The challenge of writing a daily blog is having material to write. My students give me what I need on a daily basis. In a previous blog, I wrote about memorizing tunes. I had a student come in tonight who was trying to memorize Johnny Scobie. I had him play it for me. The problem that he was having was that we wasn't anywhere near ready to memorize this tune.
There are 4 steps to tune development. You can't move to the next step until the step you're on is completed. These steps are:
1)Fingering-you have to work out and drill all of the fingering problems so that the fingering is smooth before you add duration or rhythm to the tune.
2)Rhythm-I believe that when your fingering is fluid, you can then define the rhythm (with a pencil) and practice saying the rhythm syllables to create the inflection of the tune. You can then apply that to the fingering.
3)Expression- is created when the fingering and the rhythm match. We can then work on stressing certain beats to create the right expression. Once you have this happening, your brain will hear the tune for what it is and you'll be able to sing it.
4)Memorization-only happens when you know the tune. You can't memorize something that isn't completed. Being able to sing the tune will certainly make memorizing the tune a quick and easy process.
Remember this should be fun. If you follow the natural process above, you will solve all of you musical problems on this great instrument."
Gary Guth is a professional bagpiper with over 45 years of playing experience and has been teaching bagpipes full time for the last 20 years. He has written "Bagpipes For Beginners", "the Bagpipe Hymnal", and " A Piper's Christmas".