View Full Version : Hello
01-09-2003, 04:50 AM
Just thought I would say hello to the pipers of this forum and introduce myself. I took up the NSP about 3 months ago after a visit to David Burleigh's workshop up t'north. Here in Oxford we are fortunate enough to have a group of pipers who meet at the Pitt Rivers Museum once a month. I seem to be making reasonable progress - at least that's what the others tell me but they may just be polite :) I try and get at least 30 mins or more practice every day and can now knock out a few of the lesss complicated tunes. One thing that does seem odd though - perhaps others can shed light on it. On some days the fingers seem to glide over the chanter at a fairly rapid rate - other days it is if they were made of lead. Is this to be expected in the early days of learning the pipes?
01-09-2003, 08:37 AM
It does get easier, but there are always good days and bad days. It seems you've already discovered one of the secrests of practicing well, which is to do it every day. It's better to do a little bit every day rather than all day one day a week. Another "secret" to gliding fingers is to practice being relaxed. The best way I've found to do this is to tense then relax my fingers, then do it again, relaxing my fingers more each time, as I'm warming up with with "Madame Bonaparte." It's good to do this every fifteen minutes or so if you are lucky to get a marathon practice session and you find yourself tensing up. It's like blowing a nice tone, it comes from steady attention rather than all at once by dint of effort. If a piper has to shake out his or her hands to relax them at any point it's sign of too much tension. The faster you play the more relaxed you need to be, although it usually works the other way around. The faster people play the more tense they get. Being relaxed is just another skill, I suppose, you have to practice. This is true of all musicians, not just pipers.
01-10-2003, 01:01 AM
Thank you John for your useful advice to a novice. Strangely enough I have been using 'Madame Bonaparte' for the very purpose that you suggest over the last couple of weeks. I can't quite get through all of it yet, but I'm getting there..... :rolleyes:
01-10-2003, 05:48 AM
I find the older I get, the longer it takes my hands to warm up. I think how your hands feel can have something to do with what you've been doing with them all day. My hands warm up much more quickly if I've been typing on the computer a lot, and without question, the days I feel most relaxed and in control are the days when I've already spent 45 minutes on the Highland pipes. On the days when I've done nothing with my hands I sit down with the NSP and for the first five minutes my hands work like they've been in the refrigerator for a couple of hours.
01-10-2003, 08:34 AM
Same here Jim. I play Walsh smallpipes for fun and the GHB and find that if me hands aren't loosened up some, my playing is definitely off until they do. Somedays, not at all doe snaything work.