By the end of the course you will have learned the basic bodhrán rhythm techniques to be able to accompany jigs and reels, while also being able to distinguish between these popular types of Irish traditional music. The course has 13 lessons, broken into 2 to 3 video tutorials each.
The tutor begins by guiding you in the proper technique of how to hold the stick and drum and how to play the basic bodhrán stroke. Tuition gradually progresses to varying the tone, accompanying jigs and reels, right through to sophisticated patterns and ‘fills’. The emphasis throughout is firmly on technique.
In keeping with the theme of percussion, your tutor has included two lessons using ‘bones’ and spoons to add variety to your accompaniment. Here is a list of the topics covered in this beginners’ bodhrán course:
How To Hold The Stick
Rhythmic Playing In Reels And Jigs
Variation In Tone Production
Using The Hand As A Stick
Down Stroke Rim Shots
Advanced Rim-Shot Techniques
Slip Jig Rhythm
Playing The Spoons
Session Etiquette And New Rhythms
Recommended Bodhrán for Beginners
“Bare back” bodhráns are recommended, i.e., those bodhráns without the cross bars, as they tend to get in the way. Any size upwards of 14″ are recommended, and whatever feels comfortable for you to hold, although comfort holding the drum is really something that takes practice. See more detailed advice on drums below in the FAQ.
Advice Starting Out with the Bodhrán
We always encourage students to enjoy the journey. Watch and listen to your tutor Brian and follow his guidance, step by step. Brian is an excellent tutor for beginners as he breaks each step down to its simplest, instructional form. It is presumed that you have an interest in Irish tunes, however, if you are new to Irish traditional music make sure to take time to listen to lots of jigs and reels to get a feel for them. OAIM’s Virtual Reality Lounge is the place to be to enjoy the finest Irish musicians work their craft and inspire new players.
Frequently Asked Questions answered by tutor Brian Fleming
1. You are holding the stick at too great an angle from the drum, it should be about 45 degrees from the drum, no more.
2. You are clenching the stick too tightly, a common beginner mistake and also a common side effect of over thinking when you’re practicing. There’s a little bit in the lesson about the ‘wiggle’ movement your hand should be doing, like as if you’re shaking water off your hand. There can be an accentuating factor, but it doesn’t happen unless one of the above is present and that is that your skin may be a little rough if the bodhran hasn’t yet been thoroughly ‘played in yet.’ In summary; angle, wiggle and ‘practice practice practice!’ – Brian.
More detailed questions and discussion on the course can be found in the Community Forum, available to paying members only.