Preparing for Competition
As competition season begins, here are a few tips that may be useful for your preparation.
Make sure that you have joined your Piping Association. Select an appropriate tune
that you can play well. It's better to play an easy tune well than to play a harder tune poorly. Play in front of others to get the feel of it. These events are full of distractions, so the more the tune is internalized, the better prepared you will be. Watch other competitions to see how they run and how other pipers perform. You should check to see if there are marching requirements and, if so, practice with marching.
It's a good idea to have a back up reed ready, just in case. Try on your entire outfit
and practice in it. Double check your instrument to make sure that the stock joints are tight, tuning pins are sliding correctly, and any hoses are not kinked. It's also a good idea to have directions to the games and print off a map, just to be sure.
On event day, leave early to give yourself at least an hour on site before your competition. Find the competition area and check in. Make sure that they have you registered for the correct events. Check your drone and chanter reeds
. Warm up with some exercises to get your tuning in place and your fingers warmed up (but make sure you still have enough energy for your performance). Check to see if the event is progressing on time. Occasionally, they can be ahead of schedule, or behind schedule.
When it is your turn to perform, walk up to the judge. Make sure that you've left some room for them to finish scoring the last piper. The judge will often make eye contact with you to signal that it's your turn. Walk up to the judge, make eye contact, introduce yourself and state the tune you will be playing. Then, take your time before starting to play. If you need to do any last minute tuning, turn away from the judge. When ready, face the judge & give a nod to signal that you are ready. Although you may want to rush through it to get it over with, try to take your time and try to keep the correct tempo. Try to keep your focus and avoid looking at the crowd or judges, which may distract you. When finished, pause briefly before exiting. Make eye contact with the judge and say thank you. About an hour or so after the event is over, results will be posted and you can get your evaluation.
The most important things to remember are try to relax and have fun!
Highland Games season is once again upon us. Here's a look back at the Rick Mercer Report
at the Calgary Highland Games a few years ago.
May 1st is Beltane's Day, the pagan fire festival that celebrates fertility, fire and abundance. Beltane marked the beginning of summer and was one of the most important Gaelic festivals. Rituals were held to protect livestock and crops from harm and encourage growth.