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Postby workers and drones » Wed Dec 05, 2012 6:57 pm

Played now for almost 2 years and now on the verge of giving up - a feeling of sink or swim comes to mind and the lack of a group which I feel I can join in with leaves little option but to play on my own and find a way forward to develop what I think is a style of my own whether this sticks with the traditions of current playing methods or not! or maybe just stop playing altogether; the crossroads has been reached! The problem is that all groups are run on very similar lines with memory, and rotational choice playing taking place always with little or no deviation from this method. You seem to have to fall into one of two categories - an absolute beginner where there may be some guidance and some fairly easy tunes are played or you miraculously become an expert player aquiring overnight the thousands of tunes in the memory bank ready to pull to the fore at a split-seconds notice; there seems to be a big void in the middle! My guess is that there will be others who may feel there is a gradual progressive stepping up of groups catching all at different entry levels and encouraging a progressive path - I haven't found this to be the case. One certainty is that if I continue to play I will have developed on my own or found help from sources which have the time to personalise their guidance towards what could be the next stage of development for me. My assistance and advice to new pipers is glean, badger, demand as much as you can from whoever you can get it from initially, then go it alone!. Anybody know a good teacher!! or a group which works in a different way?
workers and drones
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Joined: Tue Jun 21, 2011 8:18 pm

Re: Beginners

Postby GrahamRB » Wed Dec 05, 2012 8:28 pm

Hi Ws&Ds
Whereabouts are you located... UK/US/wherever, N, S, E or W ?
The range of tune knowledge (beginner to encyclopaedic) is about the same for any 'folk' type instrument, it takes time to build a repertoire and then one finds that t'other fellah has but few in common! Rest assured that amongst us mortals not everyone knows every tune.

From my very limited experience I've found that most groups will explore tunes held in common and accommodate those with only a few under their belt. The other advantage of a group is that you'll hear new (to you) tunes and benefit from being able to simply sit and listen... an essential part of the learning process.

I have two groups within 30-45 miles but the fuel costs are prohibitive and I don't relish an hour or so drive each way at this time of year when the weather can be a bit iffy! As much as I'd like tuition the fees plus travelling put it out of reach... that said, I'll be looking to go along to one of the Piping days (esp. if there's something for beginners) when it fits in with commitments.

Have you tried a Piping Day? Are there any tutors using Skype or similar that might be able to help you?

Maybe it's time for a beginners 'Tune of the Moment'*, preferably not visible to the world and his dog, where the more experienced could give constructive guidance...

*Given the uptake of TotM it may take some time before it's taken up ;)

A personal view on giving up ... if it's still giving pleasure, don't! If it's not then do!
N. Cambs/S. Lincs
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Location: North Cambs/South Lincs
Full Name: GrahamRB

Re: Beginners

Postby Wallie Ogilvie » Wed Dec 05, 2012 11:21 pm

It's a shame the society does not have any online tutoring. When I stated piping in the late 80's I had never played an instrument nor read music, and at the time would probably have found the prospect of going to a group of experienced pipers rather intimidating until I could grasp the basics. As a result of having no local group it was just me and Richard Butlers tutor book and a few records. Over the last couple of years I have got more involved with my piping, and do now enjoy playing with a local group every month, but I found that recording myself and hearing and sharing the results has provided the push that I needed, as I could hear my faults and attempt to correct them. I consider myself an intermediate piper of average ability, but would be happy to offer online help via, email, or skype to any beginner if they thought it would help. I would have leapt at such an opportunity had it been available when I started! So Worker & drones, don't give up yet, get in touch! With so many good pipers around now is it too much to ask for the society to organise a list of members who would be prepared to offer online help or mentoring to new pipers?
Wallie Ogilvie
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Joined: Fri May 27, 2011 3:16 pm

Re: Beginners

Postby Dally » Thu Dec 06, 2012 7:19 am

John Liestman's book is a must nowadays, although I too started on my own with Richard Butler's book and a few cassettes/albums. With today's technology (skype, etc.) it would seem a cry for help could easily be answered.
Truth be told, ever since I started piping (1979) more help has come from outside the NPS than from within. This is changing, however, and more power to the powers of change!
"The problem with the French is that they don't have a word for entrepreneur." - George W. Bush
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Location: Vashon Island, Washington State, USA
Full Name: John Dally

Re: Beginners

Postby Matt Seattle » Thu Dec 06, 2012 7:53 am

If you are who I think you are, already an expert player on other instruments, then I understand your problem. Pipes takes time. Pipes is hard. Harder than other instruments. Many remain beginners, often contented to be so, but if you have in your head the sound you are searching for but can't get it onto the instrument, it's frustrating. If the wish is there, the help will come.
Matt Seattle
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Full Name: Matt Seattle

Re: Beginners

Postby workers and drones » Thu Dec 06, 2012 9:12 pm

Many thanks for all the comments and helpful suggestions. I'm not sure what I'm going to do yet - but its clear that I need something else - expert technical guidance on playing technique, practise issues and how to overcome and a structured path through the repertoire both past and current. I'm not saying that playing in a large group isn't a good idea for some or maybe most or maybe me! as this seems to be the common ground in all the groups I've tried (I've now tried 5 different venues) and I may be able to fit in in order to sound the same as the person standing/sitting next to me, actually I don't know if I want that. However my path now seems to be to try and source my needs from as many of the finest players that I can find assuming they're willing to part with such knowledge! Many thanks for the kind comments anyway. W & D
workers and drones
Posts: 29
Joined: Tue Jun 21, 2011 8:18 pm

Re: Beginners

Postby Francis Wood » Thu Jan 24, 2013 9:35 am

Hello W&D,

You describe a stage which is probably familiar to everyone who is a player of NSPs - that sense that the whole thing is too difficult and that an expectation of future pleasure and interest is ruined by present frustration and discomfort. There are survivors but many fall at this stage.

While some choose to have tuition (if a teacher is within reach) others people manage to persist after only a little personal help from another skilled player. However brief, this is usually necessary and it does need to be on a one-to-one basis, rather than in the context of a busy pub session.

Long experience of teaching beginners has made it evident that relatively few new players begin with pipes that are fit to play. Sometimes that can be rectified quite easily and occasionally it needs a lot more intervention. But it does need a level of skill beyond that of the beginner-piper to determine whether it is inexperience or a need for adjustment in the instrument that is causing the major difficulty.

This in itself is no criticism of pipe-makers. It is in the nature of the instrument to require an unusual level of maintenance and adjustment and changes in environment ( season, humidity and temperature etc) can bring about differences which need attention. However, some pipes do work straight out of the box and this should be a more frequent experience.

If you decide to persist it would certainly be worth attending a pipes course, even if that is the only tuition you decide to get.

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

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