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Old 01-27-2019, 01:47 PM   #11
EquusRacer
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Default Re: Third time..crash and burn

Ahh, no matter all the other (and excellent) advice, there is the "battle of the voices." We have the one that says, "I know this stuff," "I'm good," "How difficult can this be?" and so forth. Then the other, "Oh, man, I'm not so sure," "Oh, here comes the part where I always screw up," "What am I doing?" "Oh, no, I'm struggling." That evil (yet sometimes honest) voice of doubt can only be mitigated when we truly are confident. Working with an instructor, with others, listen to your recordings, and so forth all help (as do the members of this forum, as you're experiencing). We've all crashed and burned, at some point. Congrats and all the best on your persistence. In time, you'll have great stories of wisdom to share with others. All the best.
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Old 01-27-2019, 05:52 PM   #12
Green Piper
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Default Re: Third time..crash and burn

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Originally Posted by OHpiper View Post
I've had a notion to learn for the past 25 years or so, I retired in Feb.2017, in Dec. 2017 I purchased a Dunbar PC and the Green book. In August of 2018 purchased a set of MacCallum AP2's, between videos on Youtube and a couple lessons, hours of devouring info on set-up and tuning i think I'm doing fairly well. i practiced the other morning just started out playing songs I new and played 12 minutes non stop .

Possibly lack of experience? There are many who’d not dream of performing for a public engagement without significant piping experience.

While, I cannot comment on your level of skill, technique, and musicality, there have been a number of examples of “pipers” with little skill or musicality taking paying gigs when they really shouldn’t be.

IMO, with only a year on the PC, and six months on the pipes, I wonder if you’re perhaps not quite experienced enough for performance in situations in which nerves can be strained.

Charlie
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Old 01-27-2019, 06:38 PM   #13
el gaitero
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Default Re: Third time..crash and burn

Consider a Level A piper passes out of the Army School after about 5 months....having been at pipes seemingly near 24x7 during that period,...not to mention multiple other deeply ingrained facets of the game.

Hardly the Wedding Piper we’ve seen occasionally posted here... 😬
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Old 01-27-2019, 06:58 PM   #14
Green Piper
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Default Re: Third time..crash and burn

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Consider a Level A piper passes out

I totally read that wrong. Five months seems incredibly brief, even if these pipers work at it all day every day.

IIRC, muscle memory is one of the more fallible forms of memory.
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Old 01-27-2019, 07:19 PM   #15
DamhCabrachPiping
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Default Re: Third time..crash and burn

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Originally Posted by Green Piper View Post
I totally read that wrong. Five months seems incredibly brief, even if these pipers work at it all day every day.

IIRC, muscle memory is one of the more fallible forms of memory.


Muscle memory works best if the skill is practiced until it becomes a ‘gross motor function’ - meaning in a fight or flight scenario the skill could be recalled.

It takes 100s of flawless repetitions to achieve, but it does work.

Examples would be military and police training. Or band practice


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Old 01-28-2019, 05:06 AM   #16
el gaitero
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Default Re: Third time..crash and burn

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Originally Posted by Green Piper View Post
I totally read that wrong. Five months seems incredibly brief, even if these pipers work at it all day every day.

IIRC, muscle memory is one of the more fallible forms of memory

.
https://youtu.be/ffOU7TZitO8

The CinC sent me a DVD of this some years ago. Almost made me want to enlist. Almost.
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Old 01-28-2019, 11:57 AM   #17
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Default Re: Third time..crash and burn

This is tough. And I'm sorry to hear that your outing didn't go so well.

There're a few things to keep in mind here though, and I'm hoping that doing so will help.

Firstly, you said yourself "what could go wrong, did." Now, I ask ... what was the result? Tar and feathers? Pitchforks? No ... somehow I doubt it.

You lived ... they all lived ... the world did not end. Again, the people there were not poised, ready, and itching to roast you alive if you stumble. And that's all it was, a stumble. Sure it's embarrassing if/when things don't go well, but that's just the way things go sometimes. Certainly don't allow one bad outing to determine and seal your fate.

Though, I WILL say this ... you said what ... that you started practice chanter in Dec 2017, and full pipes in August? That is an INCREDIBLY short/ambitious timetable for playing full bagpipes in public. And you said only a couple lessons, and otherwise going off of tutor book(s)/videos? Frankly, the fact that you're able to play the full set at all, in that time period, is quite commendable.

However, even after I'd spent about a year learning on solely the practice chanter, and then at least 6-7 months of transitioning and learning to play tunes on full pipes, did I (and would I) consider playing for any sort of public forum. What's more, I seem to have been blessed from birth with hardly any degree of performance anxiety ... simply, that has hardly ever an issue for me. Additionally, this was all whilst being lucky enough to have weekly instruction from a very proficient instructor, and attending summer camps for piping (the Gaelic College).

You, on the other hand, are barely a year in (for practice chanter and pipes combined), you seem to be relatively going it alone, and you DO have to struggle with performance anxiety (as many, MANY people do). So, all things TRULY considered, you're doing exceptionally well. Once you've gotten over this, I think you'll be able look back with some pride on what you've managed to achieve.

What I'm trying to say, as gently as possible, is that I do think it would be good to step back, and work more on developing your piping before going for performing again. Setting out after only about a year, even with qualified instruction, is REALLY asking a lot of yourself ... I'd daresay it's asking too much, and consequently, you're really not being fair to yourself.

DO NOT QUIT.

Learning any instrument to any degree of confidence is challenging on its own ... comfort with performing said challenging-instrument is a whole separate business. I'm pretty lucky with the latter, and even I have struggles from time to time.

The more experience/comfort you have with your tunes/instrument, the less you'll be worrying about how/if things go wrong, both in public and in private. And if/when they do, experience will help you navigate how to recover/continue. Again, with lots of instruction after nearly 2x as long as you've been at it, I THINK that's when I started playing some small things in public. And lemme tell yah, I had plenty of stumbles as I went forward.

And things STILL go wrong, on occasion ... heck, I'm only human. I'll grudgingly share one of my worst ... and this was after having played regularly for about 18+ years.
I was pipe major of a pipe band, and we had our big, annual concert, for which we would generally have a packed house of about 300-400 people. However, I was hit with the flu about month prior, so my stamina was hit very, very heavily, since I just couldn't play for weeks. As a consequence, my lips would start to fail me after playing for about 20 mins.

Hindsight being 20/20, I should have just stepped aside, just in case, and bowed out of the evening. But the prior practice seemed to go fairly well, so I decided to try and muscle through it. I seemed to be able to barely make it to the end of each set, and each half of the band's appearance was only about 20 minutes.

All was going alright, until Amazing Grace, near the end of the 2nd half. I was the soloist, playing the first time 'round, and then the corp would join for 2 more times through. By the time I made it to the middle, long high A's of my solo ... I immediately realized, in panic, that I was in trouble. All of a sudden, there was more air coming out of the sides of my mouth, than was getting into the blowpipe. My tone became notably flat, and I barely, BARELY made it to the last, final D .. the instant that the pipe corp struck in their drones, that was it ... I gave out. I nodded to the pipe sergeant, and he led the group through the remainder of the piece, as I stood looking on.
I made it ... mostly ... EVERYONE (who was a piper) was coming up to me after the show, asking if I was ok .. tell me how their heart was aching for me .. etc. Despite my normal "nerves of steel," I was pretty damned mortified.

Point is, I got through. The world didn't end .. and neither did my piping. I learned a lesson or two ... chief of which, "if one is understandably scared of 'making it' through the show, it would probably be best to step aside, and let the pipe sergeant handle it." And there are things I could have done, if, God-forbid, I ended up breaking down.

Heck, I could have simply, stopped, walked over to the mic and said:
"alright folks, anyone see that funny movie where the bagpiper passes out and Mike Myers says 'We have a piper DUNE!?!?' ... Well Mr. Pipe Sergeant, lets have a mulligan, shall we? Take it away"

Scoff if you want, but in looking back, honestly, THAT may have been the most graceful way to capitalize on the situation and move forward. Admit some fault, drum up some levity, and then, on with the show. So, 18+ years at playing (about 25+ now), and I'm still learning.

Please keep at it. Do your best ... AND ... know your limits. Learn what you can from this, get back to work on your craft, and before you know it, you'll be doing it all again ... except the next time you'll be far more confident, because:
  1. You've seen and been through how bad things MIGHT go, so it can only go better ... especially because ...
  2. ... you've had plenty of time to further develop as a musician and a performer

Keep on keepin' on.

Cheers,
~Nate

Last edited by Pppiper; 01-28-2019 at 12:23 PM.
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Old 01-28-2019, 12:13 PM   #18
Steven Knox
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Default Re: Third time..crash and burn

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Originally Posted by OHpiper View Post
No band here, don't know of any in northern Ohio..
You might consider contacting the North Coast Pipe Band (https://www.ncpb.org/), or The College of Wooster Pipe Band, or Jon Maffet at The Piper's Hut (in Pickerington, which I know isn't very "north"). They could probably point you to some pipers in your area.

P.S. If you're on the eastern side of northern Ohio, Pittsburgh isn't that far away, and there's lots of good piping there.

P.P.S. I second Nate's comment -- don't quit.

Last edited by Steven Knox; 01-28-2019 at 12:17 PM. Reason: added another possible lead
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Old 01-28-2019, 12:16 PM   #19
OHpiper
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Default Re: Third time..crash and burn

Thanks Nate, I didn't quote your message because it was long. But you nailed it. I texted my pastor yesterday and said I wasn't playing in church again until I am really ready..lol. I seem to learn things fast, always seemed that way. But anyhow thanks for your insight!
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Old 01-28-2019, 12:17 PM   #20
Pppiper
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Thanks Nate, I didn't quote your message because it was long. But you nailed it. I texted my pastor yesterday and said I wasn't playing in church again until I am really ready..lol. I seem to learn things fast, always seemed that way. But anyhow thanks for your insight!
Haha ... writing with "thrift" is another thing I've yet to learn. Maybe one day.

Cheers my friend,
~Nate

Last edited by Pppiper; 01-28-2019 at 12:20 PM.
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