Friday, 28 October 2011

RSPBA membership

Just a quick note to say that we have added eight new members to the RSPBA list for 2012.

In time you may well receive a members details form from the RSPBA Glasgow office to complete and return. Its important that you respond to this inquiry as its submission will complete your membership.

You will be alloted an RSPBA membership number which in time is used to check that you belong to the Jersey Pipe Band and can take part in RSPBA events and activities.

We are looking into which events may be of interest to our members. Check out their website for more details.

A new season starts

Well, summer is over and its time to get back to some piping.

The Pipe Major and Leading tip have agreed the play list and there is as we expected a few tunes to stretch us all but pleasingly the list still includes the Academy Play list of tunes. To recap: if you are an Academy member your priority tunes are:

  • Teribus & Chorriechoillie

  • Green Hills set

  • Mahri's wedding and Scotland the Brave (STB)

  • Wings set

  • The Gael

  • Competition Set (new but will run through it in a few months time)

  • There are other tunes in the play list but that's enough to get on with.

    A reminder: if you can not make practice please call me well in advance as there's no point me going up to the hall if no one else turns up as I know these tunes!!!   It happens!

    Saturday, 8 October 2011

    Lets get down to so work

    We are at the stage of having to learn the tunes we have been going through these last few months. It's not difficult as we have had a workshop on the method to use so please get the chanter out with the music and pick them up and practice, rehearse and learn! Don't just pay lip service to that just before a practice! Do it regularly to give your mind and fingers a chance! The tunes you need to have off by heart are:

    -Teribus and corriechoilles welcome
    Green Hills and when the battle is ore
    Maoris wedding and Scotland the brave

    Tuesday, 20 September 2011

    We have a new pipe band website

    Its been a long and weary day as it's been spent with young KB setting up a new website.
    Please check it out and give us your feedback.

    We begin practice on Thursday night so we look forward to seeing you all again then.
    Its amazing to think that our new website can be accessed by mobile phone! Life is so cool man! In fact its A W E S O M E !

    Yours in piping.....

    Monday, 12 September 2011

    Summer is over and we start at the hall again

    Well, that's the summer over and my goodness has autumn come in like a lion! We will be learning the competition set and in all there are four tunes but nothing too difficult. The music for the first two tunes will be on your email so take it with you so we can run through them this Thursday, 15th September from 7 p.m. at the academy part of the evening. The main band players will artrive from 7.45 p.m. as usual.

    The photo below was taken at Howard Davis Park in August, which prompts me to update you on the progress of the new tartan:

    We are making arrangements to get the new tartan sample down to the island and our kilt maker is trying to get flights down on one of the preferred three suggested week ends:17/18th; 24/25th September and 1/2 October. The aim is to get as many of the band members measured up for the new kit on the week end and to get some of us trained on how to measure for kilts, jackets, waistcoats etc.  Clearly we will not all be around at the time of the kilt makers visit so don't worry if you are not as someone will be able to take them for you when you are available.

    We are also at the stage of getting our new tartan name approved by the Jersey authorities. This is a necessary prerequisite to getting our tartan registered with the Scottish Register of Tartans.

    Friday, 22 July 2011

    Dates for the diary

    Remember the following please:

    • Busking St Helier 11.30 am on Saturday 6th August
    • Howard Davis Park evening of 9th August
    • Wedding - 27th August (more details top follow)

    The Academy takes a break in August but the main band players will not, and so the last event of the academy will be the workshop on Sunday 31 July 9.00 to 11.00 a.m. (refer below)

    Tuesday, 19 July 2011

    Howard Davis Park

    Well done to V for her first public appearance with the band on the evening of 19 July 2011. It was great to have her in the ranks to play "Teribus and Corrichoillies Welcome" and "the girl did well!"Keep up the good work V!

    We have agreed a workshop session for Sunday 30 July from 9.00 a.m. to 11.00 a.m. which will be the last practice for the Academy members before summer break. We will reconvene on September on 8th September at 7.00 p.m. In August the main band will press on to learn new tunes.

    More details will be given on Thursday night re the venue, so hope you can make it. If you can't then email me and i will supply the info  you need.
    Home bakes are not guaranteed....................................

    We intend to have a tutor available for each attendee so please confirm to me so that I can make suitable arrangements for you. The idea is to have group sessions and then have short break-out sessions with a tutor so that you can ask questions etc and work to find the best way for you to learn new tunes. I will make sure we have some coffee, tea and buns to hand!

    Wednesday, 13 July 2011

    Chanter workshop-getting it together

    OK-I've agreed with the Pipe Major that we run a chanter workshop to help members memorise and learn pipe tunes.

    If you feel you want to participate please let me know by email what dates and time suit.

    My own preference is a short, two hour session- one week end-maybe the morning. The idea is to work as a group but then have breakup sessions on a one-to-one basis where you can try out the method shown or adapt to suit your own way of learning.

    We need two hours as what I aim to do is teach one part with a view to playing it on the pipes before the end of the workshop.

    Please get in touch so that I can make sure that enough "tutors" are on hand to help out.

    (Remember there is no charge and its all voluntary!! Must be a Scottish band after all!!)

    Thanks very much.

    Wednesday, 29 June 2011

    Tartan by design

    As you know we have been working on a new tartan since coming up with the idea in January 2010. We have progressed this a lot and are nearing the final stage. We need to choose the colour and dye swatches and the latest CAD below shows the general appearance. Computer screens can make the colours appear very different from the real swatch dyes, but the finish is more rust than orange!

    We showed you a copy of the print last week at practice but here it is again so do let us have your thoughts:

    Sun, sausages and salads

    The summer BBQ was well attended this year so thanks for coming. It was great to see so many of the younger players attend and the music was flowing by the end of the day.

    Thanks to W for all her hard work, and who created a truly relaxing day for all of us. She proves again that a band is not just its pipers and drummers!

    Thanks too for all the salads, desserts and other goodies so willingly given by so many. We missed some folks whose lives took them away but perhaps we can organise another social event later in the year-though I don't think we will be sitting around trying to remember how to play badminton!!

    Friday, 17 June 2011

    Government House and H M birthday

    Well it was a lovely summer evening on the 10 June 2011 when the pipe band took to the manicured lawns of Government House. We played Highland Cathedral alongside the Island of Jersey band to strong applause. We had some new faces in the band and the lament was played as the Union Flag came down with not a dry eye in the garden. Marching and counter marching was as smooth as silk so well done to one and all. The post event cup was enjoyed!

    Practice on Thursday, last night, was excellent with a long session on the chanter and pipe in preparation for Howard Davis Park next tuesday evening. Its wet outside but that's an opportunity to make sure the ghillie brogues are polished and the kilts are pressed.

    There are a few tunes being circulated over the next few days: Lexy McAskill, new setting, and the follow on tunes to the Haughs of Cromdale. These will be sent by the week end. The P/M asks that we "keep up the good work" and he looks forward to a run through at next weeks practice.

    We are also planning a "workshop" to help pipers to help learn and memorise new tunes so expect an email or two on that topic. Perhaps a couple of hours one wet week end would be convenient.

    Thursday, 9 June 2011

    Academy music tracks-CD's available

    Thanks to JV and modern technology I have managed to record some of the academy pipe band chanter tracks onto CD's. From there you will be able to up & down load them to your play lists. Or even use the CD in the car, kitchen or other favoured place where you can run through the tunes. I will hand the CD's out tonight but if you can't make that let me know and I can arrange a copy for you.

    Unfortunately I can not post the sound tracks on the blog, as it doesn't have that functionality,  but I can email music to you so let me know what tunes you need and I will do my best to get a version to you to support the sheet music.

    Friday, 3 June 2011

    Dates for your diaries

    Lots of events coming up and further information will be supplied once our booking secretary returns from his golfing tour of Scotland, but note these dates in your diaries please. Thank you.

    Queen's birthday at Government House,      Friday 10th June
    St John Ambulance                                    Sunday 12th June-3 p.m. new street to Town hall
    Armed Forces Day                                     Saturday 25th June between 11.30 am to 2.00pm 
    Band B.B.Q                                               Sunday 26th June at 1.30 p.m.

    Howard Davis Park                                    Tuesday 12th July 7.30 p.m. meet
    Howard David Park                                    Tuesday 26th July 7.30 p.m. meet
    Minden Day parade                                    Sunday 31st July 2011-time TBC

    Howard Davis Park                                     Tuesday 9th August 7.30 p.m. meet
    Wedding at Vermont House near five oaks   Saturday 27th August

    Wedding at St Lawrence, &
    Scottish Society Ceilidh    &
    St Brelade's Social Club wedding                Saturday 17th September

    Dragon Boat Race                                     Probably Saturday 17th September at St Helier marina
    at 17th September - Play at an evening wedding reception & to play at the Scottish Society of Jersey's Family Ceilidh at St Brelades Social Club

    Monday, 23 May 2011

    The chanter and the tea, not really but have a listen anyway!

    Thanks for coming along last Thursday and hope you found the company of the pipe band useful. It was great to see everyone together in "the circle" and marching so well done as its always an experience to play the pipes when there are many other pipers around and drummers marking the beat and rhythms of the tunes. All in all we sounded OK. In an attempt to help you with the two new tunes, Green Hills and the Battle is O'er, I tried to upload them but the system crashed so I will try again later. See you all on Thursday 26th...

    Sunday, 15 May 2011

    Calendar-notes for your diary please

    • 10th June 2011 piping at Government House (HM Queen's Birthday)
    • 21st June-Howard Davis Park 7.15 pm for 8 pm (TBC)
    • 12 July   -Howard Davis Park (Ditto) (TBC)
    • 26th July -Howard Davis Park (Ditto) (TBC)
    • Sat 17th September - Play at an evening wedding reception & to play at the Scottish Society of Jersey's Family Ceilidh at St Brelades Social Club

    The band turned out for the Liberation Day parade on 9th May 2011 and the photo below shows the band marching the dignatories from the Churches and the States of Jersey down to Liberation Square in St Helier.


    I can see wee Malcy popping his head ooot from behind the Pipe Major to make sure he is making the right moves....well done Malcy!

    It looks as if there is a feather cap in the band but surely just a trick of modern photography.....or maybe a come back from the Bass Drummer.....

    See you all at practice next Thursday at the hall!

    Saturday, 7 May 2011

    Forthcoming Events

    Well, back from the north and looking forward to the Academy on Thursday 12 May. I was at Cullen one night with my bruv and he did some rock climbing...I acted as balast! Hence the shot below of "some steel". I returned with a very rare thing....a Scottish sun tan. Brilliant!

    Please note some other interesting dates for your diary as you may well be called upon so would be great to see you "as part of the circle":

    9th May 2011 From West Centre to pipe at 9.30 am
    10th June 2011 piping at Government House (HM Queen's Birthday)
    21st June-Howard Davis Park 7.15 pm for 8 pm
    12 July   -Howard Davis Park (Ditto)
    26th July -Howard Davis Park (Ditto)

    Thursday, 28 April 2011

    Next practice night

    There will be a full uniform practice next week on either Wednesday 4th or Thursday 5th May. Usual time at 7 p.m. but the P/S will keep you informed depending on whether big G or Big R can play. The holiday season is throwing some doubt on things. The aim of the practice next week is to have a good run through of all tunes and of course check the kit in advance of the Liberation Day parade.(see Blog below for overveiw etc)

    Please turn up, and check your emails, texts etc to get the last minute news updates, and make sure you arrive with pipes, drums and memories in working order. (That guy in the back has a gun...scary better make sure things are in order) Oh happy days!!

    9th May 2011: Liberation Day Parade

    Planning is well underway for this annual Jersey celebration and the practice tonight was useful as the band will be turning out on May 9th to lead parade 2 & 5.

    The POA (plan of action) is to park at Sand Street Car Park at 9.00 a.m. for a "muster" and general tune up then leave there at 9.15 a.m. to head up by "shank's pony " to West Centre for 9.30 a.m. sharp. The route will be: West Centre; Bath Street; Queen Street; Halkett Place;Hill St; and then peel off to Church Street to take up position in the Royal Square. In truth, we will follow a bobby with a big yellow jacket and he will guide us quietly to the Royal Square!

    From there, after a wee breather, we will lead Parade 5, namely The Dean, Clergy, The Mace Bearer, H.E and the Bailiff and other dignatories at about 11.00 a.m. down to Liberation square where we end and retreat for a tea/coffee and optional bacon butty. (Photo: 2010 entrance by Royal Yacht of parade 5) 

    At 11.20 a lone piper is needed to be ready to play( The P/S knows where and what to play!)

    at 12 noon we then set off on our final pass to take the salute from H.E. and proceed to Liberation Square  where no doubt a beer will be taken.

    The tunes will be the ones we have been practicing and the day should be enjoyable enough, and an occasion for some young pipers to make their first appearance.

    Wednesday, 20 April 2011

    A good evening with the pipes

    Well, it was all quiet then "wee James" popped in and before I knew it that bottle of McAllan that was lingering in the cupboard for a day or so was opened! The music came out too. There was a pibroch run through, with a dram, and then a tune or two on the pipes and then another "wee dram". The big pipes were foresaken for the "wee pipes" and yes, another "wee" dram. The chat, the music and the company was marvellous then McAllan decided to run out! So, it was homeward bound by chaffeur driven cab-an attractive blonde! It was a while since we had met but we picked up where we left off and the only loser was the bottle of McAllan. Brilliant! Now, that's surely why we all learn the pipes!

    The run up to Easter has disrupted access to the Thursday night sessions but all will be back to normal next week, so see you all then. If you come accross a bottle of McAllan it appears to help oil the fingers and mind pretty well but the reality might be that you just become a shadow of your former self !

    Sunday, 17 April 2011

    It's coming together

    Well I missed last week but the news is good as it appears that things are all coming together. Unfortunately the Berni hall is unavailable to us this coming Thursday so why not come along to the Wednesday evening session instead? You are all very welcome so come for 7.30 p.m. and be ready to play.

    See you soon

    Friday, 8 April 2011

    Excellent progress.....

    An excellent practice last night so thanks for coming along and for puting the effort into memorising the tunes. Our starts are improving as too is our marching and we are certainly "coming together" with good pointing to the tunes. It can be quite frustrating learning the "pipe" but recall the "wee yarn" from Strathspey:

    At Glenmore, in the Cairngorms, there is a conical hill called Sithean Dubh Da-Choimhead or "The Black Sithean of two otlooks". A strange name -- but at the top of the hill you can look on one side of the Great Glen opening out for miles before you and on the other side you look backwards through a cleft of the sky to the strath of Nethy. This is the two outlooks.

    The locals believe that the "double outlook" reminds us not to think that "the former days and former generations were any better than us and our days." The locals recognise the hard work involved in getting to the top of the hill just to be reminded of the inevitable change that can be seen before them-some good and some bad.

    The real thing is that people today should equal or better the people of yesterday. If not, then it must be our own fault. Our duty is to make most of the present, and to do one's part so there is always hope that whatever we do it will "turn out ok". The moral of the story is in gaelic but as this is a piping blog.....

    Your piping will be a pleasure to many in the land and in time by your own effort good music will be  restored.
    So there you guys are making good music! Just keep picking up your chanter and run through your tunes.

    Friday, 1 April 2011

    memorising a tune

    Practice helps but each piper approaches learning a tune differently. But having asked around here are some tips:

    Rule 1-Concentrate: pay attention to the detail of the tune. That means note the melody/note the rest or long held notes as they set the rhythm of the tune. Try singing or humming the melody.

    Rule 2-Memorise one part at a time. In piping the first lines of a tune are called "the ground". Simply, the main melody or theme of the tune. The rest of the tune (parts 2,3,4 etc) will develop "the ground" and create variations. That's what the learner finds difficult as its easy to the get part two mixed with part 3 etc. Hence rule two -memorise one part at a time and know it well before moving to learn a new part.

    Rule 3-To test that you have memorised the part sufficiently, stand up and try to march and play the tune at the same time. The old comment about chewing gum and walking at the same time could well apply?

    Rule 4: play a little and often and keep returning to the tune and keep building your memory and go at your own speed. Don't try and play a tune at speed too early as its easier to learn to play the tune at a slow speed and then speed up after a few weeks. If you have learned the tune and got the timing and doublings executed well its never a problem.

    Rule 5: once learned if you revist the tune in a weeks time, the experts say, you will remember the tune in a months time. Revist the tune in a months time and you will remember it in 2 months time and so other words..practice, practice, practice!

    Now, where did I leave that book I got for Christmas ?--- "How to improve your memory" !

    Tuesday, 29 March 2011


    Just a reminder folks that the main playlist to commit to memory is:

    1-Teribus & Corrichoillie,
    2-Skye Boat Song, Mhari's wedding & Scotland the Brave
    3-Green Hills and When the Battle is O'er

    We also looked at "The Gael" and "Cork Hill" to be more proficient with "strikes" and aim to work on the Shoals of  Herring set and Highland Cathederal. So lots to work on.

    Friday, 18 March 2011

    Practice list for week of 20th March 2011

    Thanks for attending last nights practice. We will continue to play Teribus and Corrichoillie's march and was pleased to hear that this set is "playing well".

    The marching is coming on, as too are the starts with a good solid "e" so well done to one and all. The idea of marching in a circle was novel, and worked well as we managed to stay in step. We will do that again, but a bigger circle as it may avoid a dizzy ending! Like any band the overall progress is determined by the few, so clearly a lot of practice has been done so please keep rehearsing and memorising your tunes!

    Memorise "Green Hills" and "When the Battle is O'er"- This is a Jersey Pipe Band set so with these tucked away in your memories you may well be asked to join the band on a public outing, which would be great.

    We ran through "The Gael" (which is a simple enough tune) and Cork Hill. For a first run-through they were picked up well and hopefully help push us all forward a bit and help break the routine of normal practice.

    Thanks again academy, and look forward to seeing you all next week- if not before.

    Monday, 14 March 2011

    Tuning the Drones

    A good question, and you are right they should be tuned identically: Bass (is the long one) and the two tenor drones (are the shorter ones) to the bagpipe chanter.

    To start learning how to do this, simply stop all your drones and sound your pipe chanter. Stopping drones may be easier said than done for a beginner though. Corks can be used but leave the small outside tenor drone free to sound. (Please don't tape the drone reeds or insert the drone reeds upside down etc as this can cause damage and ruin the drone reeds. I've even seen chewing gum employed so avoid this approach too!)

    Once you are practiced at keeping the pressure on your pipe bag  you can stop the drones by touching or "flicking closed" the centre top of the tenor and bass drones. This creates a vacum in the drone itself and stops them from sounding-if you are not there yet grab some drone stoppers or wine corks trimmed down for the job and put them into the drone tops!

    Play high A and tune the outside tenor drone by turning the top drone part. Tuning occurs when there is no "wavering" between the tenor drone and the pipe chanter. I recall tuning to high A then playing a low A to check that they were in tune. (its easier to hear the lower A note than the high A note( something to do with human evolution!!))

    Check and re-check but in time you will get the hang of it and the "wavering will cease.

    Having done the outside drone start or get the other (middle) tenor drone to sound by removing the cork or "flicking" the drone top open. It's easier to tune the middle drone as you can tune it to the outside tenor drone which is already tuned. Play high A and low A to check there is no wavering.

    Repeat the process for the Bass drone and recheck the high A and low A. The Bass has three sections to it so make sure you keep the top section high and then leave it alone. It doesn't need to move. Always turn the mid section of the bass drone to tune it.

    Note too that by moving or twisting a drone upwards flattens the sound or moving or twisting a drone downward sharpens it.

    In time it will be a matter of taking a few seconds to tune drones. A pipe that is well played tends to have drones that are stable so take little tuning adjustments, though the bass drone generally needs tuning as its the one you "break" to get into your pipe case at the end of a session!

    Anyway, I'm sure you will find your own technique but that's the basics of it.

    Happy tuning

    Saturday, 12 March 2011

    One way of remembering music is to know the words so why not have a wee song to yourself. Below are the words for the Green Hills of Tyrol, or as we know it:

    The Scottish Soldier:

    There was a soldier, a Scottish soldier
    Who wandered far away and soldiered far away
    There was none bolder, with good broad shoulder
    He's fought in many a fray, and fought and won.
    He'd seen the glory and told the story
    Of battles glorious and deeds nefarious
    But now he's sighing, his heart is crying
    To leave these green hills of Tyrol.

    Because these green hills are not highland hills
    Or the island hills, the're not my land's hills
    And fair as these green foreign hills may be
    They are not the hills of home.

    Jersey Pipe Band Academy: Welcome to the Academy Blog site

    Jersey Pipe Band Academy: Welcome to the Academy Blog site: "Now that the Jersey Pipe Band Academy has been running for a few months its time we made sure that we all know what's going on in our little..."

    Friday, 11 March 2011

    Please practice

    Hi guys,

    Please practice and learn off by heart the following tunes for next Thursday: 

                                Teribus and Corrichoillie

    We need to have these well embedded in our memories as we need to get marching. The more we know the tunes the more we can concentrate on marching! Seems obvious but its more difficult in reality!   So, no sheet music on the table top next week for these two tunes! Easy, I hear you say...easy!

    Also, the Green Hills of Tyrol is coming on but again the quicker we can commit this tune to memory the quicker we can learn the next tune in the set. One way of learning music is simply by learning a musical bar at a time. Don't move on until you are fairly comfortable with the bar before. Sounds like a drinking technique to me!

                                                        Good luck and happy piping!

    Welcome to the Academy Blog site

    Now that the Jersey Pipe Band Academy has been running for a few months its time we made sure that we all know what's going on in our little world.

    This blog site will hopefully help do this so make sure you save the URL as a favourite and check it regularly. For reference it is:
    The idea is that matters of interest will be "blogged" here and you can check what's going on in your academy.

    Stay tuned and thanks for taking the time to follow this blog.

    The photo of Jersey was taken when the Jersey pipe band last competed at the World Championships in 2010. It was great to be in the company of pipers and drummers from all over the world. Now that's a great reason to learn pipe and drum skills, so come along to the Berni Hall in St Martin at 7 p.m. most Thursday evenings to join the academy and meet like minded folks. Cheers for now.