Competing at a highland games, or other venues, can be a nerve-wracking experience. There are so many things you have to think about. Do you have everything you need? Do you remember how the tune goes? Are your reeds going to behave? Do you know where the judges are going to be? There are all sorts of things going through your mind. These sorts of things can effect your performance almost as much as how you play. Having a set “Games Day” routine can help you manage these things and let you focus on your performance.
Hearing is the most important tool we have as bagpipers. Being able to tell if your bagpipes are in tune, to hear if you are playing in time with the rest of the band, even to hear the judge compliment your playing (hopefully.) Part 1 of this article discussed the mechanics of hearing and how damage occurs. Part 2 discussed how sound interacts with the ear and how best to protect it. In Part 3 we review a few different types of available ear plugs for musicians.
When selecting hearing protecting it is important to understand how humans hear sounds. Part 1 of this series discussed a the mechanics of hearing and how damage can occur. In Part 2 we will look at what we hear and the best way to protect it.
There are always peaks, plateaus, and valleys when trying to improve your playing. When you hit a plateau or slide into a valley, sometimes its hard get motivated. Sometimes at the end of a competition season it’s hard to keep the momentum going for the next season. This happened to me recently. It’s hard, but there are ways to get out of it.
The role of bagpipes on the front lines of war came to an end after the First World War. The high death toll inflicted on pipers relegated them to duty behind the front line in the camps. However there are always people who defy the rules. Part 1 of this article talked about Bill Millin, the famous piper of D-Day. In Part 2, we'll talk about "Mad Jack" Churchill.
The role of bagpipes on the front lines of war came to an end after the First World War. The high death toll inflicted on pipers relegated them to duty behind the front line in the camps. However, there are always people who defy the rules, this is the story of two of them.
Pipe Major Donald MacLeod, M.B.E. was one of the greatest pipers and composers of the 20th century. He served in 51st Highland Division in WWII and was appointed Pipe Major of the Seaforth Highlanders at the age of 25. He published 6 books of light music and one book of piobaireachd. He also released over 40 volumes of piobraireachd tutorials as well as several other recordings.
Exercises are a good way to improve your embellishments. But basic exercises tend to be monotonous and it’s easy to lose focus. You may also find that something you can play well in an exercise becomes rough once you find it in a tune. An easy way to solve this problem is to find a tune that has a lot of the embellishments you want to practice.