Your Guide to The 2015 North American Highland Games
On This Page You'll Find:
- Schedules for Highland Games in North America
- Solo Competition Tips for Beginners
- Packing for a Games
- Never Been? What to expect.
Check back to this page for new additions!
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It can be a little nerve racking when competing for the the first time in bagpipe competition, so we thought that it would be a good idea to give you some things to remember as well as what to expect.
Prior to packing up the family truckster… be sure that you..
- Check the weather forecast for your destination, and pack rain gear regardless of what it says
- Double check your uniform kit bag…everything from your hat to your shoes…and everything in between…twice!!
- Double check to make sure that you have everything that you will need for your instrument…including extra (broken in and ready to play) chanter and drone reeds…drying brushes…general maintenance equipment
- have a print out of the order of play from the games registrar.
- Don’t forget your passport if you are going out of the country...
When you arrive at the games...
- Check in at the appointed time at the piping and drumming tent…check the rules for the piping society that governs the highland games you are attending..
- Verify the order of play…the time that the event starts…and check in with the steward at the judges station...
- know that your playing position may be moved up if other competitors drop out or don’t show…so be ready early!
- be sure to have your instrument warmed up and tuned up prior to stepping inside the judging area.
Playing for a judge:
- #1…relax…the judges have been in your shoes…they know what it is like and they WANT you to play at your best...
- Speak to the judge. Give your name and the name of the tune or tunes that you are playing for them. You can salute the judge if you like…I personally don’t because I have not been a member of the military and don’t want to disgrace the salute.
- After you speak with the judge, they typically say…”take your time”…they mean it!!! Depending on the event that you are playing …you will generally have 2 or 3 minutes to final tune your instrument prior to playing your piece. This time, I have found, is even better for calming myself down. At this point you either know the music or you don’t…you must gather yourself mentally and calm your nerves.
- Typically, when I am ready to play for the judge, I will face that person, play a long E…then begin my tune…the judging starts when you start your tune…not one moment before.
- If you make a mistake…squeak on a note…get off the tune…do your very best not to quit (break down)…play your tune to the end…you may not get a prize..or you just might…but once you start the habit of breaking down…it seems to happen more frequently in the future...
After the Judging
- Properly pack up your bagpipes and secure them
- After all the competitors in your event have played…check back at the piping and drumming tent for results…you will get your score sheet there...
Still have questions?
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About the Scoresheet
- In general there are two kinds of judges
- the book writer
- the minimalist
- The judges #1 job here is to place the competitors in an order for prizes…many times the score sheets reflect the information that they need to make these placings...
- The Book writer…some judges look at this as an opportunity to help you down your path to playing better music and make the score sheet reflect specific things that they feel you need to work on in order to improve.
- The minimalist…may write very little at all on the score sheet…but provide just enough information to place the competitors in their proper order.