To compete or not to compete - that is a question!

A general forum for all sorts of piping related discussions. If in doubt, post here. All questions answered<G>

To compete or not to compete - that is a question!

Postby workers and drones » Tue Nov 12, 2013 11:13 pm

Hallow all - Workers and Drones here;
Decided not to give up last year but this year maybe!?
The NSP competitions were and weren't! Some were competed for and contested and some weren't. This was my second year of entering in my now 3rd year of playing and it is clear that there are only a handful of willing competitors in some classes and none in others. This has probably been kicked around for a number of years and as a new(ish) player the day in my opinion clearly needs a bit of a shake up!. I'm not advocating that the day should be scrapped; there's far too much history there to be swept away in an instant, however maybe more could be done to encourage more players to come forward in the coming years. Perhaps a non-competitive class where players can offer a piece to gain the all important encouraging comments from a judge/experienced player. Classes with a set piece perhaps could be looked at. Even a class without any judgement or boundaries allowing a platform to give a first solo experience. Maybe more demonstration work by the experts in piping to highlight common difficulties or an open rehearsal, expert to student/beginner on a particular piece. I'm certain these will have been thought of by others way before me and its easy to forget competition day the day after until the following year arrives and the situation is again mirrorred. I can say that having competed over the last 2 years (not always well - performances not up to par etc. etc.) I have always left the event feeling nothing but positivity and feeling encouraged sufficiently enough to go away and work that bit harder on my weaker areas (many).
Judging has been nothing other than honest and positive; and where standards have not been met awards have not been given which is right and proper. I have still found that playing in a group may be the norm and great socially but it remains for me a hurdle and something I will have to try again at some point. The many groups I have tried, work on the same format and the common aim seems to be to play as one - if you do what you've always done you'll get what you've always got! Come on peeps give that solo person a chance to get out!...... you know! - the one who gave that fantastic performance in the kitchen at home when no-one was there to hear except the cat/dog!. Make next years entry a record breaking one!
workers and drones
 
Posts: 29
Joined: Tue Jun 21, 2011 8:18 pm

Re: To compete or not to compete - that is a question!

Postby Wallie Ogilvie » Sun Nov 17, 2013 7:48 pm

Hi,
You raise quite a few interesting points, but sadly, it seems most of the piping community won't read them. It's a shame that after only 5 days your post has had 6 views, and would certainly have had a lot more views and comments if posted on the Piping Newsgroup page on Facebook, but even then the response would be from the core of contributors who regularly keep up with that.
I have no experience of the competitions as I'm not fond of playing publicly and know under those circumstances nerves would get the better of me and I would play far worse than I do sitting at home! If I was interested, I'd still have to travel a long way, and set aside a weekend, and that would be less attractive in the middle of October than it would be in May or June. However that's just me. Maybe the vast majority simply aren't interested but it would be good to know why those who would feel confident about playing in competitions don't!
If distance is an obstacle for those who live outside the north east or overseas, then maybe the idea of recordings should be permitted for other classes rather than just the overseas entries. If authenticity is a worry then video submissions could be stipulated as it's something most people can do now with a simple digital camera, computer, phone, iPad etc..
I can certainly empathize with your views on group playing. For me, they sound best either as a solo or duet ( or with another instrument) but massed piping invariably sounds awful to me as what make the instrument unique ( staccato and separated notes) is lost in a wash of sound.
Wallie Ogilvie
 
Posts: 44
Joined: Fri May 27, 2011 3:16 pm

Re: To compete or not to compete - that is a question!

Postby John Gibbons » Mon Nov 18, 2013 11:55 pm

I competed for a few years when I (knew I) was learning, largely as a way of getting valuable feedback. I don't compete any more, now I've got more confident/cocky. Events like an open rehearsal would be really helpful for beginners and learners, as would a non-competitive come-all-ye recital with feedback.

Competitions with few entrants don't generate as much pride as they might, even if you win them - though inflating one's ego shouldn't be the point, it can be a great confidence boost to be placed ahead of a player you like by a judge whose opinion you respect.

If all competitions had few entrants, the event would die and with it a relatively rare opportunity for players of middling ability to play solo to other pipers. Regular sessions tend mostly to be of the unison playaround format, by contrast.

John
John Gibbons
 
Posts: 182
Joined: Thu Jun 16, 2011 3:36 pm

Re: To compete or not to compete - that is a question!

Postby pipemakermike » Tue Nov 19, 2013 11:46 am

Back in the early 80's I was a regular competitor in the lower reaches of the competitions. I competed at Alnwick, Rothbury, and the NPS competitions at the Lang Art Gallery. I enjoyed the competitions and the entries were reasonably large. The prizes were never more than a token as the days when a set of pipes by a famous maker were up for grabs in the Open competition were already a distant memory.
So, what can be done to bring back the glory days of piping competitions?
I am sure that there are some things that can be done.
  • Possibly the resurgence of the School Pipe Project could be a vehicle to encourage some of the young people to compete.
  • Could the society put up some attractive prize?
  • What about leveling the playing field by having a pre-ordained set of tunes for the open?
  • Heats or full competitions located in different parts of the country.
Wether any of these ideas would help is an unknown but if the competitions are to be entered by more than just a couple of people then some changes may help.
Thoughts anyone?
pipemakermike
 
Posts: 206
Joined: Mon May 23, 2011 5:05 pm
Location: Cambridge England
Full Name: Mike Nelson

Re: To compete or not to compete - that is a question!

Postby Francis Wood » Tue Nov 19, 2013 1:55 pm

Off-topic, I know, but please sign posts if the user name isn't informative.

Francis
Francis Wood
 
Posts: 121
Joined: Sat May 29, 2010 7:38 pm

Re: To compete or not to compete - that is a question!

Postby workers and drones » Thu Nov 21, 2013 5:13 pm

Back on topic! - some very good ideas raised here so far. I like the sound of having area heats before the "big one" in the Chantry. I'm sure geographically there are hurdles for a lot of people and being a Saturday Morning means a very early start if travelling a distance or the expense of staying over from the Friday. I doubt however whether anything will change unless there are many more entrants initially followed by a pleading to shake thing up just a little bit! Better to take part and work from within than grumble from the outside! I also agree that very few do input preferring to read and passover. Set pieces - a good idea?.
workers and drones
 
Posts: 29
Joined: Tue Jun 21, 2011 8:18 pm

Re: To compete or not to compete - that is a question!

Postby John Gibbons » Thu Nov 21, 2013 11:56 pm

The point of heats is surely to narrow down a large field by allowing through the stronger competitors; I can't see they'd help a lot here, when the field is too small. Area heats as feeders make a lot of sense when the field is widely dispersed. With NSP, at least half the field live in a single county, while the rest are spread thin across the rest of the world. There is a blob of us in the south of England - but the area we cover is well dispersed. A trip to London for the South of England heats might be cheaper, but maybe less attractive than a trip to the main show in Morpeth.
The idea of heats might work, but it is unclear if it can awaken a latent interest - the interest may be absent, not latent.

John
John Gibbons
 
Posts: 182
Joined: Thu Jun 16, 2011 3:36 pm

Re: To compete or not to compete - that is a question!

Postby workers and drones » Sat Nov 23, 2013 8:51 pm

Not sure about heats? The point of area heats is that they may encourage entries locally rather than discourage on the grounds of being geographically isolated from the Morpeth competition. Just trying to look at things with a positive outlook and trying to induce some kind of get up and get involved attitude like mine!. Unfortunately in trying get some discussion going to hopefully throw up some good positive ideas that maybe the committee might look at I think Wallie got it right and most won't read and comment or give opinion. A final plea then, come on peeps make next years competitions a recent record entry!!.
workers and drones
 
Posts: 29
Joined: Tue Jun 21, 2011 8:18 pm

Re: To compete or not to compete - that is a question!

Postby Wallie Ogilvie » Sun Nov 24, 2013 10:49 am

I fear you're preaching to a small audience of the already converted through the forum. Maybe you should voice your view by writing something for the newsletter or magazine which would be sent to every member, thereby increasing the possibility of change or get actively involved with the committee and have more influence. Given the general lack of enthusiasm among the wider piping community for something non- competitive like TOTM, I wonder also if its generational. So many of the pipers are perceived as 'older' and maybe the stereotypes and and ingrained attitudes implied by that hinder us.
Wallie Ogilvie
 
Posts: 44
Joined: Fri May 27, 2011 3:16 pm

Re: To compete or not to compete - that is a question!

Postby workers and drones » Tue Dec 03, 2013 8:51 am

Once again I think many of the things you are saying are on the button! I have tried to be positive about encouraging all to get involved. Sadly for me my involvement is already limited by the number of winter months spent in the uk!. So I will call a final time for those solo male and females to give it a go next October!. This will be the last time I post. Kind regards to all. W&D.
workers and drones
 
Posts: 29
Joined: Tue Jun 21, 2011 8:18 pm


Return to General Forum

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest

cron