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Old 06-17-2017, 09:29 AM   #1
RonSchlie
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Join Date: Aug 2010
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Default Going Pro

We'll, I've noticed that conversation is slow on the smallpipe forum lately so I thought I would share a story.
Several weeks ago I was asked to perform at a local Elk's Lodge in our area.
It was explained to me that I was to only play for five min. while the State Elk's President entered the front door. (They said he was Irish) I explained to the representative not to expect GHP pipes or Scottish attire and he said that my smallpipes were perfect for their small meeting room. Payment was never discussed because I wasn't expecting any because I play for fun not income!
As the President and his wife entered the room I was given a signal to start playing. I played a four tune set starting with a slow air and built up to a lively jig to finish. At the conclusion the audience told me they enjoyed the set and I was excited because I performed well. People asked me questions about the SSP pipes and there origin and I explained the best I could. With the job completed I began packing the pipes away getting ready to depart. It was then that the Elk's representative came over and invited me to have breakfast with the group of dignitaries. (It was a breakfast meeting)
It was a great breakfast with everything you could desire (I destroyed my diet that day) and the President even came over and said he was happy to hear me play.
As I was driving home I asked myself, am I a pro now?..... I said no, but I will play for food and drink
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Old 06-17-2017, 03:49 PM   #2
Tjones79
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Default Re: Going Pro

Quote:
Originally Posted by RonSchlie View Post
We'll, I've noticed that conversation is slow on the smallpipe forum lately so I thought I would share a story.
Several weeks ago I was asked to perform at a local Elk's Lodge in our area.
It was explained to me that I was to only play for five min. while the State Elk's President entered the front door. (They said he was Irish) I explained to the representative not to expect GHP pipes or Scottish attire and he said that my smallpipes were perfect for their small meeting room. Payment was never discussed because I wasn't expecting any because I play for fun not income!
As the President and his wife entered the room I was given a signal to start playing. I played a four tune set starting with a slow air and built up to a lively jig to finish. At the conclusion the audience told me they enjoyed the set and I was excited because I performed well. People asked me questions about the SSP pipes and there origin and I explained the best I could. With the job completed I began packing the pipes away getting ready to depart. It was then that the Elk's representative came over and invited me to have breakfast with the group of dignitaries. (It was a breakfast meeting)
It was a great breakfast with everything you could desire (I destroyed my diet that day) and the President even came over and said he was happy to hear me play.
As I was driving home I asked myself, am I a pro now?..... I said no, but I will play for food and drink

Good Job!!!
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Old 06-17-2017, 03:59 PM   #3
Klondike Waldo
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Default Re: Going Pro

be careful, Ron- that's how it starts...
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Old 06-18-2017, 08:11 AM   #4
pancelticpiper
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Default Re: Going Pro

Thanks for sharing, it's a great story.

I take it all for granted, I guess, because I've been playing Highland pipes and smallpipes and uilleann pipes for 40 years.

What I prefer to do, if the client goes along, is for funerals and weddings play the 20 minutes of preservice music on quiet instruments, and play the recessional/postservice music on the big pipes.

For the preservice music I'll rotate between uilleann pipes, SSPs, and Low Whistle. It always gets positive responses.

The main advantages are

1) I don't have to blow everybody's eardrums out at the start of the service. It's not the best way to set the mood, in my opinion

2) due to having the uilleann pipes, I can play all the tunes they request that don't fit on Scottish pipes.

There's another thing, the novelty of SSPs with the General Public.

Years ago a friend and I spent a few weekends busking. Each of us brought a number of different instruments the first weekend, and as we stood there busking we would switch the combinations from time to time and see what got the most tips.

Hands-down the most public interest and tips were when he was playing octave mandolin and I was playing SSPs. Why the SSPs got so much more interest than the uilleann pipes, I have no idea.

So for the subsequent weekends we just brought those two instruments! And we did great.
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Last edited by pancelticpiper; 06-18-2017 at 08:28 AM.
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Old 06-18-2017, 09:20 AM   #5
Piper Joe
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Default Re: Going Pro

Ron,

My dad always hoped that I'd be an electrician like him. When I found music instead, percussion and then later GHB, he always said," If you're going to be a musician I'll support your decision, but never turn down free food!"

Glad to see you're upholding my family tradition...

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Old 06-19-2017, 08:47 AM   #6
RonSchlie
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Default Re: Going Pro

I believe that playing for food and drink with a heart felt thank you from the audience is the best way to go. My reasoning is that one, I do not play at that high level and two, I still have to use sheet music. Memorization at 65 and being retired is to much like work. Also, I believe a pro performer who plays copyrighted tunes has to pay a fee to some organization to keep it legal. I don't need the aggravation (Our group had to stop playing at a local mom and pop ice cream stand because we accepted ice cream cones as payment)
I am very fortunate to be able to play with a smallpipe group here in upstate NY and privileged to perform with our instructor at local open mics. several times a month. At the last open mic. we jointly performed at we were offered cookies and coffee.
What piper can ask for anything more
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Old 06-19-2017, 08:59 AM   #7
Steve Bliven
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Default Re: Going Pro

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Originally Posted by RonSchlie View Post
.... (Our group had to stop playing at a local mom and pop ice cream stand because we accepted ice cream cones as payment)...
Ice cream is not considered payment, it's a right guaranteed under the thirty-sixteenth amendment of the Constitution. Back to mom and pop's....

Best wishes.

Steve
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Old 06-19-2017, 02:00 PM   #8
Klondike Waldo
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Default Re: Going Pro

Quote:
Originally Posted by RonSchlie View Post
I believe that playing for food and drink with a heart felt thank you from the audience is the best way to go. My reasoning is that one, I do not play at that high level and two, I still have to use sheet music. Memorization at 65 and being retired is to much like work. Also, I believe a pro performer who plays copyrighted tunes has to pay a fee to some organization to keep it legal.SNIP

Actually, from my almost 50 years experience as a professional musician in a number of genres, it's the venue that's required to pay licensing fees, not the performer.

So no worries and enjoy the ice cream
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Old 06-21-2017, 01:42 PM   #9
John Blunt
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Default Re: Going Pro

Ron:

I have a t-shirt that reads on the front: "will play for beer" and on the back is written: "will stop for cash." Glad to hear of your good experience. I've been paid for gigs with everything from a dram of scotch (or two) to $75 handshakes to very nice checks for hired gigs. I like the idea of smallpipes medleys/tunes in a small space. Good luck for the future!

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