The WUSPBA is not in a position to offer advice for safely gathering bands together in-person for rehearsals, performances, parades, and the like. Instead, we can offer some ideas for how to keep the music alive, keep band members motivated, and have fun with piping while we’re enduring various degrees of lock-downs and social distancing.
Here are some ideas from Pipe Majors and Band Members:
- Hold regular virtual meetings to check in on everyone and make sure they’re doing alright. These meetings are a good time for everyone to talk about what’s keeping them motivated, sane, and safe. Who’s working on what new tunes? Anyone decide to pick up a new instrument?
- Ask band members to record their practice at home, and send them in to the Pipe or Drum Major for review. These recordings are a valuable tool to help band members continue to improve their band music.
- Ask band members to suggest new tunes for the competition sets. Giving band members a say in the new music can help everyone to stay engaged, especially if their favorite tune is part of the medley.
- At the same time, don’t change too much music in the competition sets. Since it’s harder now to gauge individuals’ progress on new music, changing up an entire set could create challenges when we’re all finally able to play together.
- Take a break! Since we’re not competing for a while, it’s okay to take a break from playing the band music. We finally have time to work on performance music, so take some time to put together a new performance set. So many fantastic tunes out there, and we all have one or two that we’ve wanted to work on, right?
- Take on-line lessons. It can work very well to take lessons via Zoom, Skype, Hangouts, etc. The National Piping Centre, for example, conducts on-line lessons, as do loads of other tutors. Be sure to ask around your band members to find out who’s taking on-line lessons.
Whatever you do, please stay safe, healthy, and keep playing fantastic music. There are times, when we’re frazzled or lonely or feeling lost, that playing music takes us away from all the worries and bothers. Having that break from all the worries of life even for a little while can lift one’s spirits and put things back into perspective.