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 Post subject: Re: Opinions on Lessons
PostPosted: Thu Jan 03, 2019 5:38 am 
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Mr.Gumby wrote:
Listen to good playing, not necessarily just whistle...


Yes indeed my first mentor stressed that very thing. I was learning the uilleann pipes and he urged me to not just listen to the pipers but also to box players, fiddlers, all of it.

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 Post subject: Re: Opinions on Lessons
PostPosted: Thu Jan 03, 2019 7:12 am 
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People sometimes ask how to learn the music i'm playing. One of the fundamental things I always emphasise is to teach yourself to listen. That the big bands are great, but that you should be listening to single players, duos, box and fiddle, whistle and guitar, solo flute ... whatever. These are where you can hear the nuances of variation, lift and rhythm.

Also, choose what you listen to with discernment and advice. Youtube is great in many ways, but it is also full of traps, bad playing and bad habits.

I've never had a music lesson. Well, not an actual formal lesson.

My lessons were, growing up with the music*, regularly dancing to it from an early age (as long as I can remember, my mother danced when she was pregnant), from festivals and dances to sessions, and dancing with and playing for local Morris and Rapper sides to playing in dance bands and then for concerts too.

I got tunes, tips, descriptions and corrections many, many times along the way. I'd be going to a couple of sessions and practicing with a couple of Morris or Rapper teams each week, alongside monthly dances and one-off dances, and all the music at home and around the family.

Is all that all a boast? No, it's just a description of something that is pretty common in the traditional music world here in England. It feels pretty normal until you write it down and think of what the general population do.

How do I put this? With people living so far from the centres of a tradition that they are trying to learn, it's difficult for me to truly understand what's going on. For me, traditional folk music is social music: fundamentally so.

Don't get me wrong, I can see why you might use an online instructional and of course why you'd like the music, and I'd not tell anyone not to play ... ever ... well, hardly ever :P

From what I've seen of online lessons or instructionals is that they take you through the tune note by note, play it slowly and then more quickly, giving a few tips about playing as they go along. If the tutor truly knows their stuff, even if they're only half-way good at putting it over, then I can't see the harm. At the very least you're getting to know your instrument, forming some goals and interacting more directly with a musician than you would in a studio recording. You're injecting a bit of positive direction into your practice which is good.

From what I've seen of the OAIM videos, and if you like what you've seen of them and are tempted, then why not (monetary concerns apart)?



* When I talk of "the music", I'm not just talking of Irish traditions. I grew up listening to a lot of English, Irish, Scottish etc music. I live in Coventry (in England) where a lot of Irish people settled, so many sessions were dominated by Irish centred music. But, there were English style sessions, and many "Irish" sessions also played a lot of English music and were frequented by people who knew a lot of English material. Then there were the dances, which were virtually all English trad. ... and then there's Morris and rapper :-D

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Last edited by ecadre on Thu Jan 03, 2019 7:20 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Opinions on Lessons
PostPosted: Thu Jan 03, 2019 7:17 am 
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... and who would say no to a video lesson from Kevin Burke (whatever instrument you play)?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zj3HdqHEsgI

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 Post subject: Re: Opinions on Lessons
PostPosted: Thu Jan 03, 2019 8:49 pm 
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Thank you for the information. I'll probably try out the Online Academy of Irish Music. Fortunately, I've played music for 20 years and minored in music in college. I understand the basics for the Penny Whistle, but the details of playing Penny Whistle like cuts, strikes, legato, etc and Irish traditional playing are things I need to work on. I learned music by playing Clarinet, so not tonguing most of the time is odd to me for instance. I'm familiar with trills and glissandos, and vibrato. How do you do vibrato on the Penny Whistle? Finger vibrato?

I can't seem to find a local teacher in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. We're all suppose to be Scotch-Irish here haha. Bluegrass is big as well.


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 Post subject: Re: Opinions on Lessons
PostPosted: Fri Jan 04, 2019 9:39 am 
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I think lessons are good for learning basic technique, but the music itself is quite improvisatory, so once you get skilled enough to play reasonably well you pretty much play by ear, which suits me as that is how I grew up playing music.

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 Post subject: Re: Opinions on Lessons
PostPosted: Mon Jan 21, 2019 3:26 pm 
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I have been playing through the lessons on the Online Academy of Irish Music for a few weeks now. Trying to practice every day. Sometimes just exercises, 3rds, arpeggios, scales, cuts, etc on some days.

I like the lessons. I often view the included sheet music and then listen to the teacher's style and ornaments. I am a classical player, so I'm finding the sheet music and what she plays doesn't always match up. In that case I ignore what is written and try to listen and watch how she plays and match it. But I'm learning.

I am currently trying to work out finger vibrato. Is it proper to vibrato the second hole below what the main note is?


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 Post subject: Re: Opinions on Lessons
PostPosted: Mon Jan 21, 2019 4:01 pm 
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Matthewlawson3 wrote:
I am currently trying to work out finger vibrato. Is it proper to vibrato the second hole below what the main note is?

"Proper" may not be the right concept. This is folk music, not classical. Depending on the tune, the context, the whistle, and your mood, what sounds best is best. Try various options and see.

You get the feel for the music (not that I have it) by, if lucky, being raised with it but for most of us by listening assiduously to trad music.

Them's my thoughts.

Best wishes.

Steve

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 Post subject: Re: Opinions on Lessons
PostPosted: Tue Jan 22, 2019 7:57 am 
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Steve is spot on. 'Proper' is perhaps not the best way of looking at it. Perhaps be guided by that is/seems 'appropriate' in a particular situation.

Obviously not all notes leave you with options, playing for example E, d', F you are obviously limited in what you can do to play vibrato. But if you play for example B there is a range of options. The second hole below B, using the left ring finger, is an option but it is a strong thick vibrato that may or may not be appropriate all the time and using a finger or a combination of them, of the lower hand could be considered, depending on the effect you are aiming for. Also take degrees of shading, speed of the vibrato etc into consideration. Try build a sense of aesthetic, ideally an informed one, by listening to good players and by experimenting with your options.

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 Post subject: Re: Opinions on Lessons
PostPosted: Tue Jan 22, 2019 6:32 pm 
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Vibrato on a hole or holes more than one hole down from the note being played is often done. I think of it as more of a wave in the air above my whistle than actually closing the hole and opening it again. If I find myself using two fingers it is the third and fourth of the right hand since the math doesn't work out for the left, and I've never used two hands at once, though someone likely has somewhere. The next note hole will give you the "dreaded" trill, which most folks in trad avoid. Though in practice there are many folks who avoid vibrato period and other players who love it. As well, there are those who think tonguing blasphemy. While others use it creatively. It is a balance.


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 Post subject: Re: Opinions on Lessons
PostPosted: Tue Jan 22, 2019 6:56 pm 
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busterbill wrote:
<snip> The next note hole will give you the "dreaded" trill, which most folks in trad avoid. </snip>


That's rather begging the question ...

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 Post subject: Re: Opinions on Lessons
PostPosted: Wed Jan 23, 2019 7:13 am 
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Quote:
The next note hole will give you the "dreaded" trill, which most folks in trad avoid.


I recall a conversation with Seán Potts during which he lamented fewer people using little trills*. He did, and I think a lot of people do in some way or form. Pipers certainly use them, or at least some of them do and I don't just mean Séamus Ennis' 'shiver' like he used when playing the Bucks. Old recordings of pipers show them using trills on most notes and there has been a resurgence of that (and other) technique(s) in the recent decade, listen to Seán McKeon for example.

Most people won't probably remember Dinny McMahon who used to be at the entrance to the Cliffs of Moher with a donkey and a dog, selling whistles and playing them. But Eugene Lambe uses a few bit Dinny had, like playing the start of 'Dublin Porter' with a long deliberate trill on B. Great.

When used with a degree of discernment there's no reason to dread them.


* note these are perhaps not exactly the trills of classical music so please read 'trill like ornaments'.

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 Post subject: Re: Opinions on Lessons
PostPosted: Wed Jan 30, 2019 8:40 pm 
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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?


Weighing in on Blayne Chastain’s online lessons. I’ve been using them periodically since he started the site 8 or 9 years ago.

A number of things I like about the site:
Blayne is a highly qualified teacher with Masters in IRIsh Trad Flute from U. Of Limerick. He’s also a videographer and filmmaker and experienced in sound production so the lessons are developed and presented consistently with high quality production, are well organized and easy to use.

I started playing the whistle in 1972, then flute, and I still find value in re-visiting the Intermedite Lessons to focus on various aspects of technique, vibrato, phrasing, articulation. Blayne is a technician of ornamentation in his playing so it’s great practice for helping refine those basic and advanced skills.

The lesson library is expansive and I occasionally visit to pick up a new tune or play along with the guitar backing (available on many lessons), which can be isolated, so I can work on variations and improv in a tune with backing. The tracks can be downloaded as MP3 files and played through slow-downer app. also.

For learning a new tune, the lessons provide phrase by phrase ear learning or PDF sheet music. I use both and appreciate having the dots for reference later after learning by ear.

Anyone else have experience with Blayne’s site. I think it’s well worth it.

I hope this was helpful.

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