Make sure your strike-in technique is good. Do other pipers have the
same problem when playing your pipe? Do you have the same problem when
playing other bagpipes?
The proper strike-in is a learned skill that only experimentation and
practice can ensure. The key is Strike, Blow, and Maintain.
A major pet peeve of mine is the unprofessional strike-in !!!!
Assuming that your reeds are properly adjusted in the first place
(bridles not too low or too tight) . . . .
Fill the bag as much as possible, until just about when the drone
gives a little toot. If you have plugs, valves, enhancers or
whathaveyous, this is an easy step.
Strike / spank the bag firmly with your open palm, using your (left)
forearm as an anvil to the palm’s hammer. You’ll need to experiment to
find the “sweet spot” on your bagpipe where the reed. The
anvil concept is very important. If you let the left arm move with the
spanking motion, you will get a howl.
Blow immediately thereafter (i.e., a nanosecond later) to
maintain the pressure level just created by that strike.
If you reverse the order of the above, it will howl every time.
Keep the pressure level the same as you push the bag up under your
arm, via a combination of blowing and arm pressure. Do NOT let
the pressure drop, or the howls will begin. Do NOT increase the
pressure, or the chanter may sound early.
Once you have the bag solidly under your arm and both hands in place
on the chanter, sound a note (preferably “E”).
If at any point during this process you get a howling tenor, a
roaring bass, an early chanter, or a false note, STOP. Try it
again. Continue until you master this. It's a learned skill and can be
mastered by anyone with enough work.
Pipers who strike in their bagpipe in a howling uncoordinated mess of
random notes and squeals will always project a very, very unpolished
image to the general public, let alone to the piping community. Even
someone who knows nothing about piping can figure out that it’s not
supposed to sound that way.
When a professional musician on other instruments commences to play,
it’s in an orderly and controlled fashion. Why should we as pipers
tolerate anything less?
Granted, in a solo contest this is not part of the score, but a poor
strike-in certainly does not project an aura of competence or confidence
to the listener.