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Competing Pipers Questions, issues, or discussions specifically related to Piping and Pipers competition.

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Old 02-14-2017, 11:03 AM   #21
bob864
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Default Re: Tips for maintaining concentration

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Originally Posted by Roddy Livingstone View Post
I know of at least two premier grade pipers who remove their spectacles when playing. Both say this means that they cannot clearly see, or more importantly be distracted by, objects or events happening which are outside of their immediate focus zone.
I have a piping DVD where Jack Lee is playing with his eyes closed. I don't trust my feet that much. ;-)
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Old 02-14-2017, 02:25 PM   #22
EquusRacer
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Default Re: Tips for maintaining concentration

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Originally Posted by bob864 View Post
I find the fingers distracting in general.
Perhaps. But I remind pipers that they're not watching my fingers to recall the tune--they should know it by now--rather, to match me for timing and unison.

That said, and while I still would like them watching me, what I really prefer is that pipers learn to listen to, and play with, a well-executed drum score.
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Old 02-14-2017, 06:02 PM   #23
bob864
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Default Re: Tips for maintaining concentration

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Perhaps. But I remind pipers that they're not watching my fingers to recall the tune--they should know it by now--rather, to match me for timing and unison.

.
Yeah. For me when I'm watching the fingers I tend to start thinking about the fingers, instead of playing the music. I usually look near the fingers at the hem of someone's kilt and focus on the sound. But I look back for the breaks. It's a bigger problem for me in fast tunes.

For a while we had 17 pipers and I found I needed to watch the fingers, because The sound was too complicated. Or something.
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Old 02-14-2017, 09:36 PM   #24
rpeitzsch
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Default Re: Tips for maintaining concentration

Sorry for coming in late to the party... the exercises at this website have been incredibly useful: https://www.competitivedge.com/3-exe...-concentration Focus is focus, regardless of whether you're talking about music, sports, or whatever. In a way, some of it comes back to the thought about tossing stones at the person practicing.

Regarding watching the fingers (or hands for us drummer) for timing rather than focus - spot on!
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Old 02-15-2017, 08:36 AM   #25
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Default Re: Tips for maintaining concentration

What I did a while back that really improved my focus capabilities is practice with a twist.

First off, my normal routine is to rough tune my pipes, play a few 6/8s or fun tunes and then tune my pipes finely. After that, I play all of my competition tunes straight through, only stopping if I really need to retune my pipes.
This helps the pipes, and the piper to figure out ways to stay in tune while you are going out of tune.

But for focus workouts, I do the above while listening to other music. Not piping. Like, if I am practicing jigs I will be listening to Bohemian Rhapsody. You'll be surprised at how difficult it is to play music while hearing completely different music and tempos in your head, let alone trying to play musically.

It worked for me, and I got the idea from a story I heard about how Tiger Wood's dad used to jangle chains and make as much noise as possible while Tiger practiced putting.

While I know that the odds are I will never have to compete with my headphones in listening to Queen, it certainly makes the noises of general life seem very small when you are keeping your focus.
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Old 02-17-2017, 11:24 AM   #26
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Default Re: Tips for maintaining concentration

JackHawk, you're right most of us don't play while listening to others outside our band or our solo platform, intentionally. But, during competitions there are always other pipers and drummers playing nearby which can be distracting, if you are not focused on your tunes.
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Old 02-20-2017, 12:55 PM   #27
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Default Re: Tips for maintaining concentration

I'm a Grade 4 piper. I have competed a few times, best I ever got was 6th.

But I am a mother, and having 3 kids by natural childbirth does teach you a few things about focusing. In Lamaze, we're taught to fix our eyes on something small, like a knothole, or anything similar. If you can keep your eyes focused on a small immobile object, you can then concentrate on what you're doing, like breathing. I understand breathing is important in piping, too..

Whole point is if you focus your eyes first on some small, unmoving object, then your mind is free to concentrate on your fingers, and you're less likely to be distracted outside influences, like some bozo making faces at you, or somebody cutting between you and the judge, as I have seen happen....
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Old 02-20-2017, 02:17 PM   #28
bob864
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Default Re: Tips for maintaining concentration

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But, during competitions there are always other pipers and drummers playing nearby which can be distracting, if you are not focused on your tunes.
The worst for us was at a games where the entertainment tent was near the competition field. A loud celtic rock band started their set as we were marching into the circle. Their bass drum was a slightly different tempo from ours.

In Scottish Harp Society of America competition there is a place on the judging form for how well competitors deal with distractions. As an example of a distraction, a friend of mine recalls when he started his set and a piper started tuning on the other side of the tent wall, completely unaware there was a musical contest going on.
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Old 02-22-2017, 10:49 AM   #29
John Blunt
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Well, don't keep us in suspense! What were they?
Small red ones with green stripes running through. I'm gonna go with Winesaps.

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Old 02-26-2017, 08:05 PM   #30
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Default Re: Tips for maintaining concentration

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Originally Posted by Roddy Livingstone View Post
I know of at least two premier grade pipers who remove their spectacles when playing. Both say this means that they cannot clearly see, or more importantly be distracted by, objects or events happening which are outside of their immediate focus zone.
I had wondered why Bruce Gandy did this. Now I know!
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