2021 Pipers Weekend Classes

Classes in red are most suitable for mixed-instruments. Other instruments may be welcome in other classes with permission of the instructor.

Zoom Discussion – Friday 3-5 PM  

  • Smallpipe Maintenance Tips and more for Uillean and Scottish pipes with Robert Felsburg, Nate Banton and Brian Bigley.

Class 1 – Saturday 10-12 AM

  • Uilleann Pipe Foundations (Joey)                                                                         Working to form the cornerstones of good piping, including ornamentation, rhythm, with basic and intermediate repertoire.

  •  Exploring Irish Repertoire on Scottish and Irish Pipes...   (Michael Roddy ) Open to both Irish and Scottish pipes, but geared more for Scottish players learning Irish repertoire.  Adv. Beginning and up.

  • Quintessential Northumberland Repertoire for NSP    (Alice Robinson)               When pipers in northern England gather to play music together, they often cover a medley of well- known local tunes (ranging from old songs of the River Tyne to the sentimental waltzes of Jack Armstrong). This class will look at those common, everyday tunes that make up the basic repertoire of British-based Northumbrian Pipers and will contextualise those tunes within the tradition. This workshop is aimed at newer pipers, but may be of interest to others too! Zoom

  • Strathspeys In-Depth (Fin Moore)                                                                                Two Strathspeys will be covered, one at the Intermediate level and one advanced.

Class 2 – Saturday 2-4 PM

  • Intonation and Performance on the Uilleann Pipes (Brian Bigley)                                     Intonation and performance - delve into different tuning systems and other factors required to sound good in an ensemble or solo performance situation, recording in the studio or live in front of an audience.

  • Irish Flute Technique (Sean Gavin)                                                                             Sean will teach traditional tunes by ear and then help students with the placement of breaths, accents, and ornamentation. Students can also expect discussions about variation, regional styles, and the music of great players from the past and present.

  • Jig Playing from the Cape Breton Perspective (Barry Shears)          The reimportation of the Quadrilles and Saratoga Lancers to eastern Canadian social dance  in the early 20th century required more jigs . This dance form was a part of the immigrant dance form and this season will examine  both traditional melodies and popular marches that have been absorbed into this dance genre.

  •  Exploring the C natural on SSP and Border Pipes (Michael Roddy)                     Exploring the C natural on smallpipes and border pipes and using it to unlock new repertoire in A min, G major, and C major. We will explore how to play a C natural on both instruments (allowing for different abilities and levels of comfort with this less common note), new repertoire, and possible alternative drone tunings. Advanced level class.  

  • Exploration of Central French Repertoire (Nicolas Gerardin)                                Learn some traditional repertoire from Central-France, including bourrée 3 temps,  bourrée 2 temps and a scottishe. (For G pipes mostly, but Low C or Low D pipes can be added, even if it will be a bit tricky to enjoy the harmonies by ZOOM)

Class 3 – Sunday 10-12 Noon

  • The Incredible Piping of Tommy Reck (Joey Abarta)                                          Explore the work of this legendary piper, learn a few of his tunes in his very distinctive style.

  • Repertoire from Outside the Box...   (Michael Roddy )                                           While mainly geared toward smallpipes and border pipes, all other instruments are welcome to this class that will look at (and learn) repertoire outside of the usual Scottish fare. Music from Shetland, Sweden, Ireland, French Canada, and more! This is an intermediate level class.  Zoom.

  • Here and Now: Contemporary Music in Northumberland (Alice Robinson)       Looking at new music, written and played by contemporary Northumbrian folk musicians. This workshop for Northumbrian Pipers will consider non-traditional new repertoire, and different techniques to enhance your playing. Open to other instruments, but please be aware of keys and instrument-specific techniques!

  • Introduction to the Strathspey for Smallpipes (Fin Moore)                                        This class will cover the variation in stylistic techniques for playing the Strathspey, showing the differences in style and technique which best fits use for pipe band, playing for dancers and for a mixed-instrument session.  These differences can also be applied for other tunes like jigs and reels. Zoom.

Class 4 – Sunday 2-4 PM

  •   Express Yourself: Tools to enhance your Playing (UP) (Sean Gavin)     This workshop will focus on the variety of expressive tools available to uilleann pipers. Students can expect to learn new tunes but more importantly the class will focus on rhythm, phrasing, and articulation. Seán will also spend time on ornamentation and variation as well as general discussion of great players from the past and present.  Zoom.

  • Scotland Meets Appalachia  Tim Cummings)                                                          We'll learn a West Virginia-sourced tune from the old-time fiddle & banjo tradition that's been adapted to Scottish-style pipes, and then learn a Scottish pipe tune that's been 'appalachified'—that is, transmogrified into a convincing Southern-style hoedown. Zoom.

  •  The Music of Alex Curry (Barry Shears)                                                                      Alex Currie (1910-1987) was one of the last ear-trained pipers in Cape Breton, his repertory consisted mostly of Strathspeys and reels, and a few jigs, and we will examine his dance music in this session.  Zoom.      

  • Technique and Approach to the Central French Bourrée (Nicolas Gerardin)             In central France, playing a bourrée on the cabrette is not the same than playing it on the cornemuse du Centre, but you can use some cabrette « tricks » on the cornemuse, we will try to play tunes using different approaches. Zoom.

You Tube Offerings:  these can be done in your spare time during the weekend or up to 3 weeks following the weekend.

The Music of the Northumbrian Shepherds (Alice Robinson)                                              A deep dive into the music of Will Atkinson, Joe Hutton and Willy Taylor: the ‘Three Shepherds’.  Their style of music was iconic and is great to discover on the Northumbrian Smallpipes. This repertoire will be of interest to other instruments but be aware of keys!  YouTube.

Exploring Grace Note Patterns on Scottish Smallpipes (Tim Cummings)

Join in exploring how inverting familiar grace-note patterns can help establish both a more authentic Southern/old-time feel, and a new groove for Scottish & Irish reels.  (This might actually be a good preparatory workshop for the live-Zoom one.)

Central French Repertoire (Nicolas Gerardin)

Repertoire used in his 2 Zoom classes to learn ahead and review afterwards.

Your First Session Tunes (Bob Mitchell)                                                                   Repertoire package for newer player of the Scottish Smallpipes to help them learn some of the popular tunes that are frequently played in sessions.

Scottish Smallpipes classes are open to mouth-blown reel pipes if they have the correct bore and are tuned in A.

Less skilled players are welcome to listen in all classes to master what they can and record the rest for future work.  It's one of the great joys of the Zoom mute button!