Friday, September 14, 2007

Last night was my group lesson, including instructor (and pipe major ) Jason (the bald guy at right) and co-students Sande, Pete, Lee, Drew, and Garth. The funnest part about lessons and band practice is the socializing with other band members. Sande is the only other female piper in the Grade IV (the not-so-hot piping division) band besides me and is a fire . . . person. Lee is a beginner older than me, and likes to tease people. He's fun to banter with and he's a Presbyterian pastor. Dave, in band, started about the same time as I did, is about my age, and is a good friend. He's a claims adjuster. Drew is a funny kid about 14. Pete is a very kind person and can do a great Scots accent. He's also about my same age. I'm not going to tell you if they are short or tall; everybody is short to me.

We worked on practice chanters (hereafter referred to as PC's which are plastic tubes with holes for your fingers that match bagpipe chanter holes and one to blow in and one for the sound to come out of)

and then on pipes. My pipe chanter reed was a hand-me-over from Lee, who was sure it was possessed and never wanted to see it again. Bagpipe music involes only 9 notes, no flats or sharps or octaves. All my 9 notes were fine last night except high A which was flat, such that I had to blow harder to make it true. Jason got frustrated with my sliding up to high A, and gave me a new reed which is as near to perfect as an imperfect thing such as a chanter reed can be.

After practice, Jason said I was doing well, and then said he noticed whenever he pointed out something I was doing wrong in piping, the next week it was fixed, pretty much. I almost cried! Jason doesn't give compliments very often; he usually just gets frustrated and angry when things are going wrong. It's amazing how much a compliment can buoy you up. So I'm hoping with this journal to increase the number of days I practice on pipes (did you know that if you practice on pipes every day, they stay in better tune?) and chart my improvement and/or ups and downs.

I just realized I left my music at the center. . .

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