HomeForumShopResourcesEvents
 
 
Welcome, Guest
Username: Password: Remember me
General Discussion
  • Page:
  • 1
  • 2

TOPIC: Top tips for novices

Top tips for novices 2 years 7 months ago #195

  • Tunni
  • Tunni's Avatar
  • OFFLINE
  • Expert Boarder
  • Posts: 147
  • Thank you received: 7
  • Karma: 0
Well folks I'm an old hand with the highland bagpipe and I've been around the block a few times with the mouth blown small pipe. I've just taken delivery of a beautiful set of border pipes and I'm eager to get the best from them.

I've got the book and I've scoured youtube etc for examples and tips but I'm in the midlands and with noone known near by to turn to for lessons or on the spot guidance I turn to you. What do you know now that you wish you'd found out earlier? What are your top tips for getting to grips with bellows technique? I'm not interested in history or repetoire at this point just practical advice on what to do and avoid when starting out with bellows piping.

Just to kick things off my tip for a novice learning Scottish small pipes or border pipes is to get yourself a ghb practice chanter. This will give you a chance to get to grips with finger technique seperately from bellows piping technique and with less to juggle in the earlier stages give you a head start when you try putting it all together. It's also a bit quieter than a border pipe at least giving wider scope for practice times.
The administrator has disabled public write access.

Re: Top tips for novices 2 years 7 months ago #196

I would say forget trying to play a tune until you're able to play a steady note, keeping an even pressure on the bag with your left arm while topping up with the bellows, again in a steady manner without jerky movements. Then progress onto maybe a familiar slow air or finger exercises before trying anything more complicated. Just my tuppence worth.
The administrator has disabled public write access.

Re: Top tips for novices 2 years 6 months ago #210

  • Tunni
  • Tunni's Avatar
  • OFFLINE
  • Expert Boarder
  • Posts: 147
  • Thank you received: 7
  • Karma: 0
There's some progress now and I'm starting to be able to get through a tune without forgetting to pump. I might even be able to keep a steady enough high A to fine tune my drones one day too!

As this thread is going nowhere fast I'll widen the topic to any tips at all for novice pipers and add this.

Google (and any other search engine of choice!) is your friend. It's absolutely brilliant being able to hear a tune before and as you try and learn it so my tip is don't just stare at the dots in confusion google it and see if you can find a few tips on how it can be played. I wish it had been around 30 years ago!
The administrator has disabled public write access.

Re: Top tips for novices 2 years 6 months ago #230

  • Tunni
  • Tunni's Avatar
  • OFFLINE
  • Expert Boarder
  • Posts: 147
  • Thank you received: 7
  • Karma: 0
Well now I've shown my age with the previous comment about google here's another tip for the heck of it.

Tunes are the least of your worries when learning an instrument. Yeah sure they are the reason we all want to play but don't be in a hurry. Rhythm and tone are everything and you will never get them if you don't have technique. The more time you spend on all those boring exercises and scales the better piper you will become and the easier you will find it to pick up a tune when you turn to it.

I started playing as a 9 year old kid with my local pipe band. It was over a year of solid chanter work before I was given my first tune to practice ( I was expressly forbidden to do so before ) and another year before I was allowed near a set of pipes. When life deals its ups and downs a proper grounding in technique will resurect your piping quicker than any amount of half learnt and inexpertly rendered tunes. You've got to learn how to learn before you'll get anywhere.
The administrator has disabled public write access.

Re: Top tips for novices 2 years 6 months ago #238

  • Tunni
  • Tunni's Avatar
  • OFFLINE
  • Expert Boarder
  • Posts: 147
  • Thank you received: 7
  • Karma: 0
Continuing the theme of one hand clapping a bit, my favourite bagpipe website at the moment is absolutely full of great tips, good music and a real fun and relaxed attitude to it all. It is dedicated to the GHB but so much of the content is bang on for smallpipes and border pipes as long as you are not totally hung up on only learning from regional sources that is.

pipehacker.com
The administrator has disabled public write access.

Re: Top tips for novices 2 years 5 months ago #242

  • DrBlow
  • DrBlow's Avatar
  • OFFLINE
  • Fresh Boarder
  • Posts: 13
  • Thank you received: 1
  • Karma: 0
I picked up my first set of smallpipes in August last year so am still very much a novice in the way of the bellows. However I have been playing GHB for 35 years so can echo the comments above to the effect that concentrating on technique and patience are very useful in fact I think essential. I found also that one of the best decisions I made was to have a drone switch put on the pipes. With the drones off it was easy to listen to the tone quality of the chanter and realise how shockingly poor my pressure control was whenever I tried to play a tune. So no tunes until I could at least hold a good quality and true octave when playing a scale. Then playing only slow airs and simple piobaireachd grounds to work on improving quality of pressure regulation. Next stay on these - especially tunes with lots of long Cs - but with drones on. I found the Cs a great way to check blowing and tuning are OK by getting the rich chord against the drones.

Also it took a while for the penny to drop that these are NOT GHBs - for example the acoustics of the chanter are different, and hence even for playing GHB standards it may be better to apply some different ornaments eg replace some birls with other emphases. And I found it helped to take more time on the grips, throw and taorluaths - giving the chanter a chance to respond, not trying to rip through the movements. I also found that I had to make some effort to get clean birls on the smallpipe chanter - different finger spacing of course on the low hand. So for a while it was back to birl exercises with them (which mean my birl on the GHB is now pretty damn good).
The administrator has disabled public write access.
The following user(s) said Thank You: SavGaEckmann
  • Page:
  • 1
  • 2
Time to create page: 0.842 seconds