Sunday, October 18, 2009

Dolphins Two: Conversation with a Friend Interested in Learning the Scottish Highland Bagpipe

A Conversation (in the social networking site of Facebook) with a friend interested in learning the Scottish Highland Bagpipe:


... {Uilleann bagpipes} They're beautiful, but I've never played them ...


They're certainly better for indoor playing ...


It looks like there are 85 different bagpipes on this list ( ...


Confession: I'm really blown away by good teachers! I have a love/ hate relationship with my own teaching. And I'm REALLY excited by the little I've seen of your work.


It sounds like you've taught before :):)

Great teachers are a boon, but learning an instrument takes focus for a long time

How to get to 'flow' experiences while learning fingering is a question I wonder about?


It's a kind of "singing' with your body, isn't it?


Canntaireachd (pr. Cantroch) in Scots' Gaelic

(Scottish Gaelic: literally, "chanting") is the ancient Scottish Highland method of noting classical pipe music or Ceòl Mòr by a combination of definite syllables, by which means the various tunes could be more easily recollected by the learner, and could be more easily transmitted orally (from Wikipedia)

This is a fun way


Hence the name 'chanter'?

Good for learning an illegal instrument


I think so - very true ...


The hardest thing I ever dabbled in was tabla

they have great verbalizations

very simple


Check out the Tabla lessons at World University & School:

Was the verbalizing fun in Tabla?


Very fun, but so much work.


There are both beginning bagpipe and tabla tutorials at World Univ & Sch (which I'm developing)

What an instrument ... :):)


What's with the virtual worlds? That's so cool!


It helps to have its polyrhythms 'in the air' around one from birth, I bet

for tabla

Virtual worlds and the web open amazing possibilities for learning and teaching ... (I've taught "Society and Information Technology" online, for example) ... and the internet opens creative opportunities ... for teaching in virtual worlds ... and

for open teaching and learning ...

but with music teaching, one-to-one is still vital ... (and doable with video conferencing and the internet now from anywhere)


My Hindustani slide guitar teacher says that if a 4 year old can't hear 13 over 9, for example, teachers don't bother with him!


:):) Have you seen these guidelines for practicing a musical instrument -


piping is more familiar and possibly more straightforward - Ceòl Beag (light music), that is - than music with 13/9 timings, but not perhaps Piobairreachd (Pibroch - or Ceòl Mòr - classical bagpipe music), in my experience, which has very unique timings


I just read them before I spotted you online. beautiful, but challenging


practical in some ways ... and focused ... every musician gets to flow in their own ways



I play bluegrass banjo. Lots of roots in Scots melodies and rhythms


"How can I get to Carnegie Hall?" - the joke goes - someone on the street in NY asks a taxi driver. The driver replied "Practice, practice, practice ..."

That helps a lot, Thomas


everyone calls me Doug, but once in a while I like the sound of Thomas.




I've taught, guitar, harmonica, electric bass, banjo, mandolin, steel guitar, judo, tai chi, and on and on...


impressively polymusical


The consciousness work is my favorite way of working with people, really


:):) Where do you want to be musically in, say, four years?


everything winds up being that in the end

Concrete goals


in so many ways ... consciousness and beginner's mind can be very present-making


I want to be able to perform on the pipes in the next year

The instrument is still such a mystery to me...


Cool - To play with straight fingers, to learn grace notes and doublings, while learning beautiful tunes, is part of the process ...


streight fingers! I saw that in the chanter booklet. That was hard to even think about, but I see that I can feel the holes that way1


My typing is terrible


Learning the SPECIFIC fingerings is giving me fits!


It's part of the 'bicycle riding' of piping ... not sure how it emerges from the depths of time ... perhaps fingers are more percussive that way (straight) ... but that's piping - it makes doublings and grace notes easy, I think


the guitarist in me wants to just uncover the holes sequentially, but that's clearly a mistake I would have to unlearn later

Maybe that's from all that marching around in the cold!

(streight fingers)

Those guys were clearly no pantywaists.


:):) We might begin with the green "The College of Piping Highland Bagpipe Tutor, Pt. 1" - yes, it's a form ...

Not quite sure how to get to Tabla like 13/9 polyrhythms, metaphorically, without learning 'The first 6 letters: Ta Tee Tin, Da Dhee Dhin' (per the online video at World University & School - ...


Exactly ... the bagpipe has made it through centuries of cold weather ...


Is there any air pressure delivered directly from the piper's mouth through the actual pipes or is it all pressure on the bag?

Is that clear?

I'm used to using my mouth shape to 'bend' notes on the harmonica....

Will i be squeezing the bag for that?


Generally you play the practice chanter for around 6 months to a year and then move to the bagpipe where you only blow through a blowpipe (and your mouth never comes near a reed while playing), and sometimes via an intermediary instrument called a goose, which is just bag, blowpipe and chanter, but has no drones - and is easier than the full bagpipe, and where you learn how to blow into the bag and play music at the same time

The cafe I'm in is closing now ...

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