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 Post subject: Opinions on Lessons
PostPosted: Fri Dec 28, 2018 8:42 am 
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What is everyone's opinion on Tin Whistle lessons from the Online Academy of Irish Music or Blayne Chastain's lessons?

I live in East Tennessee and have posted to the teacher forums but have had no response.

I wouldn't call myself a beginner as I've played Tin Whistle off and on for many years and minored in Clarinet Performance in college, but I would like to dig into Penny Whistle performance and get better.


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 Post subject: Re: Opinions on Lessons
PostPosted: Fri Dec 28, 2018 9:09 am 
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I've used the online academy of music extensively, for bodhran, whistle, and flute. It's good: they have a great selection of many songs. The tracks you can slow down are great, the "virtual session" is good craic. But it's not as good as being in the room with a live player teaching you the tune. Also it's slightly annoying that you will often find three versions or even four versions of the tune on the site--the "lesson" version, the sheet music version, the mp3 track version and the 360 degree-in-the-pub-session version. Actually check that you could have FIVE versions, because as I recall a couple are taught on whistle AND flute.

I understand this is the way ITM operates, and one should develop a quick ear and the ability to change tunes as needed, but if you come as beginner it's frustrating. A teacher would give you an authoritative version to learn and build off of, but having multiple versions as a beginner just adds frustration.

That's really my only complaint about it though. It's very well, organized, the teachers are excellent, first class players, the mp3 tunes are useful to slow down and the virtual 36-degree session is great fun


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 Post subject: Re: Opinions on Lessons
PostPosted: Fri Dec 28, 2018 10:17 am 
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PB+J wrote:
I understand this is the way ITM operates, and one should develop a quick ear and the ability to change tunes as needed, but if you come as beginner it's frustrating. A teacher would give you an authoritative version to learn and build off of, but having multiple versions as a beginner just adds frustration.

This is... weird to me? I mean, this is indeed "the way ITM operates". A GOOD teacher is 100% going to teach you more than one way to play the tune. And hell, an average teacher who is immersed in the tradition is probably lucky if they can play the tune exactly the same way twice in a row. That's actually a non-trivial skill. When I've tried teaching tunes and wanted to stick to one version, I've found I normally have to rely on playing off sheet music to stick to one particular way to play a tune, and even then it can be a bit tricky, because it's really easy to stop reading and just start playing.

But on the flip side, if sticking to one version is important to you and you don't have a teacher in the room, then all you have to do is find one particular recording / video and stick to it? That recording is going to be the exact same every time you listen to it...

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 Post subject: Re: Opinions on Lessons
PostPosted: Fri Dec 28, 2018 10:41 am 
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So you can't print off sheet music to play with the actual lessons.. is it all by ear with the printable sheet music being different from the lesson version?


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 Post subject: Re: Opinions on Lessons
PostPosted: Fri Dec 28, 2018 10:56 am 
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PB+J wrote:
I've used the online academy of music extensively, for bodhran, whistle, and flute. It's good: they have a great selection of many songs. The tracks you can slow down are great, the "virtual session" is good craic. But it's not as good as being in the room with a live player teaching you the tune. Also it's slightly annoying that you will often find three versions or even four versions of the tune on the site--the "lesson" version, the sheet music version, the mp3 track version and the 360 degree-in-the-pub-session version. Actually check that you could have FIVE versions, because as I recall a couple are taught on whistle AND flute.

I understand this is the way ITM operates, and one should develop a quick ear and the ability to change tunes as needed, but if you come as beginner it's frustrating. A teacher would give you an authoritative version to learn and build off of, but having multiple versions as a beginner just adds frustration.

That's really my only complaint about it though. It's very well, organized, the teachers are excellent, first class players, the mp3 tunes are useful to slow down and the virtual 36-degree session is great fun


Would you say then it is worth it and that I am going to learn from it like I would an actual lesson?


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 Post subject: Re: Opinions on Lessons
PostPosted: Fri Dec 28, 2018 12:18 pm 
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colomon wrote:
PB+J wrote:
I understand this is the way ITM operates, and one should develop a quick ear and the ability to change tunes as needed, but if you come as beginner it's frustrating. A teacher would give you an authoritative version to learn and build off of, but having multiple versions as a beginner just adds frustration.

This is... weird to me? I mean, this is indeed "the way ITM operates". A GOOD teacher is 100% going to teach you more than one way to play the tune. And hell, an average teacher who is immersed in the tradition is probably lucky if they can play the tune exactly the same way twice in a row. That's actually a non-trivial skill. When I've tried teaching tunes and wanted to stick to one version, I've found I normally have to rely on playing off sheet music to stick to one particular way to play a tune, and even then it can be a bit tricky, because it's really easy to stop reading and just start playing.

But on the flip side, if sticking to one version is important to you and you don't have a teacher in the room, then all you have to do is find one particular recording / video and stick to it? That recording is going to be the exact same every time you listen to it...



So basically you are repeating what I said as if I said something different.


It must be nice to never have been a beginner. Congratulations


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 Post subject: Re: Opinions on Lessons
PostPosted: Fri Dec 28, 2018 12:21 pm 
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Matthewlawson3 wrote:
PB+J wrote:
I've used the online academy of music extensively, for bodhran, whistle, and flute. It's good: they have a great selection of many songs. The tracks you can slow down are great, the "virtual session" is good craic. But it's not as good as being in the room with a live player teaching you the tune. Also it's slightly annoying that you will often find three versions or even four versions of the tune on the site--the "lesson" version, the sheet music version, the mp3 track version and the 360 degree-in-the-pub-session version. Actually check that you could have FIVE versions, because as I recall a couple are taught on whistle AND flute.

I understand this is the way ITM operates, and one should develop a quick ear and the ability to change tunes as needed, but if you come as beginner it's frustrating. A teacher would give you an authoritative version to learn and build off of, but having multiple versions as a beginner just adds frustration.

That's really my only complaint about it though. It's very well, organized, the teachers are excellent, first class players, the mp3 tunes are useful to slow down and the virtual 36-degree session is great fun


Would you say then it is worth it and that I am going to learn from it like I would an actual lesson?



No, I think an actual lesson with a person is much better, but actual lessons from good teachers are not that easy to come by and, at least where I live, and family and work obligations are many. You may find the same. The Online Academy does offer a lot of valuable information and I think it does it as well as it can be done by "canned" video. I found it very valuable


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 Post subject: Re: Opinions on Lessons
PostPosted: Fri Dec 28, 2018 12:22 pm 
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If I was starting a new instrument without local teachers, I would probably seek out a Skype lesson or two if it wasn't too expensive, then use something like OAIM and a good book. Since I started whistle over a decade ago with an in-person teacher and now play mostly pipes, I don't know the current whistle book recommendations. That being said, there are also some good youtube series on whistle technique and tunes. And the nice thing about OAIM is that you can try it for free.

The reason for the Skype lesson is that I like having a sanity check for what I'm currently doing with the instrument. There are many bad habits that can be learned, and it's good to check that early. Books and online lessons can't tell you what you're doing wrong.

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 Post subject: Re: Opinions on Lessons
PostPosted: Fri Dec 28, 2018 9:18 pm 
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All good points. Thank you! I have Grey Larsen's Essential Guide to Irish Flute and Penny Whistle, but that is all.


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 Post subject: Re: Opinions on Lessons
PostPosted: Sat Dec 29, 2018 7:40 pm 
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I have used the Online Academy of Irish Music often. I have no experience with Blayne's so I can't comment. I enjoy the Online Academy and have learned a lot. Don't get too bogged down in the details of the versions issue mentioned above. There are variations, but unless you are particularly detail oriented it won't drive you too crazy. It is one of the difficulties classical players often experience when they are learning trad. If you sat in orchestra for years and know that the 3rd note in the 5th measure on line 51 of the score is a f# 32nd note followed by a quarter note on g, and everybody always plays it exactly the same way every time, trad takes some getting used to.

We do have a tendency to vary quite a bit in traditional Irish music while maintaining the structure of the tune, and the thing you will get on the Online Academy is a strong foundation in technique and practice in learning by ear. It is easy to play along with the teacher and read the music as printed. And when you do play the tune it will be recognizable as a specific Irish tune played by a trad player, hopefully.

I do believe they are still offering a free trial week, so I'd give that a go. It is also easy to set up payments for a period of time or cancel and restart whenever you need to. If there are no good whistle teachers around it is a great alternative. They will also answer questions if you post them.

You will likely learn a lot. Having the right person sitting across the room from you is great, when you can get it. But if you can't the systematic instruction at OAIM is better than trying a hit or miss variety of YouTubers who may or may not lead you in the right direction.

Also, just for discussion: I have been taking lessons off and on on various instruments for decades from various locally or nationally known players here in Chicago-land and seldom have I been given a note for note version of anything unless it is a tune with an actual composer either living or dead. I hear a lot of "that's how so and so plays it, though when I play it I play it like this since I learned it from so and so." Unfortunately for most of us we don't get to pick the brains of players who have been steeped in the tradition for 20 to 50 years. The rule of thumb here in sessions is try to play it the way the person who started it plays it and don't clash. Though it is true that for beginners most teachers pick a version and suggest you stick with that for a while.

Enjoy!


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 Post subject: Re: Opinions on Lessons
PostPosted: Sat Dec 29, 2018 11:37 pm 
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busterbill wrote:
I have used the Online Academy of Irish Music often. I have no experience with Blayne's so I can't comment. I enjoy the Online Academy and have learned a lot. Don't get too bogged down in the details of the versions issue mentioned above. There are variations, but unless you are particularly detail oriented it won't drive you too crazy. It is one of the difficulties classical players often experience when they are learning trad. If you sat in orchestra for years and know that the 3rd note in the 5th measure on line 51 of the score is a f# 32nd note followed by a quarter note on g, and everybody always plays it exactly the same way every time, trad takes some getting used to.

We do have a tendency to vary quite a bit in traditional Irish music while maintaining the structure of the tune, and the thing you will get on the Online Academy is a strong foundation in technique and practice in learning by ear. It is easy to play along with the teacher and read the music as printed. And when you do play the tune it will be recognizable as a specific Irish tune played by a trad player, hopefully.

I do believe they are still offering a free trial week, so I'd give that a go. It is also easy to set up payments for a period of time or cancel and restart whenever you need to. If there are no good whistle teachers around it is a great alternative. They will also answer questions if you post them.

You will likely learn a lot. Having the right person sitting across the room from you is great, when you can get it. But if you can't the systematic instruction at OAIM is better than trying a hit or miss variety of YouTubers who may or may not lead you in the right direction.

Also, just for discussion: I have been taking lessons off and on on various instruments for decades from various locally or nationally known players here in Chicago-land and seldom have I been given a note for note version of anything unless it is a tune with an actual composer either living or dead. I hear a lot of "that's how so and so plays it, though when I play it I play it like this since I learned it from so and so." Unfortunately for most of us we don't get to pick the brains of players who have been steeped in the tradition for 20 to 50 years. The rule of thumb here in sessions is try to play it the way the person who started it plays it and don't clash. Though it is true that for beginners most teachers pick a version and suggest you stick with that for a while.

Enjoy!


Thank you. I'll look into OAIM then. I'm still waiting for my Burke Narrow Bore Brass D whistle I recently ordered. Though I still have my Susatos and my Generation, Clarke, and Feadog whistles.


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 Post subject: Re: Opinions on Lessons
PostPosted: Sun Dec 30, 2018 3:33 am 
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You must realise you will be doing two things at the same time: learning the whistle and, assuming the Irish Traditional route, learning a new musical idiom. The mechanics of whistle playing are, in themselves, not all that hard to grasp. The musical side of it wants immersion and will be an ongoing project that some might say will take a lifetime. There aren't any shortcuts. Listen to good playing, not necessarily just whistle, and absorb, acquaint yourself with the music. And I don't mean, watch random youtube videos of unknown quantities, get the real deal and immerse yourself.

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 Post subject: Re: Opinions on Lessons
PostPosted: Mon Dec 31, 2018 1:28 pm 
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Matthewlawson3 wrote:
All good points. Thank you! I have Grey Larsen's Essential Guide to Irish Flute and Penny Whistle, but that is all.

Check with Grey Larsen about possible skype lessons to accompany the guide book.


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 Post subject: Re: Opinions on Lessons
PostPosted: Wed Jan 02, 2019 6:56 pm 
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Thank you.


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 Post subject: Re: Opinions on Lessons
PostPosted: Thu Jan 03, 2019 5:31 am 
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PB+J wrote:
it's slightly annoying that you will often find three versions or even four versions of the tune on the site--the "lesson" version, the sheet music version, the mp3 track version and the 360 degree-in-the-pub-session version... if you come as beginner it's frustrating.


I'm with you there 100%. What you're bringing up is a fairly common problem in ITM: the same teaching source not having their different teaching modalities in line with each other.

It's SOP in teaching to say something aloud at the same time that the student is reading the same information. This is done so that the aural and visual modalities can reinforce each other. What you wouldn't do is have the two modalities contradict each other! Which would confuse any student who is paying attention to both modalities.

But this modality clash/contradiction happens all the time in ITM.

I've come across many instances but one of the most glaring was the first NPU instructional video and its accompanying booklet which contained sheet music.

There were two instructors. One played the tunes the same way they were written in the booklet, the other did not. This was brought to my attention by beginners who were reading the music and trying to play along with the video and didn't understand why their playing clashed with the video.

I had to transcribe all of the second instructor's tunes so that beginners could have a match between what they were seeing and what they were hearing. One does wonder how such a glaring error could have escaped the notice of the producers of the video.

Another instance is an instructional book for a particular instrument that comes with an accompanying CD of the tunes featured in the book being played. The versions written in the book have no correlation to the versions on the CD. One wonders what the intention was of even including such a CD; it's sure not the standard teaching method of having the aural and visual reinforce each other.

I've always assumed that the root of these issues is the players involved not being conversant enough with staff notation. One would think that the authors of these instructional materials would get somebody who knows staff notation on board to insure that the sheet music matched the playing.

Back in the days before the internet I can see why sheet music was used, but nowadays they might as well do away with it and just teach tunes aurally, removing a potential source of confusion.

About a teacher teaching one version and using that as a springboard, that's exactly how I was taught. My mentor would teach me a basic version, a skeleton version, which would then be fleshed out, as we explored numerous twists the tune could take. From the very start 1) I was taught purely by ear and 2) understood that an Irish tune wasn't a fixed set of notes but a notion (as in the notional/functional language approach).

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