Playing in Public

All musicians, no matter how experienced, are nervous prior to the start of their performance. Preparation, therefore, is essential. Getting your nerves under control will happen if you are confident about your mastery of the technical aspects of the pipes and if you play only those tunes you know very well.

Avoid playing professional engagements until you are a competent player. Playing a tuned instrument is a must as well as playing at a tempo that reflects a good standard of technique.

Avoid playing at family functions until you are ready to do so. If you struggle through a tune, the audience struggles with you. When played well, the bagpipes can be the best sounding instrument in the world and in some cases the worst. Playing out of tune, not knowing the music, and not playing properly can all be detected by those who listen.

The best advice is to practice steadily working toward competence and confidence. Get "a thumbs up" from a respected teacher who will confirm your readiness to play to an audience. A successful first time performance will provide the encouragement needed for you to future engagements.

Once you have made the decision to play in public, follow the following tips:

* Make sure your bagpipe is well maintained and in tune.
* Plan on what you are going to play keeping it appropriate for the event.
* Dress appropriately for the event.
* If you are going to be introducing the tunes you play, be knowledgeable about them.
* Providing interesting facts about the tune's history can add to your audience's attention.
* Check out where you are playing and, if possible, try tuning in a similar room or area with a similar temperature.
* Tune up and warm up prior to presenting yourself to the audience. For many events, tuning in public may be inappropriate.
* In settings where tuning in public is acceptable, keep it to a minimum.
* Always remember to thank your audience either with a vocal "thank you", your best smile or perhaps a bow or salute.

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