I fell in love with the uilleann pipes in my very late teens and early 20s. It was a bit of a gradual process. I was halfway through a degree in classical percussion at the Queensland Conservatorium of Music and I was feeling a little bit bored so I just started playing away on a tin whistle that we had in the cupboard. It was a slippery slope from there.

Matthew Horsley, Uilleann Pipes Matthew Horsley. Photo supplied

For the first five or so years, I was largely self-taught though I would have got some helpful pointers from people at festivals and local sessions. But the only time I’ve really taken formal tuition was in Ireland with a piper named Mikie Smyth who remains a great friend. He was generous enough to just let me stay in his house for the best part of a month and we would just play music every day and talk and drink and all the rest of it. I learned a lot from him. It helped that I had already got to grips with the basic mechanics of the instrument and was able to focus more on...

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