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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 10-26-2020, 09:33 AM   #1
Joseph Diodato
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Default Time management as a multi-instrumentalist

I recently ordered a set of uilleann pipes from a fine maker here in the northeastern United States, and it got me thinking about time management for players of 2+ instruments. For now the Highland pipes will continue to be my primary instrument, and I have fairly robust goals that I'd like to reach in the coming years for solo contests, progressing in a band, and gigging in general. That said, I would also like to achieve a decent level of competency on the uilleann pipes as well.

For folks that play at least one other instrument besides the Highland pipes, what are some tips and strategies that you employ to stay on top of your various instruments? I'd be interested to hear a bit more about folks' musical timeline as well, for those who don't mind sharing.

Best,
Joe
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Old 10-26-2020, 11:38 AM   #2
Pip01
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Default Re: Time management as a multi-instrumentalist





Ah... Joseph... and... Greetings to All,

I play a child's fife (with a right-angle mouthpiece
embouchure) ... two rather old... and very good...
Classical/Spanish guitars (2-inch wide necks, etc.)...
as well as the pipes... with two main sets of those...
and a set of Starck small pipes...with... a bass drum
or two thrown in... just for good measure... :)

Time Management?! ... oh!!... and alas... no!! :)

The simple reason being... I have no Time... for
any... "Time Management" ... :) ... as I am quite
simply... waltzing my way through... these quite
movement-restricted days... with the aim of
getting... and... in one piece!!... to the other side
of them... :)

And... in the midst of our presently being... "Brought
Up Short"...... I do play them... and play them all... and...
still... make occasions... for the singing of it... but... with
all of it... only as... The Fit Takes Me... and The Devil sits
me down... and only then... off we go.... :)

Manage?? Management?! Hmm... "Hubris"... i.e., presumption
with one's place... and possible actions... and outcomes... still
being... what it is... was... and ever shall be... I am content...
to let these constricted days... play out... willy-nilly... and yet
to still accomplish... what may still... lie within both my grasp...
and my compass... :)

But... with an eye... toward the morrow??... Who can say?? :)

Nonetheless... wishing for All... good management gifts... if
within The Realm...of your... possibilities... :)

Regards to All,

Pip01










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Last edited by Pip01; 10-26-2020 at 11:51 AM.
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Old 10-26-2020, 01:20 PM   #3
Patrick McLaurin
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Default Re: Time management as a multi-instrumentalist

Marry a doctor and let her wear the pants while you wear the kilt. And then don’t have any kids <- why I don’t have time for both.

I found uilleann pipes to be very complimentary of highland piping. There are many interchangeable techniques. For example, darado and dre are the same except they become staccato on uilleann pipes, but the effect is basically the same. What they call rolls are just triplet slurs and the like. Granted I had a year before the uilleann on a Swayne G border pipe whose fingering is basically smack dab between highland and uilleann so it was a good transition (it also had the second octave on the bottom hand).

Last edited by Patrick McLaurin; 10-26-2020 at 01:23 PM.
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Old 10-26-2020, 01:39 PM   #4
pancelticpiper
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Default Re: Time management as a multi-instrumentalist

It's hard to say, because people have widely different inherent talent levels, which I think becomes a larger factor the more different instruments one tries to play.

I've observed that supremely talented musicians can sometimes attain a high level of proficiency on a new instrument rather quickly. Furthermore they can retain that proficiency without much in the way of maintenance practice (that regular practice that us less-talented people need, to maintain our chops).

For people with not as much talent, attaining and maintaining a high level of playing on either the Highland pipes or the uilleann pipes will occupy them fulltime. Splitting their time between these two utterly different instruments might mean that they never get as proficient as they otherwise might, on either instrument.

I know this firsthand, because it's me!

I started playing the Highland pipes and got to a fairly decent level fairly quickly, playing in a good band within around 3 years of starting. (I practiced fanatically, never missing a day.)

But after only a few years I took up the uilleann pipes. My Pipe Major warned me "you probably should learn how to play the Highland pipes right, before you get into other things."

I got a similar warning from a very good Highland piper who had himself taken up the uilleann pipes. He told me that when he started learning uilleann pipes he realised that it would take a total commitment, so he laid aside the Highland pipes. He became a very good uilleann piper and AFAIK he never played Highland pipes any more. His implication was that I should do the same, if I was serious about becoming a good uilleann piper.

But I was young and stupid and I ignored all this wise advice. Now I'm in my 60s, I've been playing Highland pipes since age 17 and uilleann pipes since age 20 and I've never got all that great on either instrument.

What I don't know is if I had focused on a single instrument whether or not I would have attained a higher level on it. I do know that over the last 40 years I've floated back and forth, laying aside the uilleann pipes to concentrate on Highland pipes for a few years, then doing the opposite for a few years. Not the way to get really good on either!

Actually it got worse than that! Because in my 20s I also took up Irish flute, then Northumbrian pipes, Bulgarian pipes, Spanish pipes, and other things.

Once I got a bit older I realised the foolishness of having a pile of instruments that I would never get good at, and I sold off everything except what I started out with: Highland pipes and uilleann pipes. In truth it's still too much for me.
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Old 10-27-2020, 04:39 PM   #5
iunderwood
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Default Re: Time management as a multi-instrumentalist

Quote:
Originally Posted by Joseph Diodato View Post
I recently ordered a set of uilleann pipes from a fine maker here in the northeastern United States, and it got me thinking about time management for players of 2+ instruments. For now the Highland pipes will continue to be my primary instrument, and I have fairly robust goals that I'd like to reach in the coming years for solo contests, progressing in a band, and gigging in general. That said, I would also like to achieve a decent level of competency on the uilleann pipes as well.

For folks that play at least one other instrument besides the Highland pipes, what are some tips and strategies that you employ to stay on top of your various instruments? I'd be interested to hear a bit more about folks' musical timeline as well, for those who don't mind sharing.

Best,
Joe

I play/teach four instruments professionally. On the teaching side, I'm busiest on guitar. Gigging wise, it's split between electric bass, upright bass, and bagpipes. I also teach a little piano and try to bolster those skills whenever I get a chance. So I juggle five instruments.



Never married, rarely dating, and no kids is what gives me the time to practice and improve on all instruments. Also basically never had a day job, always made playing and teaching music (privately, never in a school) my only thing.
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Old 10-28-2020, 07:18 AM   #6
johnsog
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Default Re: Time management as a multi-instrumentalist

There are a lot of ways to manage practice time, depending on commitments at home (outside job, family, social life), personal goals, similarity/differences in types of instruments and genres, etc. I think the first consideration might be to decide what you hope to achieve with each instrument.

A couple of years ago I decided to follow a life-long dream of learning to play the Celtic harp. This is quite different from anything else I play (GHB, SSP, guitar, upright bass, dulcimer, recorders); thus I find I need much more practice on the harp and have spent less time with my other instruments. With the dearth of gigs due to the pandemic, I've noticed a few of my pipe tunes have gotten a bit sloppy so i realize I need to take more time to work on those since I DO have piping gigs (funerals only, at this point) and want to be sharp for those. I adore my harp but realize it's unlikely anyone will ask me to play those for any serious engagements so I must fit piping back into my daily routine.

While I do have a day job, I don't have kids and I do have a very supportive husband, also a musician, which helps a lot as far as finding time to practice. Also, I am very much an amateur and am content with a modest skill level.

An important thing to remember is to practice smartly. However much time we have, depending on our personal circumstances, there are strategies we can employ to make those most of limited practice time.

Good luck on your new adventures and I hope you are able to achieve the right balance to bring you great success!!
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Old 10-28-2020, 10:49 AM   #7
Mac an t-Sealgair
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Default Re: Time management as a multi-instrumentalist

Hmm tricky, I think you have to pick your 'alpha' instrument. And dedicate time to reaching goals on the alpha. The other instrument can be an interest, but shouldn't detract from the ultimate goal of mastery of the alpha.
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Old 10-29-2020, 10:43 AM   #8
John McCain
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Default Re: Time management as a multi-instrumentalist

1. Make a schedule
2. Stick to the schedule
3. Occasionally re-assess the schedule based on short-term goals (comps, performance, gigs)
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Old 10-29-2020, 11:01 AM   #9
John Dally
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Default Re: Time management as a multi-instrumentalist

Does anyone here use one of the "Piper's Journal" to help manage their time and goals? What's in them that can't be done using a bullet journal or other time management tool?
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Old 10-29-2020, 04:49 PM   #10
Matt Buckley
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Default Re: Time management as a multi-instrumentalist

I wonder if time management in this instance has less to with becoming technically competent on two different pipes, and more to with becoming conversant with a vast tradition. Many would say it takes a lifetime just to immerse oneself in Irish or Scottish tradition music, let alone both. I just don't know any high level "celtic" pipers, or "celtic" fiddlers.

I play both Scottish bellows pipes, and fiddle, but I stick to Scottish music, switching between instruments. One complements the other in an amazing way. I tried to get into Irish fiddle, but the tradition is just way to deep for me to do it justice. That doesn't mean I don't still play the odd Irish tune from time to time.

In the end, it's Scottish trad. that speaks to me on the deepest level. If I were deciding how to allocate time between GHB and Irish pipes, I'd first try to answer the question of which music, not which pipes, speaks to me at the most profound level. And that's where I'd put the great majority of my time.
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