Irish Traditional Music
Dr Declan Plummer
Individual Tuition – arranged to suit the student’s needs
The Irish Trad Group – see below for details
1. Individual Tuition – select instruments – arranged to suit the student’s needs
If you’ve ever wanted to learn Irish traditional music, and have a tin whistle, flute, bodhrán, guitar, Irish bouzouki, mandola, octave mandolin, or even a set of uilleann pipes lying around the house, then these classes are for you! Individual tuition is ideal for complete beginners who want to learn the basics and get playing right away, or intermediate/advanced students wanting to master their instrument by learning the more sophisticated tunes and techniques. All Students who attend these one-to-one classes will have the opportunity to sit exams and receive certification awards from the London College of Music.
Declan is available all week (Mondays to Saturdays) to give individual lessons on the tin whistle, Irish flute, uilleann pipes, bodhrán, guitar, Irish bouzouki, mandola and octave mandolin. Times that suit you can be arranged!
For Melodic Instruments (Tin Whistle, Flute, Uilleann Pipes):
All ages and levels are welcome!! Beginners will learn breathing/bag technique, correct fingering, all the notes of the scale, and how to play simple marches, polkas and Irish ballads. Intermediate students will focus on playing jigs and reels and how to play and insert simple ornaments into their music. In addition to these more popular dance forms, advanced students will also learn hornpipes, slides, slip jigs and airs and how to insert sophisticated ornaments and variations.
For Harmonic Instruments (Guitar, Irish Bouzouki, Mandola, Octave Mandolin):
All ages and levels are welcome!! Beginners will learn how to tune their instruments to traditional style, correct fingering for chords, and how to use simple rhythmic patterns to accompany marches, polkas and Irish ballads. Intermediate students will focus on more advanced rhythmic patterns to accompany jigs and reels. In addition to these more popular dance forms, advanced students will also learn to accompany hornpipes, slides, slip-jigs and airs and how to use fingerpicking to accompany Irish traditional music in general.
A technical word on tuning!
- Declan teaches the Guitar in traditional tuning (DADGAD).
- Declan teaches the Bouzouki in traditional tuning (GDAD). Students who have a Mandola (usually tuned CGDA) or an Octave Mandolin (usually tuned GDAE) can also receive tuition from Declan, provided their instruments can be tuned to GDAD. This is particularly easy for octave mandolins to do, because it requires re-tuning just the top E string down to D – it takes five seconds! For mandolas, it is a little trickier and may require buying different strings or clever use of a capo.
For Rhythmic Instruments (Bodhrán):
All ages and levels are welcome!! Beginners will learn how to hold their instruments and beaters correctly and how to use simple rhythmic patterns to accompany marches, polkas and Irish ballads. Intermediate students will focus on more advanced rhythmic patterns to accompany jigs and reels. In addition to these more popular dance forms, advanced students will also learn to accompany hornpipes, slides, slip jigs and airs and how to use different stick techniques to accompany Irish traditional music in general.
2. The Irish Trad Group: for any instrument – Saturdays 2:00-3:00 depending on interest
This class can only go ahead with a minimum of six people (contact the office to register your interest).
The likelihood is that this class will have a mixture of instruments. If you’re already able to play a few simple jigs and reels then this class is for you! Beginners are strongly encouraged to seek individual tuition before joining this class. The main aim of this class is just to have a bit of fun playing music together informally!! Therefore, the focus in the Irish Trad Group is on group performance and arrangement of tunes into sets (similar to the way bands like Lunasa, Beoga, Dervish, Altan and The Chieftains arrange their music).
There is also an opportunity to create a Performing Group, which could make a CD using technology and equipment provided by Declan, and for the group to perform at end-of-term concerts, Christmas concerts and other outside events and festivals to promote the College. In addition to the instruments Declan teaches, other instruments are welcome to join this class, including Fiddles, Banjos, Accordions, Concertinas etc, but again it is essential that you can already play a few tunes on your instrument.