How To Play Irish Music
How The Irish Music Lessons Work
Once you have signed up you can select the instrument on which you want to start to learn Irish music online. If you haven't had Irish music lessons before we would recommend you learn to play the Tin Whistle. As you progress you can then learn to play the fiddle or learn to play the accordion. In the Members' Area you will find written and video tutorials so you can learn the basics of the instruments and achieve the right sound. They will show the basic techniques such as holding the instrument and what the various parts of each instrument are. On the lesson page you can view your current tune and listen to the corresponding audio.
For 6 months you will have access to your tunes and you can learn them in any order. The lesson section will show tunes written in the simple ABC format. Manuscript notation is also included as a bonus. See basic music reading if you want to learn this method, too. The notes can be downloaded in a PDF file so you can print them off and build a collection of your tunes.
You will also have access to the MP3 audio files of the tunes, so you can play along while learning the notes. These audio files can be played from your computer or mobile device and can be downloaded and put onto an MP3 player. We think it is better to have the tunes easily accessible so you can listen to them whenever you want. Each instrument has its own recording of the tune. If you are learning the Tin Whistle you will listen to the Tin Whistle audio. If you learn the Accordion then the Accordion audio is available, and so on.
The idea of the audio is key and this is to help you familiarise yourself with the melody, tempo and phrasing. The first tunes are recorded in three speeds. When you hear a tune played at a slow tempo it makes it easier to pick up by ear, and at this speed it encourages you to try to play along with it. The second audio file will be played at a medium tempo, so it will be possible for you to play along and gain more confidence. Playing with the correct speed audio will give you more idea of the feel of the tune and give you a greater chance of remembering it without the need to rely on the music notation.
Beginner: £39.99 for 6 Months. 15 tunes
The membership above is for the online structured learning programme, where you will be able to access all of the tunes when you join.
Everybody who signs up has access to the first tune in the tutorial sections on all instruments and this is Raglan Road (Dawning of The Day)
Order Of Lessons
6 Months course has 15 tunes and you can learn them in any order.
Note that the first 10 tunes have three different speed audio and after this all other tunes have 'Medium' & 'Fast' speeds.
The next five tunes are a mixture tunes, followed by the introduction of some reels and hornpipes etc.
Irish Music Through The Generations
Traditional Irish Music has been around for many years, the passing on of music from generation to generation was and still is a great way for many families to learn music and for communities to join together. Tunes were seldom ever written down and the melodies were learnt by ear from musician to musician at gatherings, sessions, ceilis and fleadhs. As the tunes were predominantly learnt without any written notation, the odd note or tune name may have been played and remembered differently, hence the number of tunes that have numerous names or melodies that differ slightly in different regions.
When musicians passed on a tune it was their interpretation of that tune and what they had picked up along the way. This is not to say that a tune played 80 years ago is very different today, no, it's just that you will find a slight variation with some notes. Especially when we consider that not very long ago there were no means like the internet or music books to refer back to, it was all done by memory.
You may find the odd note variation from one teacher or musician to the next, but when you become more advanced you will find it is acceptable to miss a note and replace it with some ornamentation. This makes the musician have their own style if you like, and often becomes their trademark. Please note that the melody of the tune itself is still preserved as much as possible overall. That's why it is very important to learn the notes given. See Terms & Conditions
With traditional Irish music, the tempo is quite an individual thing. One musician may play the same tune a lot faster than a fellow musician. This is fine, as long as you can comfortably play all the notes and it sounds good. We recommend a steady tempo where you can feel and enjoy the music more. However, in a session you may find the louder instruments like the accordion or the banjo will lead the timing.