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  • Author:Palmer Shonk
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Get back to basics in the Fall!

Fall is upon us, and for most bagpipers in Pittsburgh, and through out the U.S. and Canada, the competition and performance season is beginning to wind down. Now, many Pittsburgh bagpipers will still have to perform at funerals and/or weddings, as I do, but, it’s always a good idea to take a small break, and get back to basics over this fall and winter. What do I mean by that?? I’ve listed a few items to work on in order to improve your playing and your performance ability.

1. Exercises – Now, I don’t mean going out for a jog, but rather, playing technical exercises on the practice chanter with or without a metronome. It’s important to take some time in the fall to work on technique, and working on any issues you may have been dealing with over the spring/summer time. Get back to playing basic movements, properly, and with consistency!

2. Maintenance – Re-hemping your pipes, or re-taping your chanter for instance, are great ways to make your bagpipes more airtight and efficient to play. Having fresh tape put on your chanter will help you be more in tune when you strike up your pipes to practice, or play for a funeral, birthday party, or such.

3. New tunes – Refresh your repertoire by learning some brand new tunes during the fall and winter. It’s great to take your mind off of competition music, be it band or solo. Also, for playing gigs, it’s important to have a varied list of music available to play for events, and customers often make requests. Learning new tunes may increase the chances of you knowing a tune requested by a potential customer!

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