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 Post subject: Re: Opinions on Lessons
PostPosted: Thu Jan 03, 2019 5:38 am 
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Location: WV to the OC
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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Joined: Thu Sep 10, 2015 2:59 am
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Location: Coventry, England
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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