There haven't been posts, not because I haven't practiced, but because I haven't been near a computer that I could comfortably use.
We took a weekend trip to Idaho to visit family and to see a little-visited part of Yellowstone Park called Bechler (pronounced beck-ler) Falls, down in the southwest corner. It was very entertaining. A stellar jay followed us back to our car. Handsome Husband found a Spiderman mask on the trail. We saw waterfalls and squirrels and we thought we saw a bear track, but it was only two horseshoe prints, one on top and a little to one side of the other, so that was all right. Small Son and Daughter #3 enjoyed spending time with their cousins. Handsome Husband got to spend time with his brother. And I? I practiced!!!
Yes, I did! The first day (Sunday) I went out to the middle of a field and practiced in the cold morning air. Did terribly, but I did practice. The second day (Monday), I went into their garage (it was empty) and practiced. I did very well, but the acoustics . . . I forgot my earplugs and there was nothing in that garage to stop the sound. Tuesday we drove home early and I slept and comforted (I thought) Daughter #1 instead of practicing. (Turns out I just made things worse for her, but at least I got her a cup of tea and some tissue and some of the time listened to her.) Then I went to Band Tryouts.
If you remember, this was #1 on The List. I had to wait for awhile for my turn to come, and mostly everybody talked about other things, or how nervous they were and how they couldn't remember how this or that tune went. Nobody said how their tryout went, or if they were still in the band or not. Then it was My Turn.
I walked into the back room, already scary because it is full of powerful electric tools and skeletons of pipes. There was the PM, behind a partition, rather like the Wizard of Oz the first time Dorothy went to see him. I expected green flames! But he was calm and smiling. I advised him that I get nervous at the least possible thing. He said soothing things but I figured he was lying. I got out my pipes and he shaved my reed and then tuned them up while I played a couple of tunes from our medley. I tried to play them on beat and correctly, in case that was part of the test. Of course he asked me to play the Smith's Set, of which I always have trouble remembering the beginning. Thankfully, all that Idaho practice time on that particular set helped me out, and I played right through until he told me to stop. "Very well done," was his comment. Then he asked me to play Farewell to Nigg, and I thought it out in my head a little bit and got through half of that before he asked me to stop. I got an "excellent" on that. Then we got out PC's and did some of the medley tunes, and I got "exactly on" and "you're even getting the nuances" comments, so I felt calmer. He also said I needed to work on:
playing less tense (then I'll fall into my style and really have fun)
Blowing is still not quite steady
Other good comments:
I've improved amazingly since the end of August when I put down the bass drum
My fingers were right on
I'm getting the -- what did he call it?--phrasing or something.
And . . . I'm still in the band, I get to keep my kilt and play gigs, and
I am NOT the worse piper in the band any more.
And The List is now decreased by one.