As a flute player, how do introduce a violin player to ITM?

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As a flute player, how do introduce a violin player to ITM?

Post by ertwert »

I am a flute player (and learning the pipes), however, I have never played fiddle.
This weekend I am going to meet with a violin player and a cello player, who both want
to learn to play Irish Trad. The violin/fiddle is already joining our small session from
time to time, but I think for now she doesn't have much experience with ornamentation, "correct" groove and mostly plays
from sheet music.

My plan is to practice on of the two sets Oh Sullivan's Polka/ Britches over Stitches or
Blarney Pilgrim/ Jim Ward's. I already sent them pdf of the basic version and youtube links
to the sets (,

My plan is to try to teach them a tune by ear and play another one with sheet music afterwards.
Do you think I should try to tell them something about ornamentation, or solely concentrate on
the rhythm and maybe highlight that a jig shouldn't use a lot of bow work or so basic concept of cuts and taps, because
they are probably quite similar to win instruments?

I don't want to give them wrong or too confusing information about ornaments and concentrate on having a fun and motivating practice session :)

Are there any big dos and don'ts that I as a wind instrument player should be careful with?

Thanks for your help - and hello to the string instrument section of this board :)
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Re: As a flute player, how do introduce a violin player to I

Post by Mr.Gumby »

It was never uncommon at all for seasoned players of one instrument to teach music to players of various other instruments. In recent years, the interwebs and all that, Irish music has become a bit codified but if you listen to the experiences of older players it was perfectly normal to have a tune played to you with the expectation you'd work out how the finer points worked on your own instrument. And it worked. Passing on the spirit of the music rather than the detail of playing a specific instrument

I can think of the examples of Gus Tierney who had vast numbers of pupils of various instruments around North Clare or Frank Custy. And Brendan Mulkere in London, for that matter. And they all had wondeful musicians go through their hands.

What is required though, is an example that has an understanding of how this music works, to be able to teach by example, you want to be sure the rhythm, phrasing, lift and what have you is the way it should be.
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Re: As a flute player, how do introduce a violin player to I

Post by busterbill »

One of the biggest shocks to violin players who aspire to ITM is: Hold the Vibrato. While vibrato sneaks in now and again with ITM players who have a violinist's background, the best thing for a violinist or cellist learning trad is to avoid vibrato all together for awhile. That will likely be laughably hard. It is so ingrained with almost everything a classical string player does.

My son had a violin teacher who was also an excellent trad player so he was taught both styles at the same time from the time he was a little squirt. Since was learning both from the same teacher it was sort of like turning a switch off and on. (Now we're playing Bach. Now we're playing reels.) But since he's spent most of his adult life playing orchestra even he has to really work hard to flip that switch when he plays trad. these days.

Also, light bows, and short bows. But that is going to be a process.

As for ornaments, I'd tell them what they are and show them where I'd put them in the tune. But add one at a time. And figure it is going to take a couple of weeks to get a sense of these. I know there's likely the best most definitive example of a fiddle player teaching a roll out there, but I don't know which to recommend.

Basically, for the first sit down just have fun, and laugh together as they add vibrato to every note.

Kevin Burke's stuff on youtube can be particularly useful to a classical violinist. He teaches parts of tunes and then offers the opportunity to subscribe to get the rest. But even if they chose to only listen to his stuff, there is a lot in there.
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