so people have asked me - hey rachel, wtf with the bagpipes?
the number one answer is “because they’re effing awesome, that’s why. duh.”
but i suppose there are other reasons. i want to compete with a pipe band, for one. more specifically, the City of Chicago Pipe Band. they do competitions and i love the way they sound and look and the music and everything. it just seems really really fun.
i also really want to be able to play a song with Enter the Haggis. :) Or maybe Flatfoot 56. or Gaelic Storm. or Dropkick Murphys. OR even maybe get one of my singer-songwriter friends (*ahem* Andy Hannon, Mike Mentzer, or Matt Ryd) to do a guitar/bagpipe jam set. How awesome would that be?
and i love the way they sound. and yes - part of the appeal is that they’re hard to learn. and take a long time. and not everybody does it (or appreciates it). There’s something to be said for having an interest in something that isn’t totally mainstream locally.
so - for those of you who may have been curious - this is why i picked the bagpipes. :)
official lessons are over. the next steps are for me to continue to practice the basics… and then talk to pat about continuing lessons with the band later. there is going to be a little bit of conflict since they meet on mondays and i have a monday night class starting the monday after next - but i’ll figure it out :)
I almost forgot! So the classes I’m taken are given at the Irish American Heritage Center in chicago, but they’re provided by a member of the City of Chicago Pipe Band. And they’re playing at the Guinness day festival at the center. You should get tickets and come see them play! (Gaelic Storm is playing too.) So, this video is the City of Chicago Pipe Band performing. Maybe in 3-5 years (ish) I’ll be one of them!
So, I have one class left in my summer session of learning to play bagpipes. Given the fact that we only met once a week for an hour and the class size was continually changing, I think we got a lot done. I have some of the basic basics down now. I know the fingering for the notes, have the basic movement down for some of the more basic of the fast moves (can’t do them fast, but that’ll come), and actually learned a few songs.
What I have to do now is decide what I’m going to do next. I think that probably what I’m going to do next is keep the packet i have, and the book that i’d bought before the class (along with the CDs), and work on really practicing and getting the basic stuff down by the end of the year. Then as part of my 2011 resolution stuff I’m going to sign up for actual lessons. maybe i’ll be ready for actual real pipes come january of 2012! right now that’s the goal. we’ll see how i do. i need to talk to Patrick (he’s the guy doing the lessons) on what he thinks. given my totally horrendous performance in class this week (shush, i was sick and grumpy) i’m sure he’ll totally be on board with me practicing a bunch more before joining the group to get lessons through them.
So that’s it. maybe after my last class i’ll record myself playing! won’t that be.. um… fun?
Just say yes. it’ll make me feel better. :)
after the first few weeks of bagpipe class (which is still totally awesome, btw) - what I need to do this week is make flashcards. I can officially play London Bridge (is falling down), and the scale - but I learned both by pattern, not by notes. I’m having a little trouble reconciling the holes to the notes on the scale. So that’s the challenge for this week. Hopefully the flashcards will work - otherwise I’ll have to get somebody to come quiz me…. which would be a tough thing to do, because I still sorta sound like some sort of sick goose. :)
So - tonight was the first night of bagpipe class. There are about 12 or 13 of us in the class, all adults. There’s a little kid too, who is learning with his dad - but he had a private class tonight since he was the only kid.
There’s going to be a LOT to learn. I mean, I knew there was going to be a bunch, but having it all laid out there is kind of overwhelming. Thankfully most of the people in the class are at the same level of “oh crap this is hard” that I am. But I’m going to have a really good time. And I’m going to learn a lot. :)
… because I just heard back about the bagpipe class. I am IN! So classes start on Monday, 7/19 and I believe that it is a six-week course. After that I’ll be looking at my next steps. Should be an adventure!
So I heard back from the class organizer (sorta) - he didn’t actually answer any of my questions - but his email said that they were still organizing the class and that they’d put me on the list and I should hear something again soon in a couple of weeks. YAY!
So I’m waiting right now to hear back, but the plan is to start official pipe lessons at the Irish American Heritage Center here in the city. The sign up process is a little less automated than I’m used to - I have an email in - you can only sign up over phone or email, but the phone goes to some guy’s home number. So if he doesn’t email me back by Monday afternoon I’ll call him after work tomorrow.
What that means is that Monday nights starting mid-July and the for six weeks, I’ll be up at the heritage center getting actual instruction. Which, after the first few days of trying to self-teach? I’m pretty sure I’m going to need.
It’ll be different, for sure - but I can only imagine that it’ll be superfun!
tonight I learned to put together the chanter (I think it’s right), and work on some basic fingering (teehee). I’m not entirely sure I have the fingers right, but I do know that now my hands hurt like crazy. And it takes a LOT of air to keep a steady note. But so far, so good! Step one conquered! (step one was to actually get started, btw)
Great news! I tracked my practice chanter this morning and found this delightful gem of a message:June 22, 2010 04:16:00 AM Chicago IL US Out for delivery
This makes me a very happy camper! So I should get it here today. Inside I’m all SQUEEEEEE!
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