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Skype me 2 years 10 months ago #520

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I'm 400 miles south of where I want to be and a few million short of a Caribbean retreat. In the mean time I'm thinking of Skype as a way to get lessons to keep my border piping moving on. Who has tried it? What kit do you need and who is doing "advanced" lessons on border pipe in Scottish/contemporary style piping? Particular influences on my piping style are Gary West, Terry Tully and Gordon Duncan although it must be stressed that influence sadly does not equate to similarity! None of them are known for playing the BP either strangely enough.

Of known BP players I have more recently started to be won over by the fluidity of Fred Morrison's playing, particularly on the Outlands cd. I had often found his playing a little too bling for my taste but have started to appreciate the incredible virtuosity shown when the playing is for keeps, there is a joy in his expression that is outrageous in its movement. Ross Ainsley blows me away when he is letting go and I love the stuff he does with Jarlath (I am and always will be a very frustrated Uilleann piper). Of course Finn, Angus and Finlay all feature on the wish I could do that list along with Allan McDonald and Angus Nicholson. Well by now you should see quite clearly my interest and influence, albeit a sadly distant one.

I appreciate that anything I write here can often seem more of a blog than a posting but there is rarely any action on these boards so I just end up waffling on in a one way conversation. This is probably what will occur with my next suggestion but I'll try it anyway. Does the tech exist and is there any interest in a virtual play along? Can we do a border pipe session over the web?

Anyone tried this? ejamming.com/
Last Edit: 2 years 10 months ago by Tunni.
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Skype me 1 month 1 week ago #816

I want to take lessons too. I play the GHB, but I just started with border pipes and I can't even get them working. Ugh. I don't think there are any teachers around my area, so I was also thinking of Skype. Do you know of anyone advertising Skype lessons?
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Skype me 1 month 1 week ago #818

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Hi, stick with it, as I'm sure you will. The bellows set up had me flapping like old mother goose being chased off the nest when I first started but the saving grace was that the principles of the set up and the fingering are basically the same between the highland and border pipes. As you might have gathered from the rather Spartan responses to these boards you have entered a rather rarified field of endeavour. There is little chance of receiving much by way of useful response, from a wider community of players, here sadly.

I have struggled through my initial period of mystification and learning pretty much unaided except by my highland pipe background. It has been the only difference between me getting anywhere and having a very expensive extra box in the cupboard. I bought the last edition of "More Power" which I gather is being reedited but with due respect to those concerned I found it next to useless. I have barely opened it again.

The College of Piping does do skype lessons as do some of the people involved in the Pipers' Dojo over your side of the pond. Although primarily highland pipers you might find that there is someone available to give you a hand with the Borders. You are very unlikely to get any response through here though so approach them directly is my advice. best of luck and don't forget it's meant to be fun too.
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Skype me 1 month 1 week ago #819

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I'm going to qualify my comments re "More Power" a little. Personally speaking I found that there was little new information in the book that was relevant to where I was on my particular learning curve. My background on the highland pipe had covered much of the basics and the rest was pretty obvious. At that stage I didn't really care about the history or even have much interest in the repertoire. What I needed was real time guidance and assistance, a book no matter how well edited and conceived will never be able to give that.

I've said time and time again, I'll say it again too, that only an increase in the availability of and access to decent tutors will genuinely recreate a Lowland pipe tradition. At the moment we have an ersatz smallpipe revival based largely around highland piping, not the same thing.
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Skype me 1 month 1 week ago #822

I put out a request for help on the "welcome mat" part of the forum and someone offered to help me via Skype. Hopefully that will work. I will check out Piper's Dojo too though. I bought my GHB case from their page and they were really nice. I haven't heard anything about border pipes from them yet, so I'm eager to look.

Just like you, the bellows are what is getting me. I used to compete with the GHB in Grade IV, as a soloist and with a band, so I think I am in the same place as you were when you started.

The internet is NOT teaming with teachers, tutorials, or much of anything for the border pipes. The only thing that I can find consistently online is their history. Do you live in Scotland? Are border pipes unpopular there?

Kristen
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Skype me 1 month 3 days ago #823

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Well done for getting hold of someone, miracles never cease!

I'm a few hundred miles south of Scotland but I manage to get past the border guards, every now and again, to sit silently, hiding my accent, in the darkened corner of a session pub nursing a single pint of 20 shilling all night.

With respect to the borderpipe they are definitely a minority instrument. Most of the bellows pipe revival has been smallpipes because of 2 or 3 factors from what I can tell. First they are easier to play as they are considerably more forgiving of sloppy fingering. Secondly borderpipes appear considerably louder, mostly because of the pitch but also because they are generally a bit louder and a lot of people aren't comfortable coming to the fore when playing. Thirdly it's a lot easier to just stick your highland pipe repertoire on to a smallpipe and call it done than try and learn new fingering and new music.

As for the "popularity" as opposed to frequency, they probably aren't that popular either, for a couple of reasons. Quite a few people who have them can't really play them that well, which doesn't endear. Secondly the strummers and pluckers who tend to rule the roost in so many sessions these days are kind of used to seeing lots of pretty green lights on their digital tuning gizmos, they often don't understand just tuning and will great you with rude comments about an instrument that is tuned to A but playing in G, for example. There are notable exceptions to this who should be greatly applauded but sadly outside of a few strong holds, folk music has become a pastime of the suburbs that has been commandeered by would be elites. Would be, that is.
Last Edit: 1 month 3 days ago by Tunni.
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