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Beginners, Intermediate, + Discuss issues, tackle problems, share experiences, ask questions, and look for specific help...

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Old 03-20-2006, 06:33 PM   #1
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Default looking to improve my playing

to be at that spot in my playing where I can play lots of good solid tunes, and I'm ready to move on to more complicated stuff. I'de like to learn a nice MSR or two. I need something to really give my fingers a workout, and improve my playing. Perhaps the sources of the tunes as well would be appreciated if possible. Thanks a ton!
- I posted on the "music" section already but got a measly 2 replies so I was hoping the people that frequent the "beer tent" could help me out. Everyone seems more talkative on this
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Old 03-20-2006, 07:00 PM   #2
Richard Strayer
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Default Re: looking to improve my playing

Have you already mastered the many tunes suggested in those two "measly" replies, then? If not, then I'm not sure what else you're expecting.
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Old 03-20-2006, 08:03 PM   #3
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Default Re: looking to improve my playing

Just a couple of tunes that I would suggest that i loved that weren't to hard but difficult enough to get something out of it are Conundrum for a march, and Ewe with the crooded horn. Almost any music book will have at least 2 or 3 good marches, strathspeys, and reels, just flip through and see which sparks your interest the most.
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Old 03-21-2006, 07:45 AM   #4
Buzz (not that one)
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Default Re: looking to improve my playing

My instructor just gave me Ewe with the Crookit Horn last night. We spent quite a bit of time on it. What a great strathspey!! He made clear to me that this is a tune that will greatly improve my playing. A march that I've personally learned a lot from is Balmoral Highlanders.
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Old 03-21-2006, 07:55 AM   #5
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Default Re: looking to improve my playing

Hi, Dylan: I'm sort of with Richard in that I'm not sure of your request. My immediate response--without knowing your skill level and fundamentals--to providing "something to really give my fingers a workout, and improve my playing", is to suggest exercises, such as "Rhythmic Fingerworks" first.
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Old 03-21-2006, 08:16 AM   #6
Rob Gereghty
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Default Re: looking to improve my playing

I will second the suggestion for "Rhythmic fingerwook" this is an excellent book (with CD) from Jim McGillivary.
I dont think that playing harder tunes is really the way to go until you have mastered the technique required to play the tunes.
When you are ready, get your hands on both of the Scots Guards books.. enough tunes there to keep your fingers working for a long time.

Rob Gereghty

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Old 03-21-2006, 08:58 AM   #7
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Default Re: looking to improve my playing

In all candor, posts like these from pipers who have not been playing long worry me. It often seems like we are being asked to either (1) second-guess the poster's instructor and offer material or advice which might either contradict his/her instruction or be inappropriate (more/less advanced) for the student, or (2) give a self-taught piper material which s/he might think is within his/her technical range, when s/he might have no real idea how the pipes are supposed to sound (we've all heard this kind of "piper"). With the first situation, I would only suggest the student improve communication or find a different instructor, and with the second, I don't want to hear what it sounds like.

Now, I'm not accusing you, Dylan, of being in either one of these situations, I have no idea who you are. But I would suggest that the best way to get new tunes appropriate for your ability is to (optimally) get suggestions from your instructor or get (buy, beg, borrow) book(s) for tunes from pipers you know, and when you come upon one which sounds promising, get your source's opinion on whether it would be reasonable for you to tackle.

And, if you haven't had an instructor for a while or have never had one, just find one for even a one-time session to check out your playing and get an expert appraisal of where you are and where you should be aiming for at this time. Remember, even the greats get help now and then.

Change is inevitable, except from a vending machine.

True terror is to wake up one morning and discover that your high school class is running the country. - Kurt Vonnegut

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Old 03-21-2006, 11:44 AM   #8
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Default Re: looking to improve my playing

I think the predicable responses on all these threads that chime out, Get an instuctor, aren't so helpful. I think there are many people that who are learning at a band practices where the pipe major or a senior band member gives them pointers or some guidance, but it is really spotty. Often the pipe major is absent, and when there he is often distracted by other new students, by regular band members fussing with their instruments, and by many other things. So I think it is natural that a student turns to forums like this for supplemental advice, rather than going out and hiring an instructor.
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Old 03-21-2006, 02:00 PM   #9
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Default Re: looking to improve my playing

Let's assume for the moment you are on a desert island without an instructor but with several books of music. Try this. Choose a book and try to pick up all the tunes in the order in which they appear in the book. Attempt everything independent of tunetype. Do not skip around, at least in the beginning. I would not try this with any of G.S.'s books though. If you find you cannot do much, pick another book. After you have gotten to the point where you think you might have a guess as to how the first forty or fifty should sound, pick the eight or ten you really like. Those will be the ones you really do have a good line on. Take those ten, slow them down and start recording your practice. Insist that everything sound just as you think it should.

By this time the other residents of the island will have chased you back to the mainland. Now go get an instructor.

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Old 03-21-2006, 02:42 PM   #10
Crushed Doublings
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Default Re: looking to improve my playing

Without Dylan posting more info as to what he knows it would be hard to give any advice other than the standard "get an instructor" . Recording oneself while playing is excellent advice. I found some recordings I made many years ago... At the time I thought they were okay, but....now I know better...

Dylan, please provide specifics.


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