list of some videos that I am going to be putting out. 

Last year my goal was to put out a video a month on YouTube. My goal for this year is one a week. Not quite there yet in 2024, but that’s my goal. One of the things that I’ve done is I’ve gotten some help on my team now. used to be just me and my laptop. 

It’s grown a little bit, and thanks to your support, I’ve got a little help. So I can focus on making the lessons, making the tunes, the products, then I get help on the support side for getting these social media posts out there and getting my videos edited. 

I used to do all the video editing myself, and it’s very fun, and I’m very slow at it. So I have some help now on the video editing side of things. If you look at the YouTube channel, you see there’s a lot more stuff coming out. 

Check out the channel. Some stuff on reeds, some stuff on a microphone, Tone Protectors, moisture, setup, maintenance. I also have some exercises that I’ve been putting out from my Power Exercises series. These are things that you can watch and learn from and also play along with like a workout video. I’m going to be doing more of those and some videos related to musical expression. 

A popular one is my Amazing Grace video called “Amazing Grace is Wrong.” Which is not actually wrong, but the sheet music that most pipers use is wrong. It’s an entertaining video! So I got a lot of different directions I could go, and I have a strong idea of the things that I want to do next. 


But I would love to hear from you. What are you working on? What are your challenges? What videos that you have seen on my channel were really helpful? 

Obviously, I get an idea of the popularity of videos based on views and likes and comments. So that is really, really important. If you like one of my videos, click the “like.” If you have a question, stick it in the comments.  That’s really, really helpful. And I know this sounds silly, but it really does help if you subscribe to the channel. So just hit that subscribe button, hit the bell. I put that in at the end of all my videos. 

It seems a bit silly to be asking for that, but really it does help. Think about in the old days of network TV, the ratings were really important. If a show has great ratings, meaning a lot of people watch it, then that show will get continued and will get another season. But if it doesn’t get views, it gets canceled. 

The way that YouTube works is that if you like my video, if you subscribe to my channel, YouTube then knows that somebody likes the content enough that they subscribe. Then YouTube is more likely to promote my videos to other pipers. That’s really the goal, to get the word out, to continue to be able to provide high quality information and inspiration for pipers. So if you’re watching my video, check it out. Check out the links in the description. 

I’ve got free downloads and information about Inner Circle membership. But definitely subscribe. I would just say, “Thank you to everyone!” Thank you for watching if you made it this far. 

Thanks for subscribing. Thanks for the comments and the likes. I know you have a lot of options for how you spend your time in your life and also the way you spend your time when you’re looking at stuff online. So I’m very grateful for you every time you watch one of my videos, or download one of my free guides, or purchase something from my shop. I’m a small business. I am in my house right now. I don’t have a physical location and am a family-owned business, based in the USA, here in Seattle. 

Because of your support, I’ve been able to continue to grow and evolve my business and get some help from a small team to help to continue growing and get (what I hope is) useful content out to you. 

So, check out If you’re looking for some products, check out my shop at I don’t sell a lot of piping products. I only sell products that I really believe in, that I trust, that I like, that use my stuff. 

So  I also have a learn page, There’s all kinds of great stuff on there: free guides you can download, links to my videos, blog posts, lots of great free stuff there. And if you subscribe to my email list, you’ll get updated when I’ve got new products and new things coming out. 

Like I said, have something very exciting that’s going to be coming in the next couple weeks here in March. If you like my video and my downloads and free content, consider joining my Inner Circle. Go to There’s an option to pay by the month. You save if you pay by the year. I really put a lot of time into that and I have some really die-hard, dedicated, wonderful members and I hope you’ll check it out. 

There is a lot of stuff on the internet. When I started teaching bagpipes online, I was the first person. Many other people are doing it now and it is fantastic to have choices. But if you like what I’m doing, you like this content, you like my delivery and you like my style, join my Inner Circle. 

We do a live Zoom class almost every week. Sometimes I bring in guest instructors, but it’s me.  I am not farming it out to other people. You get to do Zoom with me and some members, and it is a smaller group because a lot of people watch it on replay.  So you can join me live on Zoom almost every week. We have all kinds of great different topics that we do. 

Quite regularly, we do a member video session where you can record a video and we’ll watch it and give you feedback, one-on-one feedback. We also do practice chanter sessions where we work on tunes and exercises and technique and all kinds of other cool topics. 

So join my Inner Circle at I’ve also got a Facebook group. Look up on Facebook and Instagram. I recently started up a TikTok channel. I don’t really look at Tiktok that much, but I’m making short videos that you can find on Instagram and on YouTube Shorts, and we’re putting them up on Tiktok too, just to try to reach more pipers. 

Where I can use your help is to post a comment. Post a common on this video:  just introduce yourself. I want you to know that wherever you are in the world, wherever you’re watching this right now: on your phone, commuting somewhere, at home, at work, watching on your laptop, whenever you watch it, even if you’re watching it five years from now, you are not alone.  There’s a community here and I would be honored to help you with your piping journey. 

So, check out the website, check out membership, or just keep following me on YouTube and social media. This is my full-time job. This is my passion.  Outside of my family, bagpipes is the number one thing in my life, and I want to say, “thank you.”  Let me know how I can help you and we’ll see you next time. 

That’s all for now. Happy piping. Thank you. Let me know how I can help you and I’ll see you next time. 

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