One of the activities that i am involved with in the piping world is getting a new Pipe Band off the ground at Cornwall Hill College in Pretoria.
I have now trained up a pipe corps that have excellent finger work and the blowing has started to take shape. The next crucial step in getting this band up and running is developing the tone of the the pipe corps. To do this i have started to work on a tuning routine, the steps I follow are below:
1. Maintenance must be of thee highest standard, we cant all play like world champions however we can maintain our instruments like world champions, I conduct regular maintenance inspections of all the instruments in the Corps.
2. Weather it is a practice or a function or a competition the routine remains the same.
3. All the pipers stand in a similar area i.e. all on grass facing the sun and away from any walls. They then play on there own for around 10min
4. While every one is playing I tune my own instrument, I then use an electric tuner to take a reading off my drones.
5. Now I put my own instrument down and quickly go to each of my student pipers and set there drones to the tuner.
6. Once all the drones have been tuned I call the corps together and we play through a set. Usually around 4 parts of march.
7. I now walk off about 15m from the pipe corps and take one piper with me. The rest of the corps continues to play through the music they know.
8. Once i have tuned up the piper that came with me I send him/her back and they send me the next piper.
9. After checking and tuning all the chanters in the band I return to the band and we play a set together.
10. Then I cut the band and tune my own drones once again. I then take a reading once again with an electronic tuner.
11. I count the band in to a set, then I move around the outside and tune the drones again.
12. I now call the drummers over to join our practice.