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Competing Pipers Questions, issues, or discussions specifically related to Piping and Pipers competition.

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Old 01-28-2017, 06:05 PM   #1
Imbusypiping
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Default Tips for maintaining concentration

Need some help here. The more familiar I become with a tune, the more my mind wanders to other topics.

This is not good for solos or for band performances.

Does anyone have tips or tricks that have helped you to stay focused? I have tried humming the tune in my head but still my mind wanders.

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks,
Val
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Old 01-28-2017, 07:30 PM   #2
Andrew Lenz
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Default Re: Tips for maintaining concentration

Hmmmm. I have this happen in piobaireachd sometimes, but they tend to have similar or duplicate phrases that make you lose your place.

This may sound weird but you may want to practice focusing. In this day and age of instant this and that, 24/7 smart phone . . . there is just constant input. If you compare the movie Rocky (1970s) versus today's movies, you'll be astonished just how short the shots are now versus then. The scene editing is much "snappier" now. The problem is we are used to things grabbing our attention and working to keep our attention.

What can you do? Put away the gadgets. Meditate like a zen master. If you are a religious person, pray. Go on walks. Read a book. Listen to music with no words. Supposedly, getting exercise helps too.

And the big one, practice focusing while you practice your pipes. Be aware if you starting letting your mind wander and steer back on course. If you do it during practice, you'll do it during performance/competition.

I know you tried humming the tune in your head, but you might try "singing" the tune through your pipes. Not literally, figuratively. Let the pipes be your voice—if you can get there, it's amazing, you're one with the instrument. It's hard to describe, but it's almost a spiritual experience. Let the music envelope you. Don't let it become bland and routine. Appreciate the moment.

Andrew
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Old 01-29-2017, 02:36 AM   #3
Roger Huth
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Default Re: Tips for maintaining concentration

Give yourself a good slap in the face

This often works for me
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Old 01-29-2017, 04:46 AM   #4
CalumII
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Default Re: Tips for maintaining concentration

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Originally Posted by Roger Huth View Post
Give yourself a good slap in the face
Can't begin to speculate what Roddy's reply to this one will be
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Old 01-29-2017, 12:48 PM   #5
Roddy Livingstone
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Default Re: Tips for maintaining concentration

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Originally Posted by CalumII View Post
Can't begin to speculate what Roddy's reply to this one will be
In common with many ex-army Pipe Majors, Roger is an expert in the art of 'delegation'. This has not (yet) meant that he asks me to give him a good slap in the face - although there are times........!
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Old 01-29-2017, 04:41 PM   #6
Klondike Waldo
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Default Re: Tips for maintaining concentration

I remember reading, a few years ago, that Alasdair Gillies' dad used to toss pebbles at him when he practiced. He had to develop a hard shell ( of concentration) to play through that.
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Old 01-29-2017, 11:27 PM   #7
Roddy Livingstone
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Default Re: Tips for maintaining concentration

On a serious note, 'rehearsing' in front of your Piping peers and asking them for feedback helps concentrate the mind (not practicing- that's what you do on your own). Playing to a 'lay' audience is one thing, but knowing that pipers are listening always sharpens me up a bit.
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Old 01-30-2017, 09:42 AM   #8
bob864
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Default Re: Tips for maintaining concentration

My ability to focus has improved with practice. It's really very similar to meditation. The suggestions there always boil down to "if you notice yourself thinking, then redirect your attention."
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Old 01-30-2017, 09:53 AM   #9
EquusRacer
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Default Re: Tips for maintaining concentration

I agree with the value of practice and rehearsing, as mentioned above. I think that we sometimes lose concentration if that "inner voice" is talking, and especially if it's saying "you really don't have this tune down, do you."
On the other hand, the tune can be so ingrained with confidence that one can play it and ask, "Did I leave the stove on?" Then again, as some point out, we may have become almost bored with a tune and lose our attention to execution, or even our place.
There are a couple things that have helped me, at times. Sometimes, I think of the tune and of an image, especially one that elicits an emotion that I can bring to the tune.
Other times, knowing that I have the tune down, I concentrate only on making as clean as I can the embellishments, or pointing, or other technical things that shift my focus (and keep it, I hope).
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Old 01-30-2017, 11:14 AM   #10
Bluescottygirl
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Default Re: Tips for maintaining concentration

Quote:
Originally Posted by CalumII View Post
Can't begin to speculate what Roddy's reply to this one will be
Quote:
Originally Posted by Roddy Livingstone View Post
On a serious note, 'rehearsing' in front of your Piping peers and asking them for feedback helps concentrate the mind (not practicing- that's what you do on your own). Playing to a 'lay' audience is one thing, but knowing that pipers are listening always sharpens me up a bit.
The same effect can be gained when you have ONE run at a "rehearsal" that you are recording for your instructor.

Throwing pebbles? I can almost see you bringing that into your training regime, Roddy
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