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 Post subject: Lessons?
PostPosted: Sun Feb 04, 2018 6:08 pm 
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I've been playing one of Doug Tipple's flutes for several years, and I am managing to do OK for my needs without a teacher so far. My problem about teachers is distance: a trip to the nearest teacher is about a 90 mile round trip. Would getting a teacher help me with timing, phrasing, ornamentation, etc., or do you think I could pick this up by listening to tunes and playing what I hear? I am having fun with what I'm doing, but I think I'd like to learn more (wouldn't we all?), except for the long drive.

Thank you for all who reply.

With best regards,

Pfreddee(Stephen)


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 Post subject: Re: Lessons?
PostPosted: Sun Feb 04, 2018 8:04 pm 
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The good news about teachers of Irish flute, IMO, is that, while they are very useful, you don't need to see them a lot. It can be really helpful toward the beginning to have a couple of lessons, to cover holding the flute, ornamentation, and so on. Another (compatible) option is to go to the occasional workshop at a festival. But after you are on the right track, just playing is most of how you improve. A lesson every few months, maybe, if that. But they certainly do help, at least that has been my experience, and can save you a lot of time.


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 Post subject: Re: Lessons?
PostPosted: Sun Feb 04, 2018 9:28 pm 
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Location: Wooster, Ohio
Pfreddee wrote:
My problem about teachers is distance: a trip to the nearest teacher is about a 90 mile round trip. Would getting a teacher help me with timing, phrasing, ornamentation, etc., or do you think I could pick this up by listening to tunes and playing what I hear? I am having fun with what I'm doing, but I think I'd like to learn more (wouldn't we all?), except for the long drive.


I had a few teachers when I played a silver Boehm flute. For one teacher, it was an hour drive each way. When we had a recital or he wanted to meet at a different location that he taught at, it was 1.5 hr each way.

I did this because on the first trial lesson I had with him, we instantly clicked. He played the most amazing music I had ever heard and his teaching style was exactly what I needed, but had not known I needed. So for me, the physical distance never really mattered because he was a great teacher who impacted my life in many more ways than just music.

I say all this because you might find the same thing. If you've gone to the teacher and have said "meh", maybe it isn't for you. Or maybe, you could do Skype lessons and have a great teacher that way. There are a few teachers who have advertised on C&F as doing Skype lessons and even Conal O Grada gives Skype lessons.

Teachers are useful because they can also be skilled in areas you might not be thinking about. They might also provoke you to excel faster and grow in areas you had not considered.


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 Post subject: Re: Lessons?
PostPosted: Mon Feb 05, 2018 8:42 am 
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I am a fan of the Online Academy of Irish Music. You need a decent internet speed. It's around $20 a month and you can view as many lessons as you want to. They focus on basics and break things down really well, then gradually ramp up in complexity. There are also Virtual sessions where you can play the tunes in sets. For a few bucks more you can upload stuff and have it reviewed. But I haven't gone that route. I've enjoyed the variety of tunes and often wander over to banjo, accordion and concertina lessons to learn new tunes.


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 Post subject: Re: Lessons?
PostPosted: Mon Feb 05, 2018 7:04 pm 
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I second OAIM (Online Academy of Irish Music).

I watch a lot of the flute and whistle lessons and my wife is watching the bodhran lessons. We paid $200 for a year worth of access. Well worth it.

I have found it to be a good start to learn the mechanics of different ornamentations and when to use them. Though, I would also recommend Conal O Grada's Flute book and CD for ornamentation as well. He breaks it out a bit more than OAIM ever does. For example, you can listen to him example a phrase without the ornamentation and then an example with the ornamentation.


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 Post subject: Re: Lessons?
PostPosted: Mon Feb 05, 2018 9:37 pm 
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AaronFW wrote:
I second OAIM (Online Academy of Irish Music).

I watch a lot of the flute and whistle lessons and my wife is watching the bodhran lessons. We paid $200 for a year worth of access. Well worth it.

I have found it to be a good start to learn the mechanics of different ornamentations and when to use them. Though, I would also recommend Conal O Grada's Flute book and CD for ornamentation as well. He breaks it out a bit more than OAIM ever does. For example, you can listen to him example a phrase without the ornamentation and then an example with the ornamentation.


The problem with OAIM, and with any self-teaching material, is that there is still no significant ability for unbiased evaluation of one's playing (yes, OAIM will do the certificate thing, but it is hardly "teaching") Average humans simply don't have the capacity for a lot of objective self-listening. At least, not in a vacuum. It can be learned to a degree, but never as well as when the listening is done by a 3rd party. That is where teachers come in. An internet video set on repeat won't stop you and help you fix an intonation or a timing problem, or an embouchure problem. OAIM has some good material, but the medium in itself is flawed. (Also, I find OAIM pacing and depth when it comes to some techniques to be rather lacking. Sometimes I feel that they really just want to shovel tunes at the consumer.)

If you want instruction that helps with your progress in a meaningful, substantial way, go with in-person lessons, in whatever capacity you can manage. A two-hour lesson @ a handful of times per year is light-years better than none.

FWIW, the worst things about our playing are the things that make us sound bad, that make our playing annoy others. Teachers target and eliminate those low points. This quickly brings up the average level of our playing. Intonation, rhythm, timing issues are all targeted and eliminated with a real teacher. IMO, get yourself to a lesson or two at your earliest convenience and see how you feel about them.


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 Post subject: Re: Lessons?
PostPosted: Mon Feb 05, 2018 11:39 pm 
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I agree with awildman's post! Very well said! In the absence of having someone else to (constructively) criticize your playing, one of the most instructive (and painful!) things you can do is to record yourself and then listen critically to your own playing. That will surely put you in touch with the most irritating aspects of your playing. I'm always embarrassed by how much worse I sound when I listen to a recording of myself, compared to how I think I sound when I am actually playing! :oops: But after a while you get over the embarrassment and learn from it.

I know I would improve significantly if I could get more regular access to a good teacher, and play more often with others. The challenge, though, is to figure out how to make that actually happen. The few lessons that I have had have all been transformative and invaluable.

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 Post subject: Re: Lessons?
PostPosted: Tue Feb 06, 2018 9:28 am 
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I also agree with awildman's post. An objective human interaction is a good thing. But if it isn't possible or if you want an add on, online can be good. One nice thing about the online lessons is you have a virtual human to play with. Someone who is willing to play that one tune over with you 20 times a day if you want. An expert in person Irish Trad flute player is best, but they are few and far between in some locations. And a classical flute teacher may give you some basics but won't have a clue about ornamentation, phrasing, techniques specific to Irish Trad (glottal stops instead of tonguing for example), the specific tone we're aiming it, as well as the history of tunes we're are trying to master, or even the "art" of translating the dots on the page into Irish Trad. Often the only flute teacher for miles around is the grade school band instructor. So certainly grab some basics from Online or Skype if you're totally isolated. Shannon Heaton was my first teacher back in the 90s and has definitely been an online resource for many who don't have a large Trad community to knock around in. And awildman is right, a teacher not only shows you what to do, but can point out what you are missing or doing poorly to help you improve.


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 Post subject: Re: Lessons?
PostPosted: Tue Feb 06, 2018 11:22 am 
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For the record, I also agree with busterbill and awildman.


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 Post subject: Re: Lessons?
PostPosted: Tue Feb 06, 2018 8:24 pm 
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Seeing a teacher regularly can also provide a kick in the butt to work on what needs working on, learning more tunes, etc. My teacher used to make me play all the tunes he had taught me the previous week, so I really learned them.


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 Post subject: Re: Lessons?
PostPosted: Fri Feb 23, 2018 4:39 pm 
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I know this post is a bit older, but I just heard from Brendan Mulholland the other day indicating that he has time to do some Skype lessons. I’ve had one lesson with Brendan and it was excellent! One tip is to send him a recording so he can target your level of expertise and give you the best lesson possible.

He can be reached at brendanmulholland14@hotmail.com

Cheers!

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The Hack with a Flute

Student: "Teacher, what's the best sounding flute in the world?"
Teacher: "The one you practice for two hours a day."


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