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Old 03-12-2019, 05:25 PM   #1
Joseph Diodato
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Default Setting Monthly-Yearly Goals

During my next lesson, I hope to spend some time with my tutor discussing my piping goals. For a bit of context, I'm currently a few tunes into the NPC book, currently working on Leaving Barra and doublings. While I'm making great progress on the practice chanter, I want to set tangible goals with my instructor that I can work towards and celebrate accordingly. With that being said, are there any online resources, blog posts, etc. regarding goal-setting on the pipes? I think there's a Bruce Gandy article on practice that I heard of, but the name escapes me at the moment.

Just a few goals that I currently have, that I haven't had the chance to hash out yet.
  • Begin my transition to the Great Highland bagpipe by early-mid July.
  • Start busking on smallpipes before the first day of the fall 2019 academic semester. I'd love to earn (roughly) my current hourly rate that I earn through my university. (Keeping in mind that busking is highly variable and I'm doing it moreso for my own pleasure than the proverbial beer money.
  • Participate in my first solo competition in 2020. Winter Storm is a bit of a reach for me, but I definitely have my eye on next year's MWPBA solo qualifier in Kentucky (grade 4, of course).
  • Develop a decent portfolio of memorized light music for busking by the end of the summer, mostly focusing on the tunes for a local pipe band that I hope to join around October of this year.
  • Compete in grade IV piob in 2020 (MWPBA just requires the ground and urlar variations, if I recall correctly).

Fellow beginner players -- how's your piping journey going so far? Would love to hear about the goals you've set for yourself. For some of the more...seasoned folks, I'd love to hear what your initial goals were during the beginning of your piping career!

Best,
Joe
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Old 03-12-2019, 06:37 PM   #2
Klondike Waldo
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Default Re: Setting Monthly-Yearly Goals

Joe, good luck with your goals. Transitioning to the pipes in July is do-able- you were, after all, a tuba player, so you should have decent diaphragm support. don't rush getting into playing tunes before you have your scales and doublings well under your fingers and you'll do fine
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Old 03-12-2019, 07:11 PM   #3
Joseph Diodato
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Default Re: Setting Monthly-Yearly Goals

Quote:
Originally Posted by Klondike Waldo View Post
Joe, good luck with your goals. Transitioning to the pipes in July is do-able- you were, after all, a tuba player, so you should have decent diaphragm support. don't rush getting into playing tunes before you have your scales and doublings well under your fingers and you'll do fine
Many thanks for the well wishes and such a warm welcome. I like to think that I have a bit of a leg up with regards to diaphragm support. After marching quite a few rigorous marching band shows, I think I've a good foundation there!
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Last edited by Joseph Diodato; 03-12-2019 at 07:19 PM.
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Old 03-13-2019, 06:52 AM   #4
Jim Fogelman
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Default Re: Setting Monthly-Yearly Goals

That transition time might be doable, but will take a bit of work. I think I had a similar time frame, starting on the chanter in December of 2013 and moving on to pipes in May 2014, but I was 16 and had a lot of time to devote to practice.

Like you and Bob, I also have a degree in music, however, my primary instrument is trumpet. While the strong diaphragm from tuba will be a bit of a help, it might not be as much as you're thinking.

While I was doing my student teaching, I borrowed a set of pipes from the pipe band I was teaching to let my guide teacher try playing them. I set them up with the easiest reed I had (probably 28" of water or so) and he could barely get a sound (he was a trombone player). I laughed as I watched him struggle with just the pipe chanter (not even in the bag) and he asked if I gave him a size 17 reed (for those who are not in the wind band world, clarinet and saxophone reeds are rated from 1 - 4 or 5, having 1/2 gradations between each number, with 1 being an easy reed for beginners and the upper limit being hard, and not many pros actually go to the hardest reeds in these instruments, either).

And I want to echo Bob's suggestion of not rushing into tunes too fast. It's easy to think that being a classically trained musician can give you an edge over non-musicans (which it definitely can), but make sure to focus on your technique early on. Good embellishments are what make good piping. They're the equivalent of lip slurs, tonguing exercises, long tones, and all the other exercises you hate to do that are good for you for brass players.

Setting goals is a good thing, something many players do not do (myself often included in that). Just don't be discouraged if you don't meet them.
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Old 03-13-2019, 11:40 AM   #5
Joseph Diodato
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Default Re: Setting Monthly-Yearly Goals

Jim,

I appreciate the perspective on realistic expectations. I recently noted in my practice journal that I get quite excited just reading about a new embellishment! My background as a musician has served me well with regards to reading, understanding rhythm and notation. I can only imagine that the GHB will be an entirely different beast, regardless of how much time I've spent huffing and puffing on the tuba.

I'm very fortunate to work with a tutor who grounds me and helps me to set realistic expectations for my piping! I will certainly keep the fundamentals at the center of my journey.

Cheers,
Joe
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Old 03-13-2019, 12:03 PM   #6
William McKenzie
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Default Re: Setting Monthly-Yearly Goals

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Fogelman View Post
Setting goals is a good thing, something many players do not do (myself often included in that). Just don't be discouraged if you don't meet them.
Agreed. I played for a number of years and then sold my last set of pipes in Summer 2016, now about to purchase new pipes again. I'm going back through my music but this time really working back through the basics as if I were just learning.

It could be so easy to be discouraged (especially if you've already played for years and you think the foundations should be a given and skip right through it) and feel like you're supposed to be at some specific place or goal already. But I can tell you that even more experienced players need to go back to the fundamentals and really slow down, relax the grip and body, and nail down the movements/combinations/ornamentation.

It takes a lot of work and it's never ending. Enjoy the process.
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Old 03-14-2019, 02:23 PM   #7
Pip01
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Default Re: Setting Monthly-Yearly Goals



Greetings, Joseph,

Quite happy to have you join us... in our sometimes
roiling pot... of piping soup!! :)

Ain't nothin'... quite like... The Piping Game!! :)

As you can tell... friendly folk here... and much good
information... readily available.

Look to your instructor about your first set of pipes...
as that is rather akin... to buying a first automobile. :)

And the first good and general rule... and for everyone
is... Just Keep After It!! It will come!! Promise!!
(So say we one... So say we all... :)

Wishing you... All the Best!!

Pip01


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Last edited by Pip01; 03-14-2019 at 02:30 PM.
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Old 03-14-2019, 05:23 PM   #8
DelticRD
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Default Re: Setting Monthly-Yearly Goals

Hi Joseph,
I am in a similar position, just picked up a chanter again last August having not playing since I was in primary school!
I moved back onto pipes in November and doing my first performance this Sunday for a massed band St Patrickís day March.

Having this has a target really help me focus on my playing and getting to practice and play with other I found was a great help. I feel I have progressed a lot more I the last couple weeks than before. And now thinking whatís next after this one.

Loving the journey and working on timing and pace.

I found getting the Blair digital chanter has been a great help on fingering and learning tunes but it can also be a trap as itís way easier to play without the blowing, so have to force myself to annoy the Wife and breakout the PC more often.


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