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The Best Tune to Play for Your First Competition

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Are you planning to compete as a soloist for the first time this year?  What tune should you play?  What are the good standard tunes that work best for beginning soloists?

Andrew makes this decision simple.  Stop stressing about your tune choice and start preparing for that competition!

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Video Transcription:

Andrew:
Next question, Vicky says, "Oh, wise piper people, what do you think are the three best tunes for an adult beginner's first competition that aren't Scots Wha Hae or Brown-Haired Maiden, both of which I now loathe? Many thanks."

First of all, you don't need three. For your first competition, you don't need three.

Carl:
Right, but maybe she's looking for choice, to choose a tune that she likes.

Andrew:
Got you.

Carl:
I don't know, there's a million. It depends, Vicky, where you're playing. It might be a grade five competition, where it's two-parted tunes, which it sounds like, right? In the EUSPBA, you could do a grade five competition on the pipes with a two-parted, 2/4 or a 4/4 tune. There are million tunes that fall into that category.

Andrew:
I know the answer.

Carl:
Yeah. I'm not good with tune names in the first place, so I'm going to defer to Andrew.

Andrew:
Yeah. You should play any tune you want that exhibits excellent fundamental skills. If you don't like Scots Wha Hae or Brown-Haired Maiden, choose literally any tune. Now, if you want recommendations for tunes that are likely to be easy enough for you to play, pick any of the 16 tunes in the bagpipe tutor. Look through the RSPBA map tunes. Look through other tutor books. Ask a teacher or a friend. Take some band tunes. Talk to your pipe major and see what the pipe major might recommend from out of your band repertoire. I get it. I understand, what she really wants is for us to just tell her some names of tunes to look into, but I'm not going to do that.

Carl:
You going to give her your favorite one?

Andrew:
My favorite one? I think Walter Douglas is a great tune. It's a four-parted, 2/4 march.

Carl:
I think in grade five, if that's what you're in, you can do the first two parts of it.

Andrew:
Yeah, right. Exactly. The first two parts would be excellent, as well.

Carl:
Yeah.

Andrew:
That's maybe my favorite one, entry level.

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Andrew Douglas Andrew is a prolific practitioner of the bagpipe, having been active at the highest level of pipe bands, solo competition, teaching, and creative endeavors for the past 20 years. He's also the founder and creator of Dojo U and of PipersDojo.com

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