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Teacher's Lounge Pedagogy - the art or profession of teaching

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Old 03-25-2012, 11:15 AM   #1
Adam McBride
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Default Child learner

My grandson, 9, is working on his PC under my instruction. He is about average size, maybe a bit taller, than kids his age and he will not be 10 until September. I think he's doing pretty well, and he is very enthusiastic about playing the big pipes (unlike his father my son who had little interest.)

What has been the teachers' experience in introducing youngsters to the GHB? Do you use a smaller size of pipes for them? Or is it the same for everyone...a chanter and all drones plugged until they are ready to move up to one drone, etc, with all the difficulty and frustration that entails.

I don't think he will be ready for pipes until the summer or as he gets to 10 years of age in Sept. no rush, just thinking about how to proceed. Would you suggest a poly set as being lighter than ABW?

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Old 03-26-2012, 12:21 AM   #2
Neil Clark
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Default Re: Child learner

Adam, firstly, a lot of poly sets AREN'T lighter then ABW, that stuff is heavy.
Personally, I'd just go with the bigger set. I was 10 when I eventually started on pipes, and I've never started any age of beginner on a smaller set. I have seen some pretty short blowsticks, but thats about the only concession.
Hope this is of use.
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Old 03-26-2012, 07:28 AM   #3
Holy smoking keyboard!
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Default Re: Child learner

I have seen some tiny lads in British Columbia compeating with full-sized pipes, and making a full-volume sound.

Full-silver might be a bit of a burden, if you were thinking of a generous gift. I don't like that weight on my shoulders and I'm a solid 180 cm.

My teacher's rule of thumb: if he is handling a normal size PC, then he can handle a set of full pipes. Finger spread is the only real issue. He'd probably be idea for a Ross extra-small bag, or something similar.

Sounds like a perfect age to learn!
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Old 03-28-2012, 01:15 AM   #4
Adam Sanderson
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Default Re: Child learner

I'd say that a full set with a short blowstick and a small bag is the way to go. I have a few child pupils and the biggest obstacle they face is reaching up to pop the bass drone on and off. A young boy can handle the weight of a set of Naills well, and Naills are pretty hefty.
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Old 03-28-2012, 05:41 AM   #5
John MacDonald
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Default Re: Child learner

I personally believe that the Jump from PC to full size is perhaps a little much. In teaching both of my own children I moved them onto a 3/4 size set first and got them to blow one drone , then a second and third. When they were large enough -about 14 in both cases I moved them onto the full size pipes.

I don't believe there is a one size fits all for this particular situation, because there is only a limited usefulness for a 3/4 size set and as I happen to have had a 3/4 set already as a family heirloom i decided to utilise them.

clearly it is a compromise of strength ability size cost and also mixing in the possible feeling of achievment (or failure) that the child derives from getting to grips with a big instrument
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Old 03-30-2012, 01:51 PM   #6
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Default Re: Child learner

I would echo Adam's comments. A short blowpipe and a small bag will do the trick.
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Old 03-30-2012, 05:19 PM   #7
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Default Re: Child learner

My 9 yr old has been on the chanter for just under a year,and has just started on full size pipes with a bit of tube round the blowstick and no mouth piece,All drones corked, just the chanter,9 he kept it going for 2 min yesterday,A very happy wee boy.
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Old 04-16-2012, 03:37 PM   #8
the fishiologist
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Default Re: Child learner

Kid in the middle is about 9 or 10, I think. Full set.

"if you let go of it, maybe it will stop screaming"
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Old 04-30-2012, 05:00 PM   #9
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Default Re: Child learner

I have started young children on both full size and 3/4 pipes with comparable success. I haven't figured out why, but 3/4 pipes are easier to play than full pipes. Same reeds, same chanter - but easier to play. But they key factors really are having a small bag, a shorter blowpipe, and setting the pipes up with very easy reeds at first.

I had a young girl as a student once. We had a fledgling group of mostly beginners playing at an event, and she was with us for her second performance with band, shortly after turning 8. She was adorable looking, and we had someone come up from behind her and put his ear next to her chanter. He stood up and turned to his companion with a look of surprise on his face and mouthed something like "She's really playing!" She did have a very, very easy reed, but she was on the full pipes, and she was playing just fine.
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