Lesson 11: How to Practice Efficiently
Whether you can dedicate 1 hour a day or 1 hour a week to practice this is the regiment you should follow. Your instrument is like your body, you have to work out every muscle to become fit not just your arms. With the bagpipes you need to practice everything; technical work, tuning and maintenance, tunes and rehearsal time. All four factors are equally important.
This is doing exercises on your practice chanter with a metronome. I have tons of exercises on this website that you should be donating 25% of your practice time to. Its simple, whatever you do poorly, work on that. For example, my weakest technical movements are Tachums, so I work on those the most. However, I have a really nice girl so I don't work on that much. If you aren't sure if your technical movements are good, then record yourself and listen. Work on what you suck at, not what your good at.
Tuning and Maintenance
Bagpipes are a hard instrument to tune and keep maintained and thats why we have to dedicate 25% of our time to it. Follow my lessons on maintenance and tuning. It doesn't matter how good your fingers are if your bagpipe is out of tune.
Learning and Improving Tunes
Learn and memorize tunes the way I outline them in these lessons. Phrase by phrase with a metronome. Your better off playing 20 tunes well then 40 tunes poorly.
This step is often forgotten and it may be the most important. Play through your tunes on a nicely maintained and tuned bagpipe the same way you would if someone was watching you. Play tunes from start to finish from memory while marching. If you make a mistake keep playing, remember, your now practicing like there is someone listening and watching you. This is also a good time to work on attacks and cut-offs.