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PostPosted: Wed Dec 13, 2017 4:38 pm 
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Hi,

I own a D practice set which I bought after hearing the Spillane lament. Then someone recommended to get the drones at the start already – I forgot where I read it. Anyway, he was not positive about idea of practice sets at all, since in his words you learn being unsteady and you don't use the bellows or bag properly. As I can't afford the drones now or in near future, I wanted to ask if the drones are truly a »must have« part, if I want to learn perfect stable pressure control and proper bag and bellows use? Or I can do it with practice set also? Or mybe I should go with partial drones like tenor and baritone only if I manage to get some money.

Thank you for answers.


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 13, 2017 4:48 pm 
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I'm pretty sure that excellent pipers have begun with every configuration you can think of, and to few ill effects.

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 13, 2017 5:17 pm 
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We actually just had a conversation here about this question: viewtopic.php?f=6&t=105754/.

The short of it is: like s1m0n referred to above, a practice set is a perfectly viable way to start playing the pipes. I would guess that most pipers start with a practice set, and I myself played one for about 1.5 years before adding the drones.

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 14, 2017 1:57 pm 
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Thanks for your thoughts!

So if I never buy the drones, I will still be able to achieve the perfect stability and pressure control with practice set???


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 14, 2017 2:10 pm 
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soft&warm wrote:
So if I never buy the drones, I will still be able to achieve the perfect stability and pressure control with practice set???

I should say not. You will only achieve such stability as needed for a practice set, and no better.

Get the drones - all three - if you can.

dyersituations wrote:
...a practice set is a perfectly viable way to start playing the pipes. I would guess that most pipers start with a practice set, and I myself played one for about 1.5 years before adding the drones.

Viable, perhaps, but that's in the eye of the beholder. If it's absolutely a matter of the wallet, that's one thing, but I started with drones and wouldn't have had it any other way. I didn't consider it an option since I was determined to learn this instrument, so I didn't see the point in waffling over what I'd be getting around to anyway. Playing with drones is quite a different animal from playing without them, and in the end you will have to confront the drones, so if you're committed to learning the pipes, you might as well get drones right away if you can. Uilleann pipes being what they are, you can always shut off the drones when you want "practice set" mode, but playing with them on is darned good practice every time. So strictly from a learning/practicing standpoint, with drones you get to have your cake and eat it too. And from a personal standpoint, being able to play with the drones mattered because it's far more satisfying when they're on; at the very least, it offers a break from the monotony of playing only without them. This might not matter to some - I can't imagine it - but it mattered to me.

So here's my vote for the drones. :)

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 14, 2017 3:59 pm 
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Nanohedron wrote:
So here's my vote for the drones.


HALLELUJAH!

You convinced me! I gues I needed to hear this long and helpfull answer. The drones shall be.

Thank you to everyone :)


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 14, 2017 4:16 pm 
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soft&warm wrote:
I needed to hear this long ... answer.

Oh, dear. If you think that was long, you haven't seen what I'm capable of. :wink:

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PostPosted: Fri Dec 15, 2017 10:29 am 
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I would just add that it's easy to fool yourself into thinking you're achieving consistent pressure control when playing a practice set, only to discover how wrong you were when you add drones. This is a benefit of the drones (even one drone if it's all you can afford) for beginners: you can hear variations in the sound of a drone better than you can hear variations in the tuning or tone of the chanter, and a drone will inform you immediately if you're slacking off.


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 15, 2017 11:03 am 
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Nanohedron wrote:
Playing with drones is quite a different animal from playing without them, and in the end you will have to confront the drones, so if you're committed to learning the pipes, you might as well get drones right away if you can.

Yup, I agree. In the thread I linked above, I more or less said the same thing, that it's preferred to start with the drones. That being said, my biggest hurdle when learning the pipes, coming from years of playing the whistle and tenor banjo, was getting used to the chanter. And I wasn't 100% convinced that I had the time to learn, since I was performing regularly on my other instruments. So a used practice set was a great option for me. If I was to start knowing how much I enjoy the instrument now, and knowing that it would become my main performance instrument, I would have of course chosen a full set from the beginning. The practice set was a great way for me to test the waters. Since the OP mentioned he can't afford drones right now, the practice set works just fine for him to learn the chanter and get used to at least the concept of bag and bellows.

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PostPosted: Fri Dec 15, 2017 12:40 pm 
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dyersituations wrote:
The practice set was a great way for me to test the waters.

Sure. If cost is really a factor and/or you're not yet entirely convinced of your level of commitment, it's the logical option. For me, though, it had to be all or nothing. A personal matter, and one to consider since I never regretted the decision. :)

dyerstiuations wrote:
Since the OP mentioned he can't afford drones right now, the practice set works just fine for him to learn the chanter and get used to at least the concept of bag and bellows.

Come, now. For the sake of our art we should all live in a tent and eat bark and twigs. :wink:

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PostPosted: Fri Dec 15, 2017 12:58 pm 
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So having drones at the outset steepens the initial learning curve - making it much harder to get a pleasant sound but thereafter yielding a long, low plateau - while doing without gets you to music faster at the cost of a second steep bit when you add drones later.

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PostPosted: Fri Dec 15, 2017 1:12 pm 
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s1m0n wrote:
So having drones at the outset steepens the initial learning curve - making it much harder to get a pleasant sound but thereafter yielding a long, low plateau - while doing without gets you to music faster at the cost of a second steep bit when you add drones later.

I would say that the first part isn't at all necessarily correct, since as I already mentioned, you have the option of shutting off the drones. Voilà: Instant practice set. When the drones are shut off, for air use it's effectively the same as their not even being there.

I think the advantage of having drones is that they give you options you wouldn't otherwise get. You can jump in right away without having the drones on if you like, but they're always there for you to acclimate to as you progress - and all on the same instrument. Plus you get used to negotiating having them on your lap right from the start. Very organic. :)

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PostPosted: Fri Dec 15, 2017 1:59 pm 
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Fair enough. You know more about this than I do. But the OP should understand that there is a trade-off to tackling drones early, and that that's why practice sets exist in the first place. It might be better in the long run to add drones, but it's not just all virtue with no drawbacks.

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PostPosted: Fri Dec 15, 2017 2:04 pm 
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s1m0n wrote:
...but it's not just all virtue with no drawbacks.

I still can't agree from a pipering standpoint. Apparently I seem to need to repeat myself (for the third time!) that having drones doesn't mean having to play them. As I see it, the best arguments for a practice set are financial, or if there's any question about the beginning player's commitment for the long term. If these aren't issues, then for sure get the drones and be done with it. :)

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PostPosted: Fri Dec 15, 2017 2:27 pm 
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So what's the benefit to having drones you don't use? Besides getting used to their physical presence, I suppose.

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