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Old 08-14-2016, 10:13 AM   #4
John McCain
Holy smoking keyboard!
Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: Gorham, Maine
Posts: 3,290
Default Re: Starting a Small Pipe Session

I don't know if my experience will be helpful to you. Apologies in advance if it's not.

I found, in this area of Texas and when I lived in southern Maine, is that although both places had loads of band pipers with SSPs (and some of them very expensive, top end ones) it's impossible to get them to meet for a session. It's evidently pretty intimidating for some.

My suggestion, if you want to play traditional Scottish tunes in a session, is to open it to all relevant instruments and hope smallpipe players will show up.

I play, and am the benevolent organizer, of a local monthly session. In my area there are many Irish sessions so we play only scot/cape breton tunes. It's been going on for over 15 years. In that time, so nearly 200 meetings, I can recall 2 times there has been another SSP player.

We meet in a local business which is closed on a Sunday because the owner likes the session there. If that's unavailable we have access to a community arts center. We don't play in public. None of us are very interested in doing that mainly because we each play in public in other contexts.

As far as repertoire, most Scots fiddle session books are full of pipe tunes and often have the chords, too. LBPS books are OK. The Hamish Moore book is a treasure. Whatever catches a members fancy will be tried. Our group likes sets of tunes. We've even inspired a number of compositions from members.

We don't play marches, although more pipers would likely encourage more of those. The fiddlers (and everyone) loves Gordon Duncan tunes and the late Ian Hardie's tunes are a favorite, too. The Gunn Collection is a rich source for us as are the mostly unheard great tunes that the Scottish country dance music community are always writing.

We don't mind music stands or playing slowly for newer players or anything that would help everyone in the group succeed.

There really aren't any rules. Currently we have a percussion player who specializes in spoons and bones and we are extremely fortunate to have her.

If, as you stated, your goal is a SSP session, disregard the above. If you're successful, please let me know how you did it. I'd love to figure out how to have a SSP session here!

There's a tiny bit more info in the link in my signature line below.
"What we play is life." - Louis Armstrong

Last edited by Andrew Lenz; 08-17-2016 at 07:04 PM. Reason: Removed unnecessary block quote of entire first post in thread.
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