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Beer Tent The general discussion forum, and the place to start a new "beer-tent-like" Piping Related discussion...

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Old 11-17-2020, 08:59 PM   #1
Patrick McLaurin
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Default Highland goose to start?

Reckon the rate of attrition would be lower if we started beginners not on practice chanters but on the goose with a highland chanter? Make them feel like they’re actually going to play the pipes some day.
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Old 11-17-2020, 09:47 PM   #2
BaggyMcPipes
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Default Re: Highland goose to start?

I think it's a compelling notion. For what it's worth, in my tiny sampling:

I'm not sure how many total students I've ever had, but four of them have got onto either a goose or smallpipes after starting on practice chanter and before getting onto GHBs.

Of those four, all of them have purchased highland pipes and got at least to where they were squeaking-out Amazing Grace on them.

Of those four, three stuck with pipes at least one year.

Of those three, two stuck with it more than 1.5 years and are, today, still playing will competition bands.


Too small a sample size for imperical data, but there may be something to using a goose. Though it could be correlation more than causation...

i.e. more interested/committed from the beginning = more likely to spend additional money on a goose/smallpipes

or even:

more money invested, (say $150 on a goose vs. $40 on a PC,) = more skin in the game and therefore more likely to persevere.


Whether there's a thread or not, and whatever that thread may be, I do like using a goose for students and plan to use one when teaching my own offspring...

Last edited by BaggyMcPipes; 11-17-2020 at 09:50 PM. Reason: Autocorrect correction
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Old 11-18-2020, 02:00 AM   #3
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Default Re: Highland goose to start?



And... if nought else... such gets them onto the
learning of... and being easy with... the bag. :)



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Old 11-18-2020, 01:53 PM   #4
Matt Willis Bagpiper
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Default Re: Highland goose to start?

My problem with a goose (and I speak of practice chanter-based "geese") is the lack of a drone. The few students who did start on pc-based "gooses" instead of a practice chanters ran into some pretty bad steadiness issues once a drone was added, as they were blowing to the note and not to a given pressure, and without a drone, there's no audio queue to let you know how much one may be altering their blowing to bring a note into tune/timbre.

All were able to over come this issue, but the process was just as slow if not slower than someone who starts on a practice chanter and moves to mouth-blown practice pipes. I imagine this would be made worse with a highland chanter-based goose with the pressure/strength required for the highland pipes and the beginners tendency to under blow the bottom hand and overblow the top hand...

(I prefer for my students' sake they get a mouth blown practice/smallpipe before moving up to the highlands, so they can learn proper bag control and everything before having to add the strength/force required for the highlands. I still think a practice chanter is the best tool to start on...)
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Last edited by Matt Willis Bagpiper; 11-18-2020 at 02:02 PM. Reason: Read the initial post wrong, so amending my statement.
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Old 11-18-2020, 05:05 PM   #5
Patrick McLaurin
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Default Re: Highland goose to start?

Hi Matt, I don’t understand your argument. The PC has no drone either.
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Old 11-18-2020, 06:05 PM   #6
Matt Willis Bagpiper
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Default Re: Highland goose to start?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Patrick McLaurin View Post
Hi Matt, I don’t understand your argument. The PC has no drone either.
True, but they are maintaining the air pressure through force of breath alone, not using their arm and building blowing/squeezing coordination and possibly picking up some bad habits along the way (without a drone).

My preferred method is to get folks playing 5-6 tunes on the PC (accurately and at at least 80% of full speed with a metronome), then move to a mouth-blown smallpipe and divide their time between blowing exercises focusing on maintaining steady pressure through and of course playing their tunes (and continuing to build repertoire).

When they can play 10-12 tunes on the mouth-blown smallpipes, then it's time to move to the highland pipes. This way all they have to do is "add the strength" (and learn to strike in) but they already have the nuance of proper steady blowing and squeezing, which is tougher to learn on the highland pipes as in someways they are more forgiving about pressure variance.

Of course, folks' mileage may vary...
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Old 11-18-2020, 07:30 PM   #7
salmunmousavi
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Default Re: Highland goose to start?

I was actually talking about this with a guy I'm helping get started. He's a bit impatient and also has breathing issues, and as such is quickly discouraged by his lack of stamina on the PC.

I would imagine that getting started on a goose would be a bit daunting for someone so inexperienced as to not even be comfortable playing the scale or basic grace notes properly; wavering pressure between blowing/squeezing could be just as discouraging as running out of breath on the PC. Though I suppose some folks would find it cool to learn the green book tunes and already have a sense of the "uninterrupted sound" the pipes have to offer.

There's no blanket solution. Everybody is different and people learn better one way than another. It's down to the more experienced folks to guide newcomers in the right direction using experience and tailored advice. Like Matt said, YMMV. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
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Old 11-18-2020, 07:51 PM   #8
RichPiotrowski
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Default Re: Highland goose to start?

Hi,

Interesting thought Patrick.

As a novice who took up the bagpipe in my 40's, I love the sound of the bagpipe. The practice chanter sounds nothing like the bagpipe.

Being able to play a tune straight through without having to stop to breathe would be a benefit as well.

Down side would be that buying a chanter/goose combo would be more expensive than buying a practice chanter.

Although if you decide to get a full set of pipes, you just need to add drones and drone reeds.
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Old 11-18-2020, 08:12 PM   #9
super8mm
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Default Re: Highland goose to start?

I am a late starter on piping, I started at 65 taking lessons then had to lay off for a couple of years and started lessons again about 18 months ago.

I found using a PC a bit hard having to stop and take a breath and get back into rhythm. Now I use a Blair digital chanter to get close with the tune and then I use my folk pipes to practice with. The folk pipes have 2 tenors and a base like the GHP and similar shape but take a lot less air and I do enjoy them a lot now.

So it greatly depends on a persons budget.
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Old 11-19-2020, 06:22 AM   #10
Matt Buckley
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Default Re: Highland goose to start?

Of course, another option is to, after starting on the PC, simply cork the drones, work only on the chanter, then with one drone uncorked, then with two drones uncorked, then with all three. Isn't GHB with drones corked essentially a goose? Worked for me. But, in fairness, I had already played bellows pipes before I ever got anywhere near a PC or GHB.
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