Simple steps for learning Irish Music
Irish music is easy to learn with just a few applications and some practice.
A bit about the learning process for Irish Music.
More than often, when a person starts learning music, they are not given any advice on the process to follow. So naturally, it becomes difficult for many to learn the music, and are especially confused as they are required to read music sheets in the process. Consequently, this results in many of the learners failing to learn the music, and have to leave the process midway.
Music is all about sound, and learning traditional music is usually an easier process, for the reason that such kind of music is passed down from one generation to the next through an auditory system. With time even a beginner learns to produce the sounds that have been set along the way.
Learning music is filled with a rich experience of learning which is better than the traditional read and write method. Here it is upon us to connect those dots and acknowledge the essence of timing and the inflection of tone with an instrument. That is why it is called to feel the music.
Beginning with the learning process, the first thing that we need to do is practice until the time it feels that the instrument is a part of your body itself.
For instance, when you drive a car for the first it all seems like rocket science at the time being. There are many commands that you need to take and give at the same time. Your mind and eyes should be on the road, feet on the accelerator, brake, clutch. One hand on the gear lever. And all of this has to work in sync with each other so that you execute a perfect command.
But with time, we learn this whole process and become a master at it. And today it works as an automatic process. Everything happens at the right time with perfection as if it is an automatic process.
The whole procedure is so well ingrained in the subconscious that we do not even realize changing the gear or turning to the left.
Similarly, you need to learn an instrument as if you are driving a car. You should not have to look down and check the note to be played.
Only after mastering the playing of notes and how to run your fingers on the instrument should you move on playing tunes and decorating it with snippets and add some more elements to it.
Once you get the gist of this whole process, it becomes easier to learn the instrument.
Step 1: Play the instrument in your head first:
The first step for learning a traditional Irish instrument is to get the tune inside your head. Listen to the tune again and again. Learn it until and unless you get it inside your head. Only after you have embedded it in your head, pick up the instrument and start learning
Step 2: Learn to place the fingers and make it a routine on the instrument.
Playing an instrument is the magic of the hands and that is in sync with your brain. Work out a plan and learn to place your fingers on the instrument. Always start from the basics, and then move on to the complex notes. Don’t rush, Rome wasn’t built in one day. Take more time than what is required to learn an instrument normally. There is no harm in being slow. The slower the better. Forget adding your own notes or trying out random tunes.
Step 3: Practice as much as you can
If it were easy, everyone would be a master of traditional Irish music. So it is important to take it slow at a snail’s speed.
Never rush when you are in the learning process. Remember, even in studies you first have to cross pre-school, mid-school, high-school, and then graduation only to enter into Masters.
It’s all about progressiveness. Listen to the notes you are playing, learn them, insert them in your mind and always remember that in the end, you need to do all of it automatically.
Just as once you practice being good at something eventually you achieve it, playing bad notes in practice will turn into a habit and then the same mistakes will reflect in your tune playing.
Step 4: Increase the tempo of your tune
A professional musician should know how to play the instrument with speed. Hence it is imperative that you play the instrument fast enough and in the rhythm as well.
Step 5: Slow and Steady Wins the Race:
Not only fast, but you also need to learn to play an instrument in a slow tune. Interestingly, playing an instrument slow is more difficult than playing with an increased rhythm.
When you are playing at a slow speed learn to practice being steady at that pace. With this, we can add other notes to the same routine and amp up the playing speed and tune easily. This will help you achieve the most important aspects of Irish Music.
Step 6: Learn newer tunes:
Every kind of music has some small sets of synchronized notes that add an amazing sound to the overall tune. Similarly, Irish music also several small notes that you need to learn and practice as well. Once you have mastered them, you will automatically know where to add them and playing the instrument will become much more fun and satisfying.
Stick to the basics first:
Whenever we learn a new instrument the desire to become Mozart is very strong. And for that, we try on several kinds of notes without having any knowledge.
Ornamentation, as it is called is best left for the later stages.
With time as you progress and learn, then you can add new notes and decorate your tune with such additions.
Here too, what you need is practice and a lot of practice only to become good at it. So, stick to the basics and then learn the additional ornamentation. Master them and learn how to insert them in your routine.
Adding new ornaments means that you need to learn to control your fingers and learn along the way.
If youre an advanced music player, check out my article on playing professional irish music