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Fine Tuning Your Session Engine | Irish Flute | Tin Whistle

Traditional Songs for American Singers | Music Theory | Guitar | Bouzouki | Bodhran

Learning by Ear | "Oil for the Chain"

Fine-tuning Your Session Engine

with Shannon Heaton: a style, etiquette, and rhythm check in for all traditional-style instruments

This workshop is for players both new to traditional music and for more seasoned players and teachers who wish to develop stronger Irish session skills. Flutes, fiddles, whistles, banjos, pipes, accordions all welcome; harps, guitars, keyboards welcome, though we will work strictly on melodic playing.

By singing and playing instruments, we will work on

1. how to hold your own by yourself and with a group (hearing yourself and hearing others)
2. how to prepare a few sets of tunes that you can really start in a session
3. how to contribute musically and socially to a session
4. avoiding common psychological pitfalls of playing in public settings.

Irish Flute Workshop

This workshop is for flute players with wood or metal flutes who are interested in playing Irish music. Those less experienced with Irish music are welcome, but emphasis will be on traditional style and learning by ear. All participants should be able to play D and G Major scales with a steady tone.

Emphasis will be on cultivating a strong, rhythmic approach to the Irish flute. We will work to develop stronger ear skills (with emphasis on singing as a way of expanding ear and repertoire) and will exploring common psychological pitfalls of learning and playing in public sessions.

Tin Whistle Workshop

Like flute workshop, music will be taught by ear. We will cover rhythm, ornamentation, and social aspects of participating in sessions.

Traditional Songs for American singers

This workshop will explore the exciting world of possibilities for American singers who want to sing traditional songs in an “Irish style”, while still approaching the music with American diction.

Topics will include a survey of song sources; techniques for adapting Irish, Scottish, and English vocabulary; and accessing emotional connections inherent in traditional songs. Participants will leave with techniques to aid in accessing traditional music deeply and honestly, from within authentic personal and cultural experiences. Be ready to sing in your own voice!

Music Theory for Irish Backers

This workshop will explore music theory as it applies to backing Irish traditional music. We'll cover building chords, choosing chords and bass lines in a given tun. We will also touch on the elusive topic of modal theory. Open to all chordal instruments (guitar, bouzouki, harp, etc) in all tunings.

Guitar Accompaniment Workshop

This workshop focuses on backing Irish traditional tunes, with special emphasis on learning to tap into the rhythm of a tune (instead of using a "default" rhythm from another type of music). We will work on when to change chords and how to do it pleasingly. And we will explore resonant chord voicings, focusing on the desired sound from the guitar regardless of tuning (DADGAD, standard, and dropped D). Participants should already be able play with a steady rhythm, and change chords without interruption

Bouzouki Accompaniment

Like the guitar workshop, emphasis will be on backing Irish tunes in a traditional style. We will survey accompaniment approaches and discuss the brief history of the bouzouki in Irish music. The class will be taught in GDAD.

Bodhran Workshop

We will discuss how to approach the instrument from the standpoint of accompanying traditional dance tunes. Emphasis will be on tone, technique and etiquette. We will strive to “play the tune” rather than just “playing along.”

How to Learn by Ear

This workshop is for players both new to traditional music and for more seasoned players and teachers who wish to develop stronger ear skills.

For musicians of all levels who wish to work on playing Irish music by ear (without using sheet music). By singing and playing instruments, we will work on learning tunes aurally, with special emphasis on Irish traditional music. Flutes, fiddles, whistles, banjos, pipes, accordions all welcome; harps, guitars, keyboards welcome, though we will work strictly on melodic playing. We will approach efficient ways to learn tunes at home with recordings and to learn tunes in session. Additionally, we will explore a few of the common psychological pitfalls of learning in public settings.

Oil for the Chain buy

Just as bicycle chains need oil to function, Irish musicians need tunes to play. Oil for the Chain is Shannon’s collection of common Irish tunes to get you geared up for session playing and newly-composed tunes to inspire off-road recreation.

The guiding philosophy behind this book is simple:

It doesn’t matter what tunes you play, it’s how you play them.

With this in mind, Oil for the Chain features tunes, and ideas for how to play them well. It’s a book to help people become stronger players—part tunebook, part all-around-music-development-book. It’s for anyone who wants to play well. Though Shannon is a flute player (and offers a few flute tips), it is not a flute book.

No matter what the tunes are, from the standard reel “Maid Behind the Bar” to the brand new jig “Feast for a King,” all tunes are most satisfying when played with care, style, and integrity. Shannon put together Oil for the Chain to provide fodder and encouragement to become increasingly comfortable and confident in both group and solo music ventures.

Excerpt, pg. 6
Excerpt, pg. 24