Lesson 2 of 7
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Freedom Phase 1: Developing Rhythmic Precision

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Basic rhythmic precision is the foundation of so much of what we do as pipers. Let's think through some examples:

  • Crossing noises are largely caused because we are mis-timing things in our mind.
  • Gracenotes can become too big to compensate for early-to-the-beat playing. They become "out of sync" with note-changes when we aren't clear in our minds exactly where the beat is.
  • Obviously, correct embellishments involve a very specific relationship to "the beat." If we can't play on the beat well, we can't play embellishments well. It's that simple.
  • How about expression? Are we really "holding" that sacred dotted note, or did we just rush the beat to make it longer? There's a big difference.

We learn best when we focus on one thing at a time. So, with this in mind, our first freedom phase is to focus solely on developing great rhythmic precision. We'll do this by clapping the rhythm of some unfamiliar material (the Tune of the Week).

Reminder: It's very important to continuously vary our practice material. For more about the importance of unfamiliarity, click here.

Resources to Help You With This Freedom Phase

  • If you're just starting out in the world of piping, Our Beginner's Tutor is the place to start. As part of the process of getting comfortable with bagpipe fingerwork, it talks a lot about the basics of rhythm and about playing with a metronome.
  • If you've been playing for a while, the authoritative rhythm source here at Dojo U is our Core Course, "Rhythm For Bagpipers." In it, we dig deep into the "groove based" rhythmic development, and look closely at what Rhythmic Precision truly means.
  • Additional Resources:

Please CLICK HERE to Read This Article with some real-world advice pertaining to Phase 1. Do this BEFORE you submit your first recording.

Your Assignment:

  1. Choose the best tempo and set your metronome.
  2. Clap the rhythm of the Tune of the Week with rhythmic precision. Completely "Solar Eclipse" that beat!
  3. Examples of successful and unsuccessful attempts at this phase can be found here.
  4. Sheet music and a variety of learning media for the Tune of the Week can be found here.
  5. A PDF checklist of the exact criteria we will evaluate you on can be found here.
  6. Submit by Thursday at midnight Eastern US time.

Do your best with the assignment. If you don't succeed (which is more common than not), that's ok! You'll get great feedback from our team for you to use to try again next week. Utilize the One-Take Rule and don't fall into the trap of negativity with this exercise. Even if it doesn't always feel like it, you are getting better at a rate far faster than ever before!