Teach Yourself Bagpipes by Lindsay Davidson

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Intense finger training and going to the next level

This area of the website is undergoing renewal: individual pages with deeper explanations and 6 training videos for each exercise are being made. This process started in March 2021. The old page will be below until the updates have been made completely.


It is appropriate to repeat here that the most important part of learning to pipe is about understanding - it is a matter of thinking more than moving one's fingers faster.

When having difficulty, please go back to the 'how to practice' page and find out at which of the five stages of the learning process you are tripping up. Nine times out of ten this will identify the problem and at the same time make obvious the solution. Often, it is enough to simply go through the five steps again and the problem disappears.
However, there are times when certain physical aspects need to be strengthened.

Speed of finger movement is less important than understanding the role of proportion in music. Having good technique is not about being able to play more doublings in a tune than anyone else, and faster, but it is about being able to decide exactly what the fingers do and when to make the clearest and most understandable musical statement. Often the relative lengths of gracenotes in embellishments go out of balance when someone speeds up, and this is when things start to go wrong.

Stamina is also important, both mental and physical. The five stages of learning will challenge mental stamina, the 'two minute trick' will address physical stamina in blowing, and here, you will find a number of exercises to address finger stamina.

As explained elsewhere, the idea behind this is to treat each new tune you learn as an 'etude', or  'study'. You should set one or two very exact and well defined goals to achieve with each tune you use in this way, and then prepare for it with the exercises below.

Each tune in the library with the videos has its own list of five points to discuss and exercises to work on. These exercises should be completed before attempting to play the tune in question.

Please be aware that you should not attempt to make a drastic jump in technique with your favourite tunes, as often the tunes we use for this jump contain issues that were conquered during the process.

There are two steps to this section - firstly complete ALL the dexterity and stamina exercises (also with your hands reversed...right above left). This will get your fingers physically ready to proceed to the next stage after that - controlling the rhythm of embellishments. That stage is a question of looking what embellishments you are making the focus of your tune. Each tune should have only one or two elements to raise at a time.

 To help with dexterity and stamina
Do these first and make them a habit


Once you have these stamina and dexterity exercises under control, you can address specific technical questions through these exercsies:

To help with controlling High G gracenotes
Ex 2, Ex 27, Ex 29

To help with controlling D gracenotes
Ex 2, Ex 27

To help with controlling E gracenotes

To help with controlling strikes
Ex 19, Ex 26, Ex 38, Ex 45,

To help with controlling Low G Doublings

To help with controlling Low A Doublings
Ex 34,

To help with controlling B Doublings
Ex 10,Ex 34, Ex 39


To help with controlling C Doublings
Ex 5, Ex 10, Ex 24,Ex 34, Ex 39


To help with controlling D Doublings
Ex 14 ('hara'), Ex 34,


To help with controlling E Doublings
Ex 11, Ex 34, Ex 35, Ex 45, Ex 44,


To help with controlling F Doublings
Ex 3, Ex 6, Ex 7, Ex 12, Ex 20, Ex 21,Ex 22, Ex 23,Ex 44,

To help with controlling High G Doublings
Ex 20, Ex 31, Ex 35, Ex 44

To help with controlling High A Doublings
Ex 20, Ex 31Ex 44,

To help with controllingThrows
Ex 18, Ex 8, Ex 9, Ex 12, Ex 17, Ex 18, Ex 25, Ex 30, Ex 36, Ex 44,

To help with controlling Grips
Ex 1, Ex 25, Ex 42, Ex 45

To help with controlling Taorluaths
Ex 5, Ex 32, Ex 33,

To help  with controlling Birls
Ex 13, Ex 4, Ex 13,Ex 30, Ex 36, Ex 38,

To help  with  Tachums
Ex 10, Ex 11,

Other things, rhythmical accuracy
Ex 15, Ex 16, Ex 24,
Ex 27,Ex 28, Ex 29, Ex 39, Ex 41, Ex 42

To help with crossing sounds
Ex 35, Ex 39, Ex 42, Ex 44,

To help with strathspey figures
Ex 39, Ex 40, Ex 41, Ex 45, Ex 43,

This is a collection of the exercises given in support of tunes in the library. You can use these as you find your own areas of technique that you feel need strengthened.

On the special detailed pages for each exercise there are videos at two pitches and three speeds to play along with together with advice on what the exercise is helping with, how it helps and things to watch out for.


Exercise 1 - This has its own detailed page with youtube videos at different speeds and pitches.

MAPM1EX1

Exercise 2 - This has its own detailed page with youtube videos at different speeds and pitches.


mapex2


Exercise 3 - This has its own detailed page with youtube videos at different speeds and pitches.


mapex3


Exercise 4 - This has its own detailed page with youtube videos at different speeds and pitches.


mapex4


Exercise 5 - This has its own detailed page with youtube videos at different speeds and pitches.


mapex5


Exercise 6 - This has its own detailed page with youtube videos at different speeds and pitches.


mapex6

Exercise 7- This has its own detailed page with youtube videos at different speeds and pitches.



mapex7

Exercise 8 - This has its own detailed page with youtube videos at different speeds and pitches.


mapex8

Exercise 9 - This has its own detailed page with youtube videos at different speeds and pitches.

mapex9

Exercise 10 - This has its own detailed page with youtube videos at different speeds and pitches.

mapex10

Exercise 11 - This has its own detailed page with youtube videos at different speeds and pitches.

mapex11


Exercise 12 - This has its own detailed page with youtube videos at different speeds and pitches.

mapex12

Exercise 13 - This has its own detailed page with youtube videos at different speeds and pitches.  

mapex13


Exercise 14 - This has its own detailed page with youtube videos at different speeds and pitches.

mapex14


Exercise 15 - This has its own detailed page with youtube videos at different speeds and pitches.

mapex15graphic


Exercise 16 - This has its own detailed page with youtube videos at different speeds and pitches.

mapex16



Exercise 17 - This has its own detailed page with youtube videos at different speeds and pitches.

mapex17

Exercise 18 - This has its own detailed page with youtube videos at different speeds and pitches.  

mapex 18


Exercise 19 - This has its own detailed page with youtube videos at different speeds and pitches.

mapex19graphic

Exercise 20 - This has its own detailed page with youtube videos at different speeds and pitches.

mapex20graphic.png

Exercise 21 - This has its own detailed page with youtube videos at different speeds and pitches.

mapex21graphic.png

Exercise 22 - This has its own detailed page with youtube videos at different speeds and pitches.

mapex22graphic.png

Exercise 23 - This has its own detailed page with youtube videos at different speeds and pitches.

mapex23graphic.png
 
Exercise 24 - This has its own detailed page with youtube videos at different speeds and pitches.

mapex24
 
Exercise 25 - This has its own detailed page with youtube videos at different speeds and pitches.

mapex25graphic.png

Exercise 26 - This has its own detailed page with youtube videos at different speeds and pitches.

mapex26graphic.png

Exercise 27 - This has its own detailed page with youtube videos at different speeds and pitches.

mapex27graphic.png

Exercise 28 - This has its own detailed page with youtube videos at different speeds and pitches.

mapex28graphic.png

Exercise 29
- This has its own detailed page with youtube videos at different speeds and pitches.

mapex29graphic.png

Exercise 30 - This has its own detailed page with youtube videos at different speeds and pitches.

mapex30graphic.png

Exercise 31- This has its own detailed page with youtube videos at different speeds and pitches.

mapex31graphic.png

Exercise 32 - This has its own detailed page with youtube videos at different speeds and pitches.

mapex32graphic.png


Exercise 33 - This has its own detailed page with youtube videos at different speeds and pitches.

mapex33graphic.png



Exercise 34 - This has its own detailed page with youtube videos at different speeds and pitches.

Intermediate exercise 34


Exercise 35
- This has its own detailed page with youtube videos at different speeds and pitches.

Intermediate exercise 35


Exercise 36 - This has its own detailed page with youtube videos.

ex 36

Exercise 37  
Intermediate exercise 37


Exercise 38 - This has its own detailed page with youtube videos at different speeds and pitches.
Intermediate exercise 38
Exercise 39 - This has its own detailed page with youtube videos at different speeds and pitches.

ex39


Exercise 40 - This has its own detailed page with youtube videos at different speeds and pitches.

ex40


Exercise 41 - This has its own detailed page with youtube videos at different speeds and pitches.
Intermediate exercise 41


Exercise 42 - This has its own detailed page with youtube videos at different speeds and pitches.

Intermediate exercise 42


Exercise 43 - This has its own detailed page with youtube videos at different speeds and pitches.
Intermediate exercise 43


Exercise 44 - This has its own detailed page with youtube videos at different speeds and pitches.
Intermediate exercise 44


Exercise 45 - This has its own detailed page with youtube videos at different speeds and pitches.
Intermediate exercise 45




Exercise 46
Intermediate exercise 46


Exercise 47
Intermediate exercise 47


Exercise 48

Intermediate exercise 48



Exercise 49

ex49


Exercise 50

Intermediate exercsie 50

Exercise 51

Intermediate exercise 51


Exercise 52

Intermediate exercise 52

Exercise  53

Intermediate exercise 53


Exercise 54 - This has its own detailed page with youtube videos.

Intermediate exercise 54

Exercise 55

Intermediate exercise 55

Exercise 56

Intermediate exercise 56

Exercise 57
Intermediate exercise 57

Exercise 58

Intermediate exercise 58

Exercise 59

Intermediate exercise 59

Exercise 60

Intermediate exercise 60

Exercise 61

Intermediate exercise 61

Exercise 62

Intermediate exercise 62

Exercise 63

Inrtermediate exercise 63

Exercise 64

Intermediate exercise 64




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