Recommended whistle excercises to do to try something totally different than the usual tune practicing rut?

Ideas for thing to try for which will give me something totally different for my whistle playing than the usual tune practicing rut?

I am thinking trying something totally different would get me back into things.

I had always avoided the dreaded exercises thinking them boring and pointless.

Well we are in crazy times and the tunes I used to play to avoid the exercises now seem boring and pointless due to not having any particular goals.

I am thinking to ‘fight fire with fire’ and do those exercises I always dreaded; perhaps the strict structure to whip me back into shape like a military sojourn, as it will keep me on the ball and maybe rejuvenate my practice of tunes again down the road, improving my technique and the like.

I think the simplicity might help me get back in the swing of things. To be honest the past couple of weeks I had just been languishing away and bowing out of any practice bar 5 minutes here and there. It is not that I don’t want to play though; I miss it. I feel I just wanna try something ‘completely different’ to freshen things up and doing exercises would be about as different as it could get than my old practice since I always avoided them so much.

I will check out the good brother steve’s page and other recommendations are welcome.

I feel that setting small achievable goals like they say in psychotherapy for those who are working on their self-esteem or confidence, is the order of the day to get back into positive schedules of reinforcement.

I am confident this will help me now I think of it as I have had a similar ennui in my work a few weeks ago and changing to something new has boosted my motivation for that for sure, so time to turn my eye to the music.

So my question is for ideas on what I could do to change things up from my old ‘jigs and reels’ run through. I know, trying new tune types is another one to add to the practice exercises as something different. Many more tune types to explore besides jigs n reels.

Re: Recommended whistle excercises to do to try something totally different than the usual tune practicing rut?

Do you ever play along with recordings? I find that’s always a nice change of pace.

Re: Recommended whistle excercises to do to try something totally different than the usual tune practicing rut?

I tried it the other day, it was certainly a learning experience but not a change of pace since it is the same tunes I would play, since I have to know them already, and those are the ones I practice most which I have any hope of keeping up with, which I still don’t 🙂.

I know I can slow down but I tried sped up first to see how far off I am from ‘session speed’.

Re: Recommended whistle excercises to do to try something totally different than the usual tune practicing rut?

You can slow down YouTube videos without changing the pitch right using the YouTube "gear" control.

For .mp3 and other audio files and even video files, I use "Transcribe" by Seventh String Software to change the speed without changing the pitch to play along with recordings that might be faster than I can play along with cleanly:

https://www.seventhstring.com/

You can even use a program like "4K Download" to download YouTube files, either the full video/audio or just the audio, and then bring the downloaded file into Transcribe to play along with if it’s too fast:

https://www.4kdownload.com/products/product-videodownloader

Re: Recommended whistle excercises to do to try something totally different than the usual tune practicing rut?

Here’s an exercise that would get you out of the usual tune-practicing rut, though you might already have tried it:

Put on a recording of a tune (or set of tunes) you don’t know, and just play along by ear. Resist the temptation to look at any sheet music! Just pure ear training.

Re: Recommended whistle excercises to do to try something totally different than the usual tune practicing rut?

Not a whistle exercise in the lot but if you can adapt from flute recordings they’re ripe for the picking.

Irish Flute Tunes ~ Michael Clarkson "Mulqueeny’s Hornpipe"
http://irishflute.podbean.com/2009/04/13/mulqueenys-hornpipe/

OAIM ~ Kevin Crawford "The Quaker’s Wife"
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yVtTPZtqbB0


TOTM ~ Shannon Heaton "Anthony Frawley’s"
https://www.mattandshannonheaton.com/TOTM/?name=2021-02-12_totm-march_2021-anthonyfrawleys.mp3

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Re: Recommended whistle excercises to do to try something totally different than the usual tune practicing rut?

Have you thought of learning a second instrument?
My primary instrument is the whistle and occasionally I temporarily just lose the love of the sound of it/tunes and don’t want to play it, so switch to my second instrument for a bit, learning (usually) the same tunes?

For example, the Irish flute is exactly the same fingering (but different beast to learn and very different sound), so a good one to try, but plenty of others.

I think learning different instruments has made be a better whistle player and the learning curve was way faster (presumably as I already had a idea of rhythm etc).
It also brings back that fun spark of real learning again as you’re starting from the bottom.

If you do consider staying with the whistle and wanting new exercises, the online academy of Irish music (OAIM) is a subscription set of video lessons which take you sequentially through learning technique/exercises and tunes and a great-different way to practice, worth a go even if you just do the 14day free trial to get back into things 🙂

Re: Recommended whistle excercises to do to try something totally different than the usual tune practicing rut?

You may already be familiar with the Wellington Sessions tune archive, but if not it’s a great resource as far as being able to play along with tunes and slow them down/speed them up, loop them etc. The tunes are sourced from a variety of recordings, sometimes solo fiddle, accordion, banjo, mandolin or flute, sometimes sourced from sessions etc.

https://wellington.session.nz/tunes_archive/

Re: Recommended whistle excercises to do to try something totally different than the usual tune practicing rut?

I saw a tip from Ali Levack to play along to a drone using notes in a Pentatonic scale - it doesn’t matter what order you play the notes in.

Sounds like a good tip, for any instrument.

Re: Recommended whistle excercises to do to try something totally different than the usual tune practicing rut?

It’s easy to go stale. The reason you can sit in sessions and play tunes without much thought, even ones you half-know is the ‘library of phrases’ you’re building up.

Learn tunes in different modes for the hell of it: there’s a Phryjig (=Phrygian mode jig) on the band Sin’e Deep Water Dropoff CD, and Flook Haven has a wierd mode tune or two.

Learn tunes that practice something you’re not good at. eg for cranns, the Floating Crowbar, or the Choice Wife.

Rhythms.
How many slides and polkas do you play? My local session, there’s exactly one set of polkas including old standbys. If you need an incentive to play slides, listen to the band Slide, and you’ll be converted. Also Where the Bog Is (can’t remember the musicians off the top of my head) which is more trad.
What about hornpipes? (listen to Whistlestop by Brian Hughes for inspiration)? Waltzes? Mazurkas? Check out Altan.
Rhythm and lift can always be improved…

Re: Recommended whistle excercises to do to try something totally different than the usual tune practicing rut?

I did get a bit of playing along with a recording done last night. Was good.

Gonna do more of it.

Re: Recommended whistle excercises to do to try something totally different than the usual tune practicing rut?

Hurray!

Re: Recommended whistle excercises to do to try something totally different than the usual tune practicing rut?

This is also my suggestion: "Learn tunes that practice something you’re not good at."

I keep a list of tunes that work on my short-comings.

For A-rolls, E-rolls.
Islay Rant: https://thesession.org/tunes/1688
Drunken Landlady: https://thesession.org/tunes/363

For Rocking Figures.
Shetland Fiddler: https://thesession.org/tunes/97

For large jumps.
Tarbolton Lodge: https://thesession.org/tunes/560
Dusty Windowsills: https://thesession.org/tunes/29

Are your triplet runs whiffley or poppity, especially as you cross registers: B-c-d

Re: Recommended whistle excercises to do to try something totally different than the usual tune practicing rut?

I’m just gonna throw in my 2 cents here. Roads, your original idea of practicing those dreaded exercises is the best one ever. Someone suggested drones … great for helping you develop and maintain tone. If no-one suggested a metronome I will, emphatically. Playing along with recordings is a good idea. There is never, say it with me, never, a good reason to overlook what it takes to develop a skill set. Don’t "dread" exercises, it’s the discipline that will make you a great player. Ask yourself "what human endeavor has been improved by ignoring skills"? Honing skills won’t help you learn tunes, but it will let you play them any better. Yeah you can beat yourself by spending time doing nothing but learning tunes and eventually you’ll know a lot of tunes. Wouldn’t it be nice to play them with skill in some way that make someone, anyone, want to hear them? If the tunes aren’t worth that why would we bother to play them?

Re: Recommended whistle excercises to do to try something totally different than the usual tune practicing rut?

@Tom I don’t do any ornaments at all, well except if you count cuts to break two notes the same.

Re: Recommended whistle excercises to do to try something totally different than the usual tune practicing rut?

One thing I sometimes do on whistle or flute is explore ways to vary a tune. First I play it as I normally would, then a few times around without using any rolls (replacing them with other figures), then a few times around with as many rolls as possible.

Re: Recommended whistle excercises to do to try something totally different than the usual tune practicing rut?

I’ve been attending online lessons with Conor Lamb that I found mentioned in another thread on here. I’ve found them really useful not just learning some new tunes but making me think more about variation.

If you didn’t want to try that then maybe a hint might be to try to learn a tune you don’t know and then try to come up with variations for each part and then practice changing them with each repeat.

http://whistleworkshops.com/ is Conor’s site.

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