If you’ve ever played at a session and sat next to a flute player, you know full well what the drippy side of the flute is. It’s not pretty, the condensation, I mean. The sound of a good flute player is, however. Though the drip can be a drag, listening to the flute sing effortlessly in … More The drippy side of the flute
Creating a practice plan helps to keep you on task and bring you further to your goals. Here’s my practice plan. What’s yours? … More Creating a practice plan
As a traditional Irish fiddler, I have never learned how to improvise on the fiddle. Like most other traditional musicians I know, everything I play, I learned by ear. This past week I started a class at Berklee College of Music on basic improvisation. It’s only been a week and I can confidently say it’s … More Going back to the beginning and starting over
I’m always impressed with melody musicians who can just call out the key of the next tune they are going to play. I have a hard time just lifting my foot to say I’m switching tunes. Not to mention, most of the time I have no idea what keys I play in. Aren’t all fiddle tunes … More The key to being a good musician
What makes a tune hard and how do you overcome it? … More What makes a tune hard?
Going to the gym is so hard for me. And it’s not because I don’t like it. I actually do. I feel good, once I’m there. It’s getting there that’s the hard part. For many years now, I have hired a personal trainer. Not because I can’t figure out how to exercise but because I … More How practicing music is like exercising
For the past 5 weeks I’ve been taking an Irish music class with The Vermont School of Traditional Irish Music and learning a new tune each week. It’s been great as not only have I been adding tunes to my repertoire but I’ve been learning some valuable lessons about how to practice. Here are a … More Practice tips for the traditional Irish musician
Many, many years ago, when I first started learning tunes by ear, I diligently learned every note of an Irish tune from a CD I was listening to. I practiced it over and over, note for note and then brought it to my teacher at the time. I played it for her. She listened and … More Making Irish music, Irish
Though the bow doesn’t look like much, you simply can’t play the fiddle without it. The bow is the rhythm. The bow is what makes the fiddle sing. And bowing is probably the hardest thing to learn when it comes to playing the fiddle. Learning to a bow a tune can be tricky. Sometimes when … More Mastering the bow
I’m not sure if it’s because I started playing fiddle late in life or just that my brain can only fit so much information in it at any given time, but damn it takes me a long time to learn a tune. I find some tunes harder to learn than others, like Spike Island Lasses for example … More What makes certain tunes so hard to learn?