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Old 05-01-2012, 05:28 PM   #11
John Bolt
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Default Re: Teaching Methods/Tools for "Late Starters"

Quote:
Originally Posted by LloydB View Post
It was a bit discouraging when the very first image I saw,
required that I decide whether an 'F' was a High G', Low G,
High A', or Low A.

Odd, that, but possibly instructive ;-)

The idea is a good one
Pssssst that's an E
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Old 05-01-2012, 06:52 PM   #12
wysper
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Default Re: Teaching Methods/Tools for "Late Starters"

Quote:
Originally Posted by LloydB View Post
It was a bit discouraging when the very first image I saw,
required that I decide whether an 'F' was a High G', Low G,
High A', or Low A.

Odd, that, but possibly instructive ;-)

The idea is a good one
I think they were explaining that HIGH G is a capital G and low g is a lower case g, rather than what is this note out of the following four choices.
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Old 05-02-2012, 06:00 AM   #13
Sunwolfe
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Default Re: Teaching Methods/Tools for "Late Starters"

As a school teacher, I am bombarded with emails and ads concerning this new method or that new means. Too many times, these new and exciting methods turn out to be older ideas simply re-packaged and are not-so-exciting at all

Some tools I have found to be useful in my piping quest...enough to suggest, anyway...are as follows:

First, on the flash card front, I would suggest "Is It Supposed To Sound Like That? A Music Theory Workbook for Highland Bagpipers." The book is available at: http://www.jollypiperman.com/home.html and can be purchased with accompanying (and mobile ) deck of 100+ flash cards (including piobaireachd movements for later on) which are comprehensive and don't require a computer. I found the book very informative and complimentary to my own learning. I love their tagline: "If you're not having fun, you're not doing it right!"

Second, I'd like to suggest a software application recommended to me by my teacher that I have found wonderfully helpful in learning tunes and untangling difficult spots called "Transcribe!" by Seventh String Software. The program allows you to take a music file and slow it down to a more manageable speed without changing pitch. It also allows you to change the pitch of the file if you so desire so as to better match your practice chanter. Originally designed for transcribing music so as to better understand obscure cords in a musical score, it has been an amazing help to me as I bring various tunes up to tempo. http://www.seventhstring.com/xscribe/overview.html

Last, and most obviously but well worth repeating, play your pipes every day...discouraged or undiscouraged, rain or shine, 15 minutes or an hour and 15..., choose a systematic method (even a simple list) and do your exercises ON your bagpipes. Drones, no drones, whatever, but get your hands used to playing that big chanter. This may seem a no-brainer, but I have found it alarmingly easy to seduce myself into thinking that practice chanter practice is as good as playing pipes. For me, an older learner, this is wrong. The learning curve is steep for me in transferring from PC to GHB. It is amazing how exercises I can crack off on my PC sound bad on the GHB. Thus, the more time I put in to playing the instrument, the easier it is to play the instrument.

Cheers,
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Old 05-02-2012, 09:24 AM   #14
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Default Re: Teaching Methods/Tools for "Late Starters"

Wow...this thread is coming alive with lots of good advice, resources and tools. I would like to share a personal "revelation" from one beginner to another....

My teacher started me in the very beginning with the Rhythmic Fingerworks (RF) book, and, as instructed, I religiously practiced from it, before I allowed myself to play any tunes. As I travel a lot in my job (approximately 50% of my time is on the road or in flight), I always take my PC, RF, and tunes I am working on with me. I left my RF book in an hotel a few months back, and did not immediately replace it. I just played tunes -- no finger work exercises. I began to have some finger work difficulties in playing some of the more challenging tunes, and I thought I had better purchase a new RF book and get back to the exercises. Well, the first time I opened that book back up, I was surprised at how the exercises I had previously played pretty well (clean and with appropriate timing), were really rusty and not so crisp and clean anymore. Revelation! I realized that for me to reach my goals to play well, playing exercises at every practice is a requirement, not an option! Exercises first, then tunes!!!

I also found it helpful to upload the CD which accompanies the RF book to my computer in iTunes to listen to and to play along with.

For me, the exercises really contribute to building the muscle memory, the finger-brain connection. Example: I was playing one particular exercise quite well, and decided it was time to speed it up. In trying to speed it up, the fingers and brain just were not connecting -- a muddy mess! I kept breaking it down in to small parts, increasing the speed for each part. Even so, by the end of practicing that exercise, I thought I had lost it completely! I could not even go back and play it slowly!!! Frustrated, I decided to move on and do something else. I listened to the exercise a few times, and then moved on to some tunes. The very next practice, it was like magic! The exercise clicked and I was now playing at the next level -- not perfect by any means, but the fingers were connecting with the brain and accepting the speed. I truly believe in playing the exercises.
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Old 05-03-2012, 04:36 AM   #15
Sunwolfe
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Default Re: Teaching Methods/Tools for "Late Starters"

Ah, yes. Good call. With Rythmic Fingerwork and Piobaireachd Fingerwork in your quiver, you have a very potent pair of arrows in your arsenal of tools .
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Old 05-09-2012, 03:40 PM   #16
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Default Re: Teaching Methods/Tools for "Late Starters"

Quote:
Originally Posted by John Bolt View Post
Pssssst that's an E

Mebby... 2nd time I looked, it was a D... with the same choices

Prolly the cards get changed from time to time?
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Old 05-10-2012, 10:23 AM   #17
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Default Re: Teaching Methods/Tools for "Late Starters"

Quote:
Originally Posted by Neil Clark View Post
Hope I'm not shooting myself in the foot here, but they do most of the work. We only try to point them the right way.
Well, really, that should be obvious - I don't think you're shooting yourself in the foot at all. And lots of advanced musicians (of various disciplines, not just pipes) continue to take lessons for most or all of their careers; often another pair of ears can help enormously in pointing you in the right direction.

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Old 05-11-2012, 09:00 AM   #18
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Default Re: Teaching Methods/Tools for "Late Starters"

I am a “mature” beginner. Starting at the age of 57. I found using the combination of Bagpipe Music Writer and Techopipe to be very helpful. The software allows you to change the speed of the tune and to change the speed of execution of embellishments. It allows you to isolate parts of tunes and play them over and over. I use the 2 items concurrently though headphones to play along and am able to work on tunes while other family members are sleeping (I was also a late starter at having a family, but that’s another story)
The good part about being late starter is that I knew what I wanted to do and I had the resources to purchase the software and the electric pipe as well as all the other stuff one needs (including lessons).
-A
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Old 05-11-2012, 12:15 PM   #19
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Default Re: Teaching Methods/Tools for "Late Starters"

Good practice and good instruction. I came in already reading music and having already learned (to varying degrees) 3 other instruments. I think the most valuable lesson that I had already learned is that any instrument worth playing well takes an enormous amount of time to master. The only short cut is spending hours and hours, and having excellent, regular instruction.

You get back out what you put in, but having a good plan of attack does make it all more efficient. I have found that have a printed schedule of what I want to practice each day is really helpful. It's so easy to get side tracked and to really focus on the things we already do well and less so on those bits of technique that are weak. Have a schedule keeps you honest I think.

And to echo sunWolfe... daily practice. I practice/play 6 days a week. Both on pipes and PC (pipes for sure and I supplement with PC). I think the PC is great for working on expression, learning new tunes, and really focusing on difficult passages. Once I feel like these things are pretty well in hand (so to speak), I transfer then to the pipes. I know that other folks do this differently, but I really like to have a tune pretty well down on the PC before I start playing on the pipes. I just find that I'm able to xfer the tune much more effectively that way.
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Old 05-12-2012, 06:55 AM   #20
MelodyPipes
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Default Re: Teaching Methods/Tools for "Late Starters"

Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy Snow View Post
The good part about being late starter is that I knew what I wanted to do and I had the resources to purchase the software and the electric pipe as well as all the other stuff one needs (including lessons).
-A
You are right about that, Andy -- knowing what you want (mostly), and having more resources to purchase additional tools and take lessons. I just purchased technopipes so I can practice in silence, too. I fly a lot in my job, and that's a lot of extra practice time. The only thing about using technopipes on the plane is that you can only use the chanter function and not the drones function -- something in the plane interferes with the sound of the drones.

I started this adventure because I wanted to learn to play the pipes for my own pleasure. I find that part of that pleasure is stretching myself, so I decided to participate in the Progressive Certification Program. There are 6 levels of certification: Grades 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, Graduate: http://euspba.org/education_pcp.aspx I'm shooting for the Grade 4 exam next month...

Melody
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