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 Post subject: What I have Learned from Two Years of Playing Whistles:
PostPosted: Thu Aug 16, 2007 8:17 pm 
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I am surprised that I have been playing whistles for two years now (yes, that long!!) and I've made up a list of what I've learned:

I CAN play jigs! (For a long time it seemed impossible--too fast. But, with lots of practice...)

Rolls really are possible.

Irish music is best mixed. (Even on IT discs, the pure music makes me nervous after a while. A good mix is slow airs and worship music).

People are less critical than you are. (One accomplished musician said, "People don't care about mistakes." I've found this true--often they don't even hear them).

D whistles sound like the ice cream truck. (Too many have said it and they weren't being mean).

Lower whistles are less "whistly" than D whistles. (Maybe "ice cream truck" isn't so bad...)

Older is better. (The older the song, the better it sounds on a whistle, including Middle Ages music and old hymns).

You must choose your earplugs with the same care that you choose your whistle. (The best ones filter out about 15 decibels--without distorting the music. My favorites don't).

Fast music is fun and it makes people clap.

People love hearing whistling in parks, shopping centers, college campuses--and they detour to tell you so.

It's not the whistle, it's the whistler...

...but custom whistles make it!

Admit that you're playing with a toy (they'll still consider you a magician).

Rhythm is everything (don't play too fast)!

Let 'em laugh! They'll never know the joy and the stress relief of playing your own music.

Love in Jesus,
Kelly

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"A man can no more diminish God's glory by refusing to worship him than a lunatic can put out the sun by scribbling, 'darkness' on the walls of his cell." --C.S. Lewis.


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 16, 2007 8:38 pm 
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Good list, Kelly!

"People are less critical than you are."

That's the gem to remember. I think that goes for just about anything.


Kitty

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I, the LORD, do all these things."
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 16, 2007 10:16 pm 
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What a super post. Great observations and certainly true in my experience.



Edited to agree with Judy about not sounding like the ice cream van.


Last edited by Adrian on Thu Aug 16, 2007 11:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 16, 2007 10:20 pm 
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This is a great list of accomplishments, Kelly!

Every observation .... except the ice cream truck bit .... has proved to be true in my experiences, too. Living far out in the country has precluded any ice cream trucks from visiting the 'neighborhood' ... so I'm not too familiar with that sound. :D


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 17, 2007 7:39 am 
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I would add to the list this one.

Any whistle is better than none.

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This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 17, 2007 11:45 am 
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True, Ron!

About the "ice cream truck" comment--that's not OUR fault--it's the ice cream truck's fault!!

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"A man can no more diminish God's glory by refusing to worship him than a lunatic can put out the sun by scribbling, 'darkness' on the walls of his cell." --C.S. Lewis.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Aug 17, 2007 11:47 am 
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Now...tell me what YOU'VE learned!!

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"A man can no more diminish God's glory by refusing to worship him than a lunatic can put out the sun by scribbling, 'darkness' on the walls of his cell." --C.S. Lewis.


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 17, 2007 1:52 pm 
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Nice! I agree with all of these, except maaaaybe the second one... but that's a matter of taste. I like solo stuff myself :P (but a good arrangement can be amazing too)

What have I learned... hm

Rhythm IS everything! Internal rhythm of the feet and bars even more than simple keeping the beat.

The best thing, when performing, is having an entire audience clap their hands to the music....

...and the worst thing, when performing, is having an entire audience clap their hands completely and totally off-beat. Happens every time. I love it tho. As long as I'm blessing people it's all good.

And that's just it. When you're blessing people with your music, it doens't matter what you're doing....

...but if you start thinking that way you'll stop blessing them verrrry quickly. ;)

Generations are really very consistent after all. *cough* Or maybe I'm just lucky.

But Feadogs are still better.

It doensn't matter what you tell people. You're always gonna be "that kid with the recorder".

Too much ornamentation kills a tune, but too little jsut numbs it.

Flute is NOT a whistle played sideways.

Pipes are NOT a whistle with a seatbelt and some friends.

Don't go biking or running with a whistle in your pocket. It WILL get lost and you WILL feel like an idiot.

But do take a whistle everywhere you go, you never know when you might need it :D

Whistles are proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy. (*cough*)

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Aug 17, 2007 2:29 pm 
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I too have learned to play jigs, and would like to branch out in to reels, but I have a hard time figuring out the ornamentation. I play by ear, and when they use lots of ornaments, as they allways do in reels, it's hard to learn the song. I have to remind myself of the lower levil of scruteny on the part of the audience than my own all the time after I give a performance. I also agree that older hymns, for the most part, sound better on whistles. Contemporary songs just don't sound as nice as a good hymn when it comes to whistle.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Aug 17, 2007 3:53 pm 
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1. Play the kind of music that you enjoy.
2. The kind of music you enjoy may change from day to day.
3. Give a whistle a fair tryout. Some require more experience than others.
4. There is no such thing as a bad whistle.
5. If you can learn a tune by ear do it. If you need the dots use them.
6. We all don't like the same brands of whistles. That's OK.
7. Play a little every day.
8. Variety makes your playing less boring.
9. Many cheapies are as good or better than some high end whistles.
10. Just because you don't like it doesn't make it a poor whistle.
11. I learn something new every day.

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This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.
Psalms 118:24


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Aug 17, 2007 5:11 pm 
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whistlenut wrote:
I too have learned to play jigs, and would like to branch out in to reels, but I have a hard time figuring out the ornamentation. I play by ear, and when they use lots of ornaments, as they allways do in reels, it's hard to learn the song.

You have to learn how to "listen faster"! :mrgreen:

I naturally play by ear, but to learn the whistle, I had to get a book as I had no access to other whistlers, so I learned to read the dots a little bit. I went through the same process.

Once you can get past thinking of music as a series of notes horizontally and think of the tune going vertically, that will come.

Meanwhile, Winamp has some plugins to change pitch/tempo to a speed and pitch that will fit your abilities, but I suggest adjusting the speed just above the speed you think you can play it, maybe 15-30% higher.

I used to learn a tune 3 times. Learn it from the dots, listen to lots of recordings of the tune, go back and figure out where to put the different ornaments and learn one version of that, then when the brain and fingers relax and you can think ahead while playing and choose a different set of ornaments for the coming phrase/turn, you have finally gotten a start on the tune.

Be prepared to learn new tricks when you meet another whistler.

YMMV


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Aug 17, 2007 5:32 pm 
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What I have learned playing the whistle:

1. I am a woodwind person and I am string impaired. I wasted years trying to play rock 'n roll when I was a teen.

2. The rhythm and "lift" of Irish music is gotten by lengthening the notes of the down beat (or adding a cut or double cut as well) a little bit and on the back beat, a little less. It works in most other musical styles as well, but it doesn't seem to work in most blues.

3. The tin whistle is a gateway drug to much more expensive and harder drugs such as wooden flutes and uilleann bagpipes.

4. You get lots more complements than you deserve except from the minority of people who actually dislike music.

5. The sound from a "quiet" whistle carrys a pretty far piece outside, but carries very little inside, even through the thin walls of an apartment. I had one neighbor that would get a glass and put it on the wall and put her ear against it to hear me better. I got a neighbor last year that will encourage me to play one day and cuss me out the next!?

6. I get more questions about my bones than about my whistles and pipes.

7. Tunes I learn from music, I need to know the name and starting note before I can play it, if I learn by ear, I have no idea of the name but the tune is under my fingers.

8. After years of listening, sometimes a tune will magically appear under my fingers, alwas a joy as you don't struggle to learn it. However, I can seldom start them, but I can follow another melody instrument.

9. I am old enough to forget everything...


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Aug 17, 2007 8:00 pm 
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1. Play the music your way ... no one else around here knows the "right" way
2. Play whatever music strikes your fancy
3. PLAY ... at every opportunity, every day.
4. Your joy in the music will add to your listeners' pleasure.
5. The more you play any song, the easier it will be to recall later
6. Making a whistle can be as satisfactory as playing
7. Giving away a whistle and spreading the joy is even better

The very best thing in my life as a result of whistles:
... the friends found through the love of the same silly tube with 6 holes.

( ... and whistles led to dulcimers - yippee! ) ;)


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 18, 2007 8:50 am 
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Judy your number 4 is so true. At Dublin I was at a workshop for fiddle. The girl presenting the tunes and techniques was so joyful in her playing that it made everybody happy. We all were sorry when she had to quit to let the bodhran group in.

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This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 18, 2007 10:06 am 
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When playing your whistle in church, you can get so "lost" in the song that you can't find your way back to your seat afterward.

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PostPosted: Sun Aug 19, 2007 3:38 pm 
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Wow, that's never happend to me! I have also learned that playing the whistle does truely make you master music instead of the instrament. I've spent most of my two years of playing working with hymns, and am pretty good at playing them. Now however, I'm trying to branch out in to improv and Itrad, and am finding them extremely dificult. I've finally figured out a method for improv, but only after months of agonizing.


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 20, 2007 2:23 pm 
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TheSpoonMan wrote:
It doensn't matter what you tell people. You're always gonna be "that kid with the recorder". :lol:

Too much ornamentation kills a tune, but too little jsut numbs it.

Flute is NOT a whistle played sideways.

Whistles are proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy. (*cough*)


Bravo, Spoonman! :lol:

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 20, 2007 2:34 pm 
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Wow, I LOVE ALL these lists! More, more!!

Ron and Fancypiper, I think all the points on your lists were inspired!

Ron, I used to think there were MANY bad whistles, but since I have more experience, I know I was wrong. Many whistles just have a particular way they like to be played. And, any more, I think that if we all took ten steps backward and blindfolded ourselves, we couldn't tell if someone were playing our expensive whistles or our cheap ones! (but I HOPE I'm wrong about that, having spent hundreds on custom whistles!!)

Fancypiper, I wasn't aware that whistles are a "gateway drug." Thanks a lot for telling me NOW, since I'm already hooked!!

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"A man can no more diminish God's glory by refusing to worship him than a lunatic can put out the sun by scribbling, 'darkness' on the walls of his cell." --C.S. Lewis.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Aug 20, 2007 3:41 pm 
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kelly wrote:
Fancypiper, I wasn't aware that whistles are a "gateway drug." Thanks a lot for telling me NOW, since I'm already hooked!!


Hey kid, try this free tinwhistle, the first one is free...

Just remember, flat pipes rule, so when you just gotta have uilleann pipes, get a flat set. Resist the urge to get a Concert or D set (the shrieking stick, I call my Hillmann) .


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Aug 20, 2007 4:33 pm 
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1. Whistle players are all just a little bit whacked.

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"I form the light and create darkness, I bring prosperity and create disaster;
I, the LORD, do all these things."
Isaiah 45:7 NIV


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Aug 28, 2007 12:35 pm 
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I've been playing for two and a half years now and I agree with lots said here. (I disagree about there not being bad whistles -- I can show you a few. But I understand and agree with the idea that the cheapies sound good too.)

1. Listen to lots of playing. This includes the pros and the not-so-pros.
2. Play music you like -- music that speaks to you. This makes a big difference.
3. I' ve got to play the music I like in a way that will help others like it too. I can't assume that a tune (or a whistle) that I like will be immediately pleasing to others. I've got to give them a reason to like it. (Not that all music has to be played for others, but if I'm going to . . . )
4. There's always more to learn. Sometimes I've found big break-throughs in playing, followed by periods of seeming little progress, but which are marked by working on little things that actually start accumulating to create other break-through periods.
5. Play and record. Hearing yourself play, and being honest about what you hear -- what is good, what isn't -- really helps you improve.
6. Since I don't have a live teacher, I've tried to buy all the tutorials I can get and learn from each.
7. Learn from others. Teach others what you know.
8. Make sure to play the whistle from the right end.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Aug 28, 2007 12:53 pm 
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Quote:
8. Make sure to play the whistle from the right end.


Could you be a bit more specific? :P

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 28, 2007 12:57 pm 
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What I mean is, if you're holding the whistle, the skinny end is on the left and the big end is on the right, so would that make the big end the right end?

:shock: :-k

Or ... is the left end the right end?

:shock:


to borrow a Shadoe-ism:

hehehe

jrc

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 Post subject: What Ive learned from 2 and one half months of playing?
PostPosted: Tue Aug 28, 2007 5:59 pm 
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1. My wife thinks this will pass, like my vegan period.
2. A few minutes ago someone mentioned the song from Babe, and I nailed it on a C whistle just by experimenting. It felt good.
3. I am developing an attachment to my whistle, I like to have it near me.
4. I am sure there is Irish blood somewhere in my heritage.
5. Sticky tack is fun to play with
6. Too many praise songs go one note lower than I am holding in my hand.
7. Somedays the pipers grip is magic, somedays paralyized.
8. I like you folks here at PWF. No one is normal.
9. I know one day I will own an Overton
10. I am a beginner.
:mrgreen:
Don in AZ


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 Post subject: Re: What Ive learned from 2 and one half months of playing?
PostPosted: Tue Aug 28, 2007 11:46 pm 
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DonHen wrote:
6. Too many praise songs go one note lower than I am holding in my hand.


With the D and Eb whistle it is easy to get that lower note by using your pinkie to partly cover the end of the whistle. Many whistlers do this and it becomes second nature after a while.


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