Balancing the "Scales of Practice"

The following is an excerpt from an article called "A Master Class in Fundamentals" by Bob Regnerus...

I (Bob) coach high school basketball. In fact, I've coached youth basketball since I was 16 years old. That makes this next season my 35th year in coaching (do the math to reverse-engineer my age).

One thing that all players want to do at a practice is scrimmage. Scrimmages are practice games against teammates. Scrimmages are fun for players because they just get to play basketball. You'd think this was a good thing, but ask any coach about the LAST thing they ever consider doing at a practice - every experienced coach will answer, "scrimmage."

You can understand why the players just want to play (it's fun), but when you are just playing, you are ignoring the mandate to master the fundamentals like dribbling, footwork, passing, cutting, screening, and rebounding. Every movement and action on the basketball court is built on fundamentals. The best players that have ever played the game were masters of fundamentals and they work on them constantly.

Players and team that focus on mastering fundamentals excel on the basketball court.

Excerpt from "A Master Class in Fundamentals" by Bob Regnerus

The same goes for bagpipers. If you just grab the pipes and "jam out" endlessly on your arsenal of tunes without the ability to do so with good fundamentals, you're not only going waste your own valuable time, but you're also going to make yourself worse by ingraining bad habits. And, worst of all, you'll never find an end to the struggle; you'll be forever stuck in some version of bagpipe captivity.

Rest assured, should you follow Dojo U's "Bagpipe Freedom" method, you are going to have plenty of time to "jam out" in your bagpiping career - and here I mean jamming out in the rewarding way where people enjoy how you sound and you are truly expressing your own voice and ideas.

During your Freedom Phases you are going to learn ten fundamental concepts. Just like shooting, passing, and dribbling in basketball, these are ten fundamentals you must understand and be able to (simultaneously) execute in order to be a successful, creatively free bagpiper.

First, in Phase One, we'll tackle Rhythmic Accuracy (1). In Phase Two; Scale Navigation (2) and Gracenote Quality (3). In Phase Three, we'll study Steady Blowing Mechanics (4) and Tuning Two Drones Together (5). Phase Four will put everything we've done so far together, while also uncovering the need to Identify the Chanter Reed's Sweet Spot (6), Tune Our Drones to Our Chanter (7), and eliminate Mental Blowing Anomalies (8). When we graduate to Phase 5, we will address Embellishment Mechanics (9) and Basic Expression (10).

P.S. - I am not suggesting that you should never let loose and "jam out" on your pipes. Far from it! You should have as much "care free fun" as you need to enjoy your life as a bagpiper. Fun is the name of the game.

Think of this like you might think about healthy eating. You can, of course, have a few "cheat" meals that break all the rules without descending into bad health. However, the more you can reduce these cheats (without snuffing out all enjoyment of life), the faster you'll attain better health.

Your bagpipe life should be balanced with this in mind. The more time you can spend mindfully practicing relative to "carelessly jamming," the sooner you can become truly liberated as a musician.

And, a funny thing happens when you commit to a diet of developing fundamentals - you start getting better! And then, you crave more improvement, so you increase your focused practice time (because you're enjoying the results). With more wins comes even MORE enjoyment of "hard work." So you do even more of it.

Before long, hard work feels like jamming out. This is the sweet spot for pipers where the sky becomes the limit.

Don't believe this is really possible? There's only one way to find out...

If you want to learn more about Bagpipe Freedom and how to achieve it, we will build a custom "Bagpipe Captivity Escape Plan" for you for free. Start the process now.

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