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Subject: Re: Solo or Band


Author:
Neil
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Date Posted: 15:16:37 04/01/02 Mon
In reply to: Terry Moss 's message, "Solo or Band" on 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

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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Replies:
[> Subject: Re: Solo or Band


Author:
Kimberly
[ Edit | View ]

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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