Thursday, July 8, 2010

The A Team

Band last night was uneventful. We mostly played the sets through beautifully the first time. The talk of the circle was that apparently Jason had got a cell phone. Mr. Anti-Technology. Somebody quipped: Next thing you know he'll be sending out his own emails. (Ian sends out all the emails: 'Jason says this, Jason says that'.)

Tonight was group lesson, but it was only Trevor and John and me. We PC'd through Josh's Monstrosity and Captain Colin Campbell. Then we did some tuning and repairing of tape and drones and tried Josh's on pipes from memory.
Last week, if you recall--if I even told you--I totally messed up this tune trying it on pipes. The really tricky parts of this tune is that it switches time signatures about 12 times over the length of the tune, and some rather awkward strikes. During this last week, on a couple of the cooler days, I practiced it on pipes and it got . . .mmm . . . a little better. So tonight I got through parts I and II no problem. Playing part III by itself was also no problem. It was when we tried I, II and III in sequence that I fell apart. Just couldn't get the bridge from II to III. All the parts start on E, and I couldn't remember if part III went up from E or down from E. I guessed 'up' and guessed wrong. That's what I'll be working on this week: I, II, III in sequence.
After the lesson Jason brought up Small Son's frustration with his strike-ins, so I went over the situation and what I suspected the problem was. I had explained all this to Sean just before the lesson and he had given me a new reed for SS to try. (I was going to give him my other Kinnaird tenor drone reed, but I couldn't find it when I got home.) We discussed the bag and the drone and chanter reeds, and some possibly solutions. All three of us are hopefull that SS's problem can be solved.
Then I gathered my courage and asked a question that I have been wondering about for awhile. I asked for brutal honesty in the answer. I sat down in preparation. The question was: am I a dependable piper. That is to say, I can be counted on to show up for practices and gigs on time, and to play the tunes well.
There was no hesitation in the answer: Yes. Absolutely. It has been quite a while that Jason has considered me to be one of the pipers he wants to have present at a gig or performance; the 'A' Team, if you want to call it that. I have improved greatly over the last 6 months, and as soon as I learn Josh's, I can participate in some small group medleys. My tone is good. Fingering, focus . . . I can't remember what all else he said, but it was all good. Much more than I expected.

I have achieved a lofty goal. I am content.

I had a gatorade and a salted nut roll to celebrate.

P.S. Jason actually got an iPhone. He made a recording of the group playing Josh's on it.
You heard it here first.

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