By the end of the course you will have 9 new tunes and the confidence to begin accompanying Irish music with your playing. The course has 13 lessons, broken into 3 to 4 tutorials each, where tunes are taught phrase by phrase.
The piano foundations covered in this course include: Right hand melody – Ornamentation, Fingering, Variation and Rhythm and Left hand accompaniment – Chord progression, Rhythm and Voicing. In each melody lesson, after teaching the melody phrase by phrase, the tutor demonstrates how to incorporate ornamentation and various other techniques into the tune. In the accompaniment lessons, the tutor goes through chord selection as well as rhythm, progression and voicing. There is a wealth of knowledge contained in this course to get you well on your way to accompanying Irish music in style.
Tunes taught on this course are:
Jim Ward’s Jig
Drag Her Around The Bend
The Battering Ram
The Kerry Fling
Bruach Na Carraige Baine
The Spotted Dog
Sheet Music and Mp3s available to Download for each Tune
Sample Sheet Music
Sample mp3 of The Hole in the Hedge
Frequently Asked Questions with Stephen Markham
There are many different attempts by the big keyboard manufacturers to replicate realistic piano sounding keyboards. What suits you might not suit the next piano player in terms of taste or practicality so a couple of things to take into account when choosing what is right for you:
- Feel of the keys – you can get keyboards with light keys, semi-weighted and fully weighted – coupled with the sound of the samples (the keyboard’s instrument sounds), this will be a key indicator in price range also and weighted keys with good hammer action tend to be heavier keyboards, more suited to home or stage use. If you are using the keyboard for the purpose of sessions, semi-weighted is recommended.
- Built in speakers – like feel of the keys, this is usually a primary indicator of keyboard purpose and price. Keyboards with built in speakers tend to be those on the lower to mid end of the scale and for home/session use. I have used stage keyboards in sessions, but they require an amp/speaker, so this was only when I did not have a mid-level keyboard with built in speakers to hand.
- Purpose – if you are going to use it for home use, I would recommend digital pianos (these are not portable) or mid-level to stage quality keyboards. If you are a complete beginner, you can get a lower entry level keyboard to test the water before upgrading to a mid-level keyboard.
- Sounds / Samples – if you are an intermediate to proficient player, you might want to consider a keyboard that is not just for piano samples. Stage keyboards will now come with great instrument samples – strings, pads and synths if used subtly can be effective to accompany slow airs and songs, etc.
- Portability – remember different keyboards vary greatly in weight. If you are using for session use, I recommend mid-level keyboards, they tend not to be heavy and have built in speakers as well as semi-weighted keys – perfect for sessions.
- Home use – most digital pianos with weighted keys are designed for home use and are perfect for practicing.
- Session use – Roland FP30 is perfect for sessions. Price point is excellent and it has a great feel to the keys. Piano sound is fine – you could spend far more on something similar or slightly better but this will be just as good for session use.
The Korg Vintage SV1 also has great sounding piano plus weighted keys and would rest in between mid to high in terms of price point (this does not have built in speakers however).
- Stage Use – I use the Nord Stage EX – the newest model of which is the Nord Stage 2. I love this keyboard and for me it has everything I need (I would use the library of samples for stage use, not just ‘piano’). Great sounding piano and the key action is good (could be better hammer action but this was improved in the newer model) It is on the higher end in terms of price but definitely not as expensive as some other more heavy-duty stage keyboards.
At the end of the day, nothing will beat a real piano if it’s a good piano. Hats off to you if you’re one of the lucky ones to have access to a real piano at your local session.
Sessions can be a minefield when you’re not playing with buddies – some people might be prejudiced when it comes to keyboards. Just remember to (1) keep the volume at a level that is on par with other instruments so you don’t overpower and (2) be one of the organisers of the session so you don’t have to worry about setup, you’re there from the start.
Detailed questions and discussion on the course can be found in the Community Forum, available to paying members only.