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Old 11-14-2020, 12:46 AM   #11
Paul M Burke
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Default Re: Left handed student

I've played left handed for more than 30 years and it has never been a problem. Right hand on top, bag under right arm.

The keep it symmetrical and massed band arguments have nothing to do with music and really are not a problem to the player.

There should be no cost difference, sticks and stocks are the same and most bags are available left handed or if going hide you just cut it left handed.

Paul.
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Old 11-14-2020, 02:40 PM   #12
EquusRacer
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Default Re: Left handed student

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Originally Posted by Paul M Burke View Post
I've played left handed for more than 30 years and it has never been a problem. Right hand on top, bag under right arm.

The keep it symmetrical and massed band arguments have nothing to do with music and really are not a problem to the player.

There should be no cost difference, sticks and stocks are the same and most bags are available left handed or if going hide you just cut it left handed.

Paul.
I don't think anyone is suggesting that music is compromised with left-handed playing. As I said, the band member we had who was forced to switch hands (although he did not switch bag side) was a brilliant piper. And if the student in question is a soloist, go for it.

Whether others agree or not, in a band setting, I, as P/M, would be irritated with a left-handed player in the ranks; in part for the lack of uniformity (which applies to more than just clothing) and for function (e.g., a routine where the pipers will pass each other on a right shoulder cross).

Would I keep such a piper out? No; not if he or she met the musical skill requirements. It would just be irritating in the ranks. Yes, I agree that's my issue to solve and to get over.
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Old 11-16-2020, 01:30 AM   #13
Mac an t-Sealgair
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Default Re: Left handed student

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Originally Posted by EquusRacer View Post
Yes, I agree that's my issue to solve and to get over.
At least you recognise that.

Absolutely nothing stopping a left handed player from being a good player, either solo or *band*.

Makes no odds in a band, I'd rather sound good than look good any day. If you just want the pipes so you can get dressed up and mince about are you really a piper? Surely music first?!

Last edited by Mac an t-Sealgair; 11-16-2020 at 01:33 AM.
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Old 11-16-2020, 10:32 AM   #14
EquusRacer
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Default Re: Left handed student

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Originally Posted by Mac an t-Sealgair View Post
At least you recognise that.

Absolutely nothing stopping a left handed player from being a good player, either solo or *band*.

Makes no odds in a band, I'd rather sound good than look good any day. If you just want the pipes so you can get dressed up and mince about are you really a piper? Surely music first?!
I agree with "music first", and I thought that I was clear that right or left-handed playing has nothing to do with a piper's quality. And I assure you that I and our band has standards. We also compete, primarily to keep our standards up through objective assessment. Nobody who wants to "get dressed up and mince about" is going to be a member of our band. I, too, cringe at those bands we all see who are "appearance first", spending all their time over debating and obtaining uniform parts, rather than practicing their playing, sound, and music.
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Old 11-16-2020, 12:08 PM   #15
Mac an t-Sealgair
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Default Re: Left handed student

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Originally Posted by EquusRacer View Post
I agree with "music first", and I thought that I was clear that right or left-handed playing has nothing to do with a piper's quality. And I assure you that I and our band has standards. We also compete, primarily to keep our standards up through objective assessment. Nobody who wants to "get dressed up and mince about" is going to be a member of our band. I, too, cringe at those bands we all see who are "appearance first", spending all their time over debating and obtaining uniform parts, rather than practicing their playing, sound, and music.
No, I understood. I suppose I felt that it was OK for solo but not for band, and that dress was as important as music.

Interestingly I get the whole counter march thing, but tbh I think it's as much of a problem (clanging drones) with either RH or LH. It just depends on the amount of space you've got to work with.
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Old 11-17-2020, 08:36 AM   #16
jackhawkpiper97
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Default Re: Left handed student

In Northern Ireland, there is a small but noticeable number of really good players that play right-hand-on-top but bag under left arm.

It looks funny, and it's not the most ergonomic thing in the world, but they make it work. You do have to adjust blowpipe length and such for the ergonomics to be feasible, but it can work.

However, if it were me, I would just stick with top hand coinciding with bag arm. You'll have to communicate with vendors more, to be sure that you get a reverse-hole-cut bag, but other than that there's nothing all that annoying about it.

Massed bands suck no matter what, and your student will be more recognizable. So, maybe that can be harnessed into a positive.
Jack
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Old 11-17-2020, 12:33 PM   #17
CalumII
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Default Re: Left handed student

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Originally Posted by jackhawkpiper97 View Post
but they make it work.

The trouble with these things is you see the ones that work; you don't see the ones that had to give up the instrument because a crooked wrist led to chronic pain while playing.
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Old 12-16-2020, 12:55 PM   #18
Scot Kortegaard
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Default Re: Left handed student

A couple of thoughts occur to me ... spurred by previous comments.
***
When teaching a left handed person, from the very beginning ... as teachers, are we doing them a service, or a disservice, by allowing them to play right hand on top? I think an argument can be made for both. Individuality, and nature vs nurture definitely play a role. However, uniformity (for the players benefit - no one else) also plays a role. I *think* if it were me, I would do my very best to have the left handed person learn right handed. Failing that, if there were no other option, I would allow the left handed play. Apparently though, that ship has already sailed and it's now time to pick up the pipes.
***
If the right hand has to be on top, or is on top and that can't be changed, I would lobby for the bag to be under the right arm - mirror image. Think of the angle of your arms when you play (if you're right handed). Your left arm (top hand) runs roughly parallel to the ground. Your right arm points more so toward the ground. The left arm plays a part in supporting the bag. Also, it's close to the chanter stock, so minute pressure adjustments are easier to make on the fly, for the top hand notes, which need those adjustments more often than bottom hand notes. I just think ergonomically speaking that the top hand should be attached to the arm that helps support the bag - better control.
***
It's a life long passion we're passing on. People will do this thing we call piping (hopefully) until the day they die. It's very important that we give people the tools to do this thing in the easiest and most economical fashion. Short term pain for the learner will pay large dividends for that same player down the road, and for the rest of their life. Sure, almost every obstacle can be overcome, and yes we need to encourage diversity and creativity. That though has to be balanced with solid and proven methods, so we can make the learners road an easier one. Sometimes in the long run, the easiest thing to do is ... do it the way it should be done! I sound like such a stodgy old tyrant, but sometimes that's the best!
Cheers,
Scot.
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