I'm still very self-conscious of how I sound when I'm playing all by myself. When I'm with the band all my wrong notes and uneven blowing is masked by the pipers around me. But by myself, it's a different story. Since my ultimate goal is to solo at weddings and funerals I hope that the more I play the with band the more confident I'll get. Even when I practice at home I'm self-conscious. Even though the bagpipes are an outdoor instrument, I practice them inside. I don't want to bug the neighbors and I'm not sure how I sound to other people.
I will however play outside at my parent's cabin. It's fairly isolated with just a few other cabins, including a rental cabin, that are directly around it.
This weekend I was visiting their cabin and of course I brought my bagpipes. We had driven down into the town briefly and saw this group of four somewhat elderly people sitting all in a line on the steps of the rental cabin. We were in town for about a half hour and when we drove back they were in the exact same place. My Mom and I thought I should get out my pipes and play for them, maybe lure them off of their front step.
So I got my pipes set up and played through about every tune I knew-no response from the rental cabin. I started walking up the road closer to their cabin and decided to pull out the big guns and play Amazing Grace. So I ripped through the tune and sure enough, when I was done playing I could hear them clapping and whistling.
When I was done I realized that while I was conscious of them being there, I was playing for them and I knew that I was doing a pretty decent job.
I guess I'm more confident then I thought.