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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 07-15-2019, 09:53 AM   #1
Tom MacKenzie
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Default Hugh MacCallum on Practicing

In a recent Pipes!Drums article Hugh MacCallum is quoted as saying

"I tried to play the pipes every day, but I wasn’t one of those people who played for hours on the practice chanter. I felt that spending time playing on the pipes was more productive. For me I preferred to play on the pipes every day for say 30 minutes, ..."

I was happy to read this as I have come to the same conclusion. I do my technical exercises and tunes on the pipes for 60 to 75 minutes each day. The bagpipe is a completely different instrument and requires it's own considered approach. Breathing, pitch, expression, tuning, listening are all improved by practicing daily on the pipes. I believe that the bagpipes appreciate the heat and moisture that comes from frequently playing them, and that they change and improve because of it. Stamina, and muscle tone come from daily playing of the bagpipes. I know I am certainly knackered whenever I have to get on them again after a holiday necessitates the use of only the PC.

I use the practice chanter to get the fingering, phrasing and scansion sorted, and to get the tune off the paper and to the point where I can play it on the pipes. I play along with master pipers during this phase as well using a mic, a tablet, headphones, and a two channel mixer. Once on the pipes, it stays there, and I work with it until it becomes correct and a part of me.

I would add that recording myself has also been essential to improvement, and Jack Lee has said as much, as it is educational to hear how startling horrible your best performance can sound. The mistakes are crystal clear and immediately apparent.

What do the others think of Hugh's comment?

tomm
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Last edited by Tom MacKenzie; 07-15-2019 at 10:12 AM.
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Old 07-15-2019, 11:58 AM   #2
Dan Bell
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Default Re: Hugh MacCallum on Practicing

Right on. I know plenty of people who are open-level practice chanter players, but have significant issues on bagpipes, either with sound or technique. They're two different instruments. The practice chanter is ideal for learning new tunes and for the sort of slow and open practice that's often necessary to clean up rough spots. REHEARSAL for competition or performance needs to be done on the bagpipe.
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Old 07-15-2019, 12:01 PM   #3
bob864
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Default Re: Hugh MacCallum on Practicing

I always do as much of my practice on bagpipes as possible.
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Old 07-15-2019, 12:49 PM   #4
3D Piper
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Default Re: Hugh MacCallum on Practicing

As my instructor said: we are bagpipers, not practice chanter-ers..

-Matthew
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Old 07-18-2019, 05:42 PM   #5
Andrew Lenz
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Default Re: Hugh MacCallum on Practicing

Yep.

But also, any practice is better than no practice. Not all of us can get on the pipes as often as we'd like. Even 5 minutes a day on a practice chanter will keep the fingers going if necessary.

Andrew
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Old 07-23-2019, 09:36 AM   #6
bob864
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Default Re: Hugh MacCallum on Practicing

Quote:
Originally Posted by 3D Piper View Post
As my instructor said: we are bagpipers, not practice chanter-ers..

-Matthew
Mine said that too.

To keep myself honest I just don't count time on the PC as practice. If I'm learning new tunes I might spend an hour a day on PC, but for me that equals zero practice. For me it's only practice when I play the bagpipes.
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Old 07-27-2019, 12:12 PM   #7
RichmondPiper
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Default Re: Hugh MacCallum on Practicing

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom MacKenzie View Post
……….... I do my technical exercises and tunes on the pipes for 60 to 75 minutes each day...….
What do your neighbours say? Tunes for an hour is one thing but scales, doublings grips etc? Quite another
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Old 07-28-2019, 05:23 AM   #8
Tom MacKenzie
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Default Re: Hugh MacCallum on Practicing

Quote:
Originally Posted by RichmondPiper View Post
What do your neighbours say? Tunes for an hour is one thing but scales, doublings grips etc? Quite another

I practice at the local recreation centre first thing in the mornings. A large resonant room. Windows on two sides. Heated and cooled. By myself.




I have been told that the kids on the play structure about 200 feet away can hear me through the windows though.


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Old 08-02-2019, 10:00 PM   #9
William McKenzie
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Default Re: Hugh MacCallum on Practicing

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom MacKenzie View Post
I practice at the local recreation centre first thing in the mornings. A large resonant room. Windows on two sides. Heated and cooled. By myself.

I have been told that the kids on the play structure about 200 feet away can hear me through the windows though.

tomm
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