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Old 01-17-2021, 05:26 AM   #31
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Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: Haifa, ISRAEL
Posts: 4,406
Default Re: What reaction do you get when playing in public?

Originally Posted by Joseph Diodato View Post
I've actually only had positive experiences. Mostly in the form of folks asking how I got into playing the pipes, and one guy that wanted to take a picture with me and my instrument. At least the folks who aren't inclined to appreciate piping have plenty of warning to stay away. Part of it is that the public unfortunately has such a terribly low expectation of what a piper should sound like (c.f. Ross on Friends). Even a disciplined beginner will sound quite good by comparison to the untrained ear.

It is absolutely the truth that public comments, though friendly and well-intentioned, say little or nothing about the musicality of the piper. Obviously, in different circumstances, there will be exceptions. I have found that around serious classical, jazz, folk music enthusiasts there is definitely much more awareness of tone, tuning, and maybe--maybe--even fingering technique.

But mostly, general public compliments MUST BE IGNORED as musical critique. Acknowledge the courteousness, and appreciate the friendliness, but do not imagine, "Gee, I must be playing ok!"

My best reaction was playing around south Pacific Polynesian kids. I let a 3rd or 4th grader climb on to a chair, and tune my drones. After a brief instruction in the drone slide, he went right at it, and did a great job tuning. He grew up with family and community singing, and fantastic bold harmony.

My worst was a cheerful drunk who declared a band I was with in college in America, as the best he had ever heard. Which, I assure, was not the case.

A serious musician requires serious critique. Not feel-good praise. That said, the obvious answer is a good teacher, and even better practice habits. Not to mention a deep awareness of the sound and style of top bands and soloists.

Shoot for the moon, even if you get stuck in the Van Allen Belt. Then, a piper can have the confidence not to worry too much about public reaction.
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