Learning the Irish Whistler
No.2 Lottie - The Kerry Polka

 
 
This is Lottie playing the Kerry Polka on the Irish Whistle in the hazy Spanish sunshine.
 
It took a long time to get this recording as there are so many incessantly barking dogs everywhere. Luckily, we found a minutes silence and Lottie played the Kerry Polka without mistake. Well, I think there may be a slight amendment to the official version of the tune but hopefully no-one will mind.
 
We're enjoying learning the Irish whistle as it's so easy to pop in a bag...or basket. It's a little difficult to get the sound right every time. Maybe it's us or maybe it's our cheap whistles.
 
I wonder how far our playing travelled today. Over the hills and far away I imagine!
 
And I'm sure it made a nice change to the barking!

Tips on Learning to Sing

This post is going to document the things we came across online and the things we thought of ourselves that have helped us on our journey to learn to sing. As we have only just started, this list is going to be short. We will add to it as we go along.

Tips on Learning the Violin

This post is going to document the things we came across online and the things we thought of ourselves that have helped us on our journey to learn the violin. As we have only just started, this list is going to be short. We will add to it as we go along.

Firstly, get used to using metronome while practicing as this will help you to develop a steady rhythm. Adjust the tempo (BPM) to suit your preferred pace.
 
 
 
 
PREPARATION
 
 
 
You need to apply some Rosin to your bow otherwise it won't produce any sound. If the Rosin doesn't stick to the bow it might be because the bow is too dirty or greasy, in which case you will need to clean it. Avoid touching the hairs otherwise grease from your hands will stick to them.
 
 
Now you need to tune your violin.
 
 
Before using the bow, make sure it is tightened to the correct tension. The tension should be increased for playing and relaxed for storing. Adjust the tension at the bottom of the bow.
 
 
Before trying to play the violin, find out how to hold it correctly.
 
 
The thing that made all the difference for us is to make sure you stand up straight.
 
Then you need to know how to hold the bow correctly.
 
 
There are lots of other videos that show you how to hold the violin bow but this one I found the best. It made me realise how important it is to create tension between the index finger/little finger and the thumb. This creates the grip needed to keep the bow from moving about.
 
 
 
The man in the video above is so funny you will be laughing all the way through. He's a very talented violinist too and covers lots of topics.
 
 
KNOW THE NOTES
 
This video takes you through all of the notes of the violin and is very clear and easy to follow. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8QS8uJVIjZA
 
 
BEGINNER'S VIOLIN TUNES
 
 
 
It's a bit difficult to see what he's doing with his fingers but give it a go and you will probably be able to work it out anyway. It's easier than you might think to find the correct notes. Once you've learnt the basic tune you can then practice different styles of it to learn difficult bow strokes. See this video for the different variations you can try. You can also make up your own variations.
 
 
This is quite simple but watch other video tutorials as none are clear enough on their own. The lines represent the strings as you see them looking at the violin neck and the numbers represent the finger you use (1=index, etc).
 
 
There are a few variations of this violin arrangement and several videos but this is the best one. It's a bit strange at first to co-ordinate the two visuals but it will come.
 
 
This Irish polka is a good tune to learn as it covers a few strings quite easily. This video only covers the first half of the tune but the rest is available via the link at the end.
 
 
This can also be learnt quite easily on the Irish whistle.
 
 
 
 
 VIOLIN TECHNIQUE
 
 
VIBRATO
 
There are many videos on how to make the vibrato sound but they all seem to give different advice and many are very long-winded. To save time, watch this lady give very simple instructions: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OLpDZPAF_H4
 
 
 BOW STROKES
 
This is a nice short video on four different bow stroke techniques https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ocOlwEND_qY
 
 
LEFT HAND POSITION
 
I have struggled to hold the violin correctly and found I was bending my left wrist at the neck of the violin. This video helped to teach me how to hold the violin correctly.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 


Tips on Learning the Irish Whistle

This post is going to document the things we came across online and the things we thought of ourselves that have helped us on our journey to learn the Irish whistle. As we have only just started, this list is going to be short. We will add to it as we go along.

Firstly, get used to using metronome while practicing as this will help you to develop a steady rhythm. Adjust the tempo (BPM) to suit your preferred pace.
 
 
 


Tips on Learning the Guitar

This post is going to document the things we came across online and the things we thought of ourselves that have helped us on our journey to learn the guitar. As we have only just started, this list is going to be short. We will add to it as we go along.
 
Firstly, get used to using metronome while practicing as this will help you to develop a steady rhythm. Adjust the tempo (BPM) to suit your preferred pace.
 
 
 
Be sure to know what type of guitar you have: electric, acoustic or classical. Once you know what type of guitar you have, look on Youtube to find out the correct way to hold it, especially how to hold the fret board and how to position the fingers onto the strings.
 
If the strings are old, a new set will improve the sound enormously, as I discovered. There are lots of websites online where you can buy them and lots of videos on Youtube to show you how to fit them. It's not difficult but take your time and keep checking. Once you have new strings installed you will need to tune them. Again, there are many videos on Youtube to help you do this. If you don't fit new strings you can improve the sound by lightly cleaning and oiling them and the fret board.
 
 
CHORDS
 
 
Print off the above chords sheet. Imagine you are looking up at the end of your fret board. The thin strings are on the right. This corresponds with the picture above. The black dots represent where the finger tips must go and the number inside each dots represents which finger to use. Push your finger tip (the very end not the flat part) onto the string right up towards the fret closest to you. Make sure you hold your hand like a claw, as though about to get hold of a tennis ball. Be sure to not touch the other strings.
 
 
 GUITAR FINGER PLUCKING PATTERNS
 
 
A short tutorial on a lovely variable plucking pattern.
 
 
 
FIRST GUITAR CHORDS & STRUMMING PATTERNS
 
 
This video went very slowly through a couple of chords plus one strumming pattern. We then introduced other chords (D,A) to this lesson to practice, for the first time, switching from one chord to the other.
 
 
 
FIRST CLASSICALGUITAR TUNES
 
 
 
This is a very nice little tune to get you started on co-ordinating plucking and note fingering.
 
 
Another short and sweet little guitar tune to learn in a day or two.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Tips on Learning the Piano

This post is going to document the things we came across online and the things we thought of ourselves that have helped us on our journey to learn the piano. As we have only just started, this list is going to be short. We will add to it as we go along.
 
Firstly, get used to using metronome while practicing as this will help you to develop a steady rhythm. Adjust the tempo (BPM) to suit your preferred pace.
 
 
 
HOW TO READ MUSIC FOR THE PIANO