November through to January have traditionally been my fallow practice months. In part, because I’ve been fed up with piping and needed time away and, part because I know time away from practice is a very good and healthy thing, especially when that practice is regular and intense. I’ve always felt better about piping after a good break. That’s got to be a good sign of a good “training” regimen. I recommend planned time away from piping – or drumming – or any crazy intense pursuit.
When its time to get back to the bags and the piping way of things I’ve always found piping music books a great motivator. Flipping through pages and playing each tune, revisiting old phrases and melodic turns somehow kick-starts my interest. Through this MBFA (music book flipping activity) motivation technique I’ve not only reignited interest but have often learned many gems once over-looked in haste, or through the fingers of a less-experienced – or different – version of myself. I like music books for their neat and tidy snapshot of a composer’s way of thinking, his taste, his way of seeing his musical world all in one slim volume.
There’s a vibe to a good music book and usually a strong thread of brand excellence. Consider a simple book/word association:
- John Wilson Book 1 & 4-parted jigs
- Donald MacLeod Book 1 & competition strathspeys
- G S McLennan’s Book & big technique
- John MacFadyen Book 2 & 4-parted hornpipes
Anyway, need some motivation, a kick-start, fresh eyes on your piping? Grab your chanter and a music book and go crazy.
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