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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 05-17-2011, 08:10 AM   #21
Ken MacKenzie
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Default Re: How did you learn.....

Started out with Logan's in 1953. Three lessons and then into the band. Lots of high quality piping there.

Later spent time in three different Canadian Highland Regiments where there was a lot of piece-meal advice but no real teaching. Best time was two summers with P/M Duncan Rankin as an Army Cadet, 1961-62 at Camp Aldershot in Nova Scotia. Logan's again.

Then, starting in 1999, four years with Jack Lee to correct a lifetime's worth of bad habits. No books with Jack. Just concentrated effort and lots of scribbled marginal notes on sheet music from who knows where.
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Old 05-17-2011, 08:52 AM   #22
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Default Re: How did you learn.....

Sandy Jones tutor for the first while It introduces the embellishments in sequence, and has tunes that feature them in turn.

Then Logan's when I started piobaireachd. I used my Dad's copy of Logan's, which I think is the 1959 edition. The relevant pages haven't changed. There are a few nice tunes in Logans.
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Old 05-17-2011, 10:18 AM   #23
Joe Baker
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Default Re: How did you learn.....

Started with the Sandy Jones tutor. We have been using the Logan's tutor though, for about 15 years now. And, might I add, with good results!! (Good results, that is, when the students practice as they should!)
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Old 05-17-2011, 10:22 AM   #24
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Default Re: How did you learn.....

A hodge-podge of exercise sheets from different books, which my tutor gave me. And a copy of the old Seaforth's with her editing on tunes being learned. Early 1970s there wasn't much more than the Logan's Tutor and the Green Book for most of us. Eventually for more music, some of the Ross books came into use for lessons, also marked up. Later a Scots Guards, ditto on the teacher markings.

Watching my tutor play, and repeating, over and over, was how I actually learned. I had long lessons, which helped. I made notes after the lessons, afraid I would forget what I learned. Although my teachers was very musically literate, and played other instruments, it was our practice chanters at her kitchen table going back and forth that did the trick, not the printed matter. She had an old Henderson practice chanter with ivory, and a cane reed, which helped me as it sounded wonderful.

Last edited by David; 05-17-2011 at 10:27 AM.
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Old 05-17-2011, 12:10 PM   #25
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Default Re: How did you learn.....

Since I made the negative comment...
I think the issue with Logans is more a matter of the books intent. To me it's more memory aid than instructional book - without a pretty high level of instruction it's not a lot of use. It's a nice wee book, time hasn't made it useless I think it's just been overtaken somewhat by newer publications.

The green book plus the DVD - and the DVD is what's key IMHO - make it viable, when coupled with sufficient discipline, to learn with a much lower level of instruction. I think this makes it a more attractive propostion to many who, for whatever reason, can't manage regular lessons.

In short Logan's can't tell you what a throw on d should actually sound like.
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Old 05-17-2011, 12:44 PM   #26
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Default Re: How did you learn.....

Greetings to All,

Still after it.... but.....

Initially, from an instructor, by eye and hand and ear,
but also, one who mandated Ye Ol' College of Piping
Tutor Book.... The Green Book.

There wasn't a I, or a II, or a III available to us back then.
There was only.... The Green Book.

And, donkey's years later (mid-80s ?), I was seated with my
practice chanter, trying out my fingers a bit before we began
our band's weekly practice, and the PM (a really nice person,
early-30s) wanders along and asks what was I doing.

I said I was just re-re-going over my Double D before practice.

And the PM said; "That's not a Double D." And I said it was.

And the PM said it wasn't; that it was a "heavy throw" on D.

So I went in my case and pulled out my old, bedraggled Green
Book, from the early 50s, and there on the page... were the three
ways listed to play Double D. (Mine being the first manner given.)

The PM was most surprised.

Times and styles and nomenclatures all change. (Remember 440?)

And... it was, and shall be... ever thus.

Regards to All,

My friends all know,
With what a brave carouse...

Last edited by Pip01; 05-17-2011 at 01:02 PM.
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Old 05-17-2011, 01:00 PM   #27
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Default Re: How did you learn.....

I started trying to learn on my own, with the COP green book, off and on for 6 or 8 months. I was 29 at the time.

Then went to a week long school put on by the National Piping Centre. When I got home from the school, I finally got hooked up with the band here and started taking lessons with them. Switched to the Piping Centre tutor book at that point as that is what the band uses. Also, about that same time I started taking Skype lessons.

Now, 4 years later, I'm still taking lessons via Skype and with the band. Also, have done a couple more seasonal schools.

After 4 years, I thought I would be a little further along than I am, but my instructor and the instructors at the seasonal schools tell me that I am making good progress, so I'm doing alright I guess.
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Old 05-17-2011, 01:44 PM   #28
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Default Re: How did you learn.....

I brought a Dunbar practice chanter and an old Logan's tutor I'd gotten from a friend of my dad's and started lessons from another of his friends. The tutor was quickly put away in favour of an empty piece of ms paper she took out of a book. I still have that paper and the paper she wrote on how to behave for the judge when I started to compete. After the first lesson I got a package of exercises containing all the basic embellishments. A few months later we started on Barren Rocks of Aden from the Logan's tutor. I thought Captain MacLellan must've been one of the greatest pipers ever. Not much has changed on that subject. Only now I look up to Willie McCallum and Robert Reid a shade more.
I've been very fortunate over the years to have had great teachers. My favourite will always be P/M Alec Cupples. He was pipe major of the first battalion in the late forties and had piobaireachd tuition from Bob Brown. Brown said he would've had the gold medal if his tenors hadn't shut off during his performance. It was worth every two hour car ride back and forth. He never took a cent from me. He said passing what he knew was more than enough. He was very hard on me and rarely had a kind word. I never took it personally. He just said that will do. Most of the old pipers I know are like that. I suppose it's just their way. We learned a setting of Mary MacLeod I'd never heard before. I still like it more than the standard setting though I've never seen it in any published setting.
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Old 05-17-2011, 08:53 PM   #29
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Default Re: How did you learn.....

I'm not an old school piper, but reasonably old school with everything else.

Still learning, big time, but my first "tutor" was the one that came with my rosewood practice chanter, a little blue pamphlet that went through the scales and had Amazing Grace in it. When I realized I needed real instruction, I got the Green Book and upgraded the chanter. I have a host of other tutors -- Sandy Jones and Logan's and Piper's Helper and Rhythmic Fingerwork (not really a tutor), plus the CoP Blue Book and Yellow Book. I find it valuable to go through the exercises on the pipes now vs. on the PC.
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Currently learning: New band stuff. Recently Bagged: Old band stuff.
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Old 05-17-2011, 08:54 PM   #30
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Default Re: How did you learn.....


I learned from my instructors green book from the 50s as well. I clearly remember a "throw on d" being called a "double d" in that book. For years I called it a double d and still catch myself doing so once in a while

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