I have been teaching bagpipes face to face and using Skype for several years, with a number of successes. The Skype approach is a compromise compared with face to face tuition, but has proven to be a very good one for many situations. This article discusses using Skype, or other similar internet based tools, for … Continue reading Is Skype too great a compromise for bagpipe lessons?
Time and time again I marvel at the novel and illogical processes pipers adopt for solo drone tuning, including in the highest solo grades. In many cases, they get their drones in tune more by luck than by design – or they fail to get their drones properly in tune. Here I present three different … Continue reading 3 drone tuning processes
As a musical community, we are particularly poor at teaching our musicians correct basic terminology, let alone correct playing technique. I often discuss phrasing and expression with pipers and drummers, sometimes on contest critique sheets. And, yet, I am now clear that many of our musicians, and perhaps even some of our adjudicators, may not … Continue reading Expression and phrasing are not the same thing
I have seen electronic tuners used painstakingly to set bands' drones accurately OUT OF TUNE. So, are electronic tuners of any use? Let’s start with a clear answer: an electronic tuning device is a high value tool when setting up a pipe corps. BUT, you need to use it intelligently to achieve the result, a … Continue reading Tuning Devices That Deceive
I have been spending a lot of time with pupils lately helping them improve the precision of their playing. A number have been producing generally “muddy” sounding music – imprecise movements from one note to the next, inaccurate timing, uneven sound due to irregular blowing and other issues. A number of them are improving these … Continue reading The First Half of Improvement