Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Dunshire Bagpipe Forum 5/2/06 - 5/3/06

Piper's effect on solo drummer in competition? (my thread about playing for my son's solo competition)

How much attention does/should the judge pay to the piper in a solo snare drum competition?My 11 year old son will be competing for the first time this year as a solo snare drummer. I'll be competing for the first time as a piper. His instructor has strongly suggested that I play for him and I have reluctantly agreed - I'll be doing the same 2/4 for him that I'll be doing for my solo. I feel pretty comfortable with it, but I'd hate to make a mistake and screw it up for him. He's a better drummer than I am a piper.I watched a grade I competition and the piper's chanter reed froze up a couple of times (minor disaster). The drummer kept going and so did the piper, but he didn't win. There were two competitors, and both were very good so I couldn't really tell if it was the piper that cost him the win or his performance.


Originally posted by Bruce:As a solo drummer you get the most accomplished piper you can lay your hands on.

Follow up:

Does your comment mean you are worried about how the piper will effect your performance or how it will effect the judge's score?As a judge, what are you looking for in the performance between piper and drummer? If the piper crushes an embellishment, or worse - chokes up for a measure or cuts out completely, but the drummer plays the best score of his life, will his score suffer even though he came through?What about the other way around? The drummer does a mediocre job, but the piper plays fantastic. Can the piper's good playing effect the score the other way?


Originally posted by Bruce:A number of things the piper does can impact the drummer. If their meter is off, where they tend to rush through easy parts and slow down during difficult parts. A piper may forget a part or repeating a part. No the judge isn't judging the piper, but a nervous or inexperienced piper can really hurt the drummer's performance. That's why I go with experienced pipers. If something goes haywire with a reed, they are able to play through without a second thought. But again, that's just my opinion. I certainly wouldn't complain if Terry Lee offered to play for my solo.


I appreciate the input. I would have liked my son to use a more experience piper as well, but he feels more comfortable with me at his age and so we'll just do our best. I'm glad I asked the question though because it sounds like I need to make sure I maintain an appropriate meter more than anything else. His instructor wants us to play at 70-75 bpm which means I've got to play a bit faster than I have been, but I can adjust.

Note: Bruce happened to be the judge that wound up judging my son's first solo competition which I played for him. Bruce made a comment on the score sheet about my piping and was complimentary. My son placed 3rd in the competition.

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