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Subject: Solo or Band


Author:
Terry Moss
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Date Posted: 12:14:30 03/01/02 Fri

Hello,

I've been playing for about a year now (on the pipes alone and practice chanter for 8 months before that). I've been moving along fairly well and I spoke to my instructor about what to do next, join a band or stay solo. He laid out some pros and cons of each but I wanted to get more opinions. It seems the only benefit of a band is cost of uniforms and other things, but he didn't really think staying solo was going to hurt me as a piper.

To be honest, I enjoy playing solo so much. Would not joining a band hurt my advancement in piping? I have a great high grade instructor so I am constantly working properly, but are there any advantages to a band that I may miss out on? What do you think?

Thanks,
Terry

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Replies:
[> Subject: Re: Solo or Band


Author:
InFavorof Band
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Date Posted: 19:53:37 03/01/02 Fri

Terry

Playing solo is nice. But there's no feeling better than winning a competition with 15 plus people. And in a good situation, those people will be very tight friends.

Solo playing and band playing is a little different, but join a band.

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[> Subject: Re: Solo or Band


Author:
Paul Hinson
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Date Posted: 13:50:15 03/02/02 Sat

Band playing is fun until the politics and personality conflicts start rearing their ugly heads. Unless you're lucky enough to have a pipe band close by, you also have travel factors to deal with...that's why I'm no longer in a band. I enjoyed playing parades over band competitions. Playing the "tunes of glory" through a concrete canyon with the bass drum echoing off the building walls and the band sound stretching out well ahead of the band...beat standing in a competition circle any day in my book.

I have always been a solo player at heart though. I guess it's because I started piping outside a band environment. I always had two repertoires...the band stuff and the solo stuff, the latter being the more complex and challenging. Besides, I've not heard too many bands tackle piobaireachd.

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[> [> Subject: Re: Solo or Band


Author:
Brian MacColl
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Date Posted: 15:32:02 03/06/02 Wed

I could not have said it better. 9 times out of 10 you're going to be in a band with people you would never choose as friends. And most of the trouble makers are the people who play the least and play the worst. If you do join a good band, hopefully you can spend a lot of time with the better players, and leave the gossip hounds in the bar with their parade sets. :)

Good luck, young man.


>Band playing is fun until the politics and personality
>conflicts start rearing their ugly heads.

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[> Subject: Re: Solo or Band


Author:
Peter Kosmoski
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Date Posted: 11:52:03 03/04/02 Mon

Terry, how is your endurance on the pipes coming along? The biggest advantage to my joining a band was increased stamina. Peer pressure, it seems, really helps build endurance on the instrument!

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[> Subject: Re: Solo or Band


Author:
Stormy
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Date Posted: 08:35:37 03/05/02 Tue

There is no problem with combining both solo and band. Joining a band of a standard that suits you will provide further experience.
Many of the G1 bandsmen are also top solo competitors and often after competing with the band will then enter the solos.
Go for it!

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[> Subject: Re: Solo or Band


Author:
Guinneach
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Date Posted: 04:38:47 03/31/02 Sun

In my band, we have a guy who played solo for many years and he was never in a band until he joined us a year ago. Since then, his playing has improved tenfold. May or may not work depending on the individual player, but playing in a solid band will definitely help with your phrasing and embellishments...(you won't believe how differently people play taorluaths until you try to get 15 people playing them dead on together!). I am lucky in that I am a founding member of a band that started in 1995 and is composed of a lot of guys who enjoy each other's company. We spend a lot of time together outside of rehearsal. Most guys I talk to say that their involvement with a band helps their individual performance.

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[> Subject: Re: Solo or Band


Author:
Neil
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Date Posted: 15:16:37 04/01/02 Mon

>Hello,
>
>I've been playing for about a year now (on the pipes
>alone and practice chanter for 8 months before that).
>I've been moving along fairly well and I spoke to my
>instructor about what to do next, join a band or stay
>solo. He laid out some pros and cons of each but I
>wanted to get more opinions. It seems the only
>benefit of a band is cost of uniforms and other
>things, but he didn't really think staying solo was
>going to hurt me as a piper.
>
>To be honest, I enjoy playing solo so much. Would not
>joining a band hurt my advancement in piping? I have
>a great high grade instructor so I am constantly
>working properly, but are there any advantages to a
>band that I may miss out on? What do you think?
>
>Thanks,
>Terry

BAND ADVANTAGES
Potential for good crack. Forces you to learn new tunes not of your own choosing. Teaches you how to blow a tone (recently an accomplished soloist joined our band. Great fingers, but couldn't get his head round the idea of blowing to a common pitch). Exposes you to people with a wide range of piping experience that you can learn from (no tutor knows everything, no matter how good they are).
BAND DISADVANTAGES
No way round it, politics is the big one. On the other hand if all the normal people leave bands to the egotistical backbiters then things will never improve.
The band I'm currently in was rotten with politicians, but they all left in a huff after one AGM. We kid ourselves that we rebuilt the band without the politics, but I bet we'll all fall out again eventually. It's the artistic temprement don't ya know! >-)
Bottom line: try band piping. If you find that you hate all your nearest bands you can go back to solos without having lost anything, and you might gain some new friends, or at least new tunes.

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[> Subject: Re: Solo or Band


Author:
Kimberly
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Date Posted: 01:04:27 04/04/02 Thu

>Hello,
>
>I've been playing for about a year now (on the pipes
>alone and practice chanter for 8 months before that).
>I've been moving along fairly well and I spoke to my
>instructor about what to do next, join a band or stay
>solo. He laid out some pros and cons of each but I
>wanted to get more opinions. It seems the only
>benefit of a band is cost of uniforms and other
>things, but he didn't really think staying solo was
>going to hurt me as a piper.
>
>To be honest, I enjoy playing solo so much. Would not
>joining a band hurt my advancement in piping? I have
>a great high grade instructor so I am constantly
>working properly, but are there any advantages to a
>band that I may miss out on? What do you think?
>
>Thanks,
>Terry






I say do both!

Playing in a good competition band will dramatically improve your stamina, your ability to blow steady tone, your ability to play controlled and on the beat, and introduce you to a huge variety of music/tunes. And of course not to forget the new bandmates, friends, piping contacts, instructors, etc you'll make and all the cool places and games you'll get to go to that you may not have been able to do/go on your own!

The disadvantages of being in a band in my opinion are: the time committment to weekly band practices, etc., long distance driving to practices if not local, getting stuck with dictator always-screaming-at-you PM or instructor, negative band personalities that are always bad mouthing other bands or players.

For solos, it's one thing to be able to blend in with a band and place well, but to me it's a lot more to be able to stand on your own in solos and place well. You can't hide mistakes or left out gracenoting!! Solos will improve your technical and musical skills dramatically, especially if you have a top notch instructor who is supportive! that's key! I see no disadvantages to solos unless you are terrified to play infront of a judge...and that's what they make beta blockers for!! :)

Bottom line, choose your band wisely! Ask around about different bands, their personalities, are they competition or parade only, etc before committing to a band. There are some great ones out there! Hope that helps!
Kimberly

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[> Subject: Re: Solo or Band


Author:
Kay
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Date Posted: 08:46:00 04/10/02 Wed



How true!!! A lot of bands can be helpful - but a lot can be hurtful.

If you can't find a band that is right for you, you can get some of the advantages stated here by playing piobaireachd. I have learned to blow good tone and increased my stamina through focusing on piobaireachd. Plus, it's just a neat form of music, IMHO.

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[> Subject: Re: Solo or Band


Author:
Evian Repyp
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Date Posted: 17:10:55 04/24/02 Wed

- Sounds to me like you really want to stay solo.....
I would find a teacher who has won solo competitions, explain to him/her your goals, and go for it.

Bands tend to push tunes....
Solo tends to push technique (ya can't hide behind the 10 stong pipers!)

If you are not disciplined enough to practice, focus, and give it all, then go with a band cuz you will need the peer pressure to motivate you.

You'll still make friends at all the comps. And when you start taking prizes, you'll be surprised at how many new friends you'll make!!

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