Sunday, July 10, 2011

Old Man: Irish Traditional Music

One of the reasons I haven't been posting on the blog lately is that I've been playing a lot of Irish Traditional Music (hereafter Trad [ya that's right more than one trad] or ITM). I play the tin whistle and the flute. The summer after my freshman year my family and I went to Ireland for two weeks. I picked up a few whistles there and have been playing ever since. So I'm going to subject you to some videos of my favorite players in this post.

The Raw Bar Collective - Conal O Grada is the flute player and he is probably my favorite flute player (great tone)

Mary Bergin

Lunasa - Kevin Crawford is the whistler/flautist

June McCormack

Blayne Chastain (more about him soon)

For the first few years I went at it alone, learning off of sheet music and CD's. Well, if any of you are familiar with ITM, it is an aural tradition, for centuries passed down by playing, not by reading. I tried in the past to get better at learning by ear, but it's hard for a classically trained musician (classical guitar) to get past sheet music and really use his ears.

I've started using Blayne Chastain's i-Teach lessons and absolutely love them. If there are any flute or whistle players out there wanting to really improve, especially their ear and ornaments, I'd heartily suggest them. He also has beginning lessons for those that don't have any experience whatsoever. The format is simple: each week (or so), he puts up a tune. He plays through it full speed (fully ornamented), slowly (no ornaments), and then he breaks each tune down to phrases (again, available fully ornamented or with no ornaments). I started learning the bare bones versions but now I prefer to do only the ornamented versions as they help me figure out where to put the ornaments and how to execute them better.

Here's the link for iTeach (disclosure - I think I get some kind of benefit out of this link, not really sure what it is though). The cost is something like 15 bucks a month. Chump change when you consider what you're getting. Highly recommended.

Scoiltrad has something similar, but not nearly as extensive. It is free though.

The Online Academy of Irish Music has a bunch of different instrument lessons. They cost some amount of money (not sure how much though). I have no experience besides the free sample lessons.

Anyways, if anyone likes or plays ITM, let me know in the comments. We'll set up a cyber session or something.

Oh ya, and this blog is great if you're into the old ITM stuff. He rips the rare 'ould stuff and puts them up on his blog. Some real great stuff. Ceol Álain.

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