I hear a lot of funny stories from my students about practicing. Here’s one of them.

One of the hardest parts of learning to play the pipes is getting the hand position “right”. The hands need to be flat and straight and slightly angled downward almost at a 45-degree angle. I had a new student who was working on his hand position so I told him to get a “make up” mirror he could set on the table in front of him so that he could watch his hand position as he moved up and down the scale.

One day, while practicing, he was sitting on his couch with the mirror placed on the coffee table in front of him. After a while, he got up and went out to do some errands. When he came back, he noticed that he had a burn line on his couch. He told me that behind the couch is a window. While he was away, the sun was shining through his window. It hit the mirror and reflected onto the couch. Because the mirror was magnified, the sun burned the line in the couch as it moved through the sky. I don’t think that he was laughing at the time, however, when he told me the story, we both thought that it was funny.

That certainly shouldn’t discourage you from using a mirror. Seeing what you’re doing is still better than trying to imagine good position. It’s important to do everything possible to make the process easier and more efficient. Just remember to put your mirror away when you’re not using it!