Chiff and Fipple Forums

The Sound of Music
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Author:  Guest [ Thu Jun 28, 2001 9:13 am ]
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A few months ago I checked into this forum as "Musically Challenged" and asked others how to get started. I recieved many helpful responses and promised everyone I would return with a progress report. I found a really good Deluxe Whistle Starter kit for $37.00 at the Whistle Shop which included a Clarke Sweetone Whistle and a Clare one piece whistle both in the key of D and two books each with a CD. At first of course I was a
complete klutz but with a little practice I began to learn what note on the page corresponded to what configuration on the whistle and was able to "sometimes" with great effort sort of stay up with a simple tune I was reading from the book while listening to it on the CD. My biggest problems are not being quick enough with my hands to find the next note (as well as
ALWAYS knowing 'which' note) and not relaxing my hands enough.(albiet the first problem) I have noticed that it is sometimes difficult to get in the timing of the music and I have been told how important this is. If you can't
count you can't ultimatly play. Things are improving though. And on a few rare short occassions I have had the most satisfying experience. Instead of concentrating and thinking so hard on the "notes" on the page I found myself actually listening to the music as I was playing and when this happened I began to almost effortlessly make music. My fingers found the holes. The more I let go the more the sound of music. These are simple tunes of course but I think there must be a principle here. Anyway I don't practice near enough but this experience has been very enjoyable.

Thanks for everyones help.


Author:  ThorntonRose [ Fri Jun 29, 2001 6:58 am ]
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That's a good way to start, particularly when one is, as you say, musically challenged. You might also get a metronome to help with timing. I have a pocket-sized, electronic metronome from Korg ($25 - $30), and it keeps me from rushing through phrases, which I have a tendency to do when playing jigs.

~ Thornton

Author:  tephillah [ Fri Jun 29, 2001 7:06 am ]
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mike, i'd recommend getting hold of someone who is accomplished in music and able to explain rhythm and notation and other basics for you. sit down together and pick his/her brain over a cup of coffee, with some lovely irish music to listen to all the while. music is a private thing, but i believe it requires rubbing shoulders with others as well. good for you on your perseverance!

Author:  FairEmma [ Sat Jun 30, 2001 8:57 am ]
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Dear Mike,

I heard a story once: a new student at a music school asked a mate how he practiced. His reply was, "Without mistakes." Naturally, any sane person's reaction to this is: Hmmm. Pompous Prig Alert. But there is actually value in the advice. We all develop a form of kinesthetic memory about where our fingers need to be to make a tune happen. This matures over time. The thing is, we can equally develop a memory for mistakes ... and wind up playing the same section incorrectly every time. It's tough to correct that.

In my experience, learning a tune slowly and accurately before you work up to speed has its advantages. Yes, there is something to be said for how the tune falls into place when played to tempo, but I invariably hit those occasional measures where my fingers don't want to do the work properly. Then I have to go over and over that measure, and then I have to reincorporate it into the flow of the tune without hesitating (cause I know it's a flub-point for me).

When I tackle a new tune, I always tackle it slowly. And accurately. Over and over. The tempo comes naturally in time. But unlearning your mistakes takes much longer.

There is also this to say: music is about interpretation. You might find a traditionally fast song played slowly sounds incredibly luscious - and who's to say you can't play it that way? Not me! :smile: 'Course, I'll take a haunting aire anyday!

I like metronomes as a tool - even have one I use a fair bit. But at the end of the day, sometimes a tune wants to stretch a bit here and there, phrase a bit different to how you first heard it. Sometimes you want to hold a note longer, do a pick-up faster. You put your personal stamp on a tune and make it your own this way. And what could be more in keeping with that ancient Irish musical tradition?


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