A new teaching item has been aded to the Piping Press Shop, writes the Editor.
Classic Strathspeys & Reels features many of the standard competition tunes.
Each is played by myself at practice tempo and then closer to performance tempo on the practice chanter.
This means the student can play along with the recording and get a good idea of how the tune should be presented.
Here’s a free sampler:
At only £2 a tune this learning facility is very competitively priced. The PP Shop already has Classic 2/4 Marches, Classic Piobaireachd and Beginner Piobaireachd sections with each tune costing only £2 to download.
All proceeds from the shop go towards keeping Piping Press subscription free, so if you are among our thousands of regular readers please support us if you can.
Learn more about how to play strathspeys here.
Learn more about reels here.
Now listen to an expert March, Strathspey and Reel player, Hugh MacCallum, playing in the Former Winners’ MSR at the Argyllshire Gathering, Oban, in 1971.
His tunes are the Ross-shire Volunteers, Tulloch Gorm and Dr MacPhail. Particularly impressive in this live recording are his control, his technique and his deft pointing and phrasing.
Hugh is pictured at the top of this article competing at the Skye Gathering circa 1970. The judges are DR MacLennan (right) and Angus Macpherson, Invershin (centre).
Another teaching aid comes in the form of the Piping Press Academy revised exam syllabus which is now available on the PP website.
There is a wide selection exams for Novice Piping, Piping and for Piobaireachd.
Each level is attained in small increments. This gives the student attainable targets at each stage of learning.
Exams can be taken in person or over the internet.
The emphasis is firmly on practicalities – how well and cleanly the candidate plays. There are no written papers.
To quote the Syllabus: ‘Accuracy of fingering is paramount. For certificate one the basic scale is either played correctly or it is not.
‘Similarly, at all subsequent grades all the doublings, taorluaths and other movements must be played accurately.
‘It is acceptable for them to be played a little on the slow side in the earlier grades but not so slowly that the rhythm of the movement is lost.
‘The importance of establishing the correct finger positions and accuracy in playing the basic notes and movements cannot be over emphasised….’
These exams give the student a comprehensive yet inexpensive means of gauging their progress. Find out more here.