By the end of the course you will have a great variety of different traditional tune types as well knowledge on how to accompany the tunes when playing with others. The course has 10 lessons, broken into 3 to 4 tutorials each, where tunes are taught phrase by phrase.
Combining melodic tune playing and accompaniment, the primary aim of this course is to introduce you to a variety of different traditional tune types as well as teaching how to accompany the tunes taught when playing with others. This course develops tune repertoire, ornamentation and left hand accompaniment for melody playing. As the piano has the versatility to be both a melodic and accompaniment instrument, the second focus of the course is to develop your understanding of chord progressions and sequences, structure and formation.
Tunes taught on this course are:
Iain Ghlinn Cuaich
The Rolling Wave
The Man Of The House
Out On The Ocean
The Harp And The Shamrock
Sheet Music and Mp3s available to Download for each Tune
Sample Sheet Music
Sample mp3 of Swerving for Bunnies
Frequently Asked Questions with Stephen Markham
Here are a few things you need to consider:
a) The feel of the keys – keyboards come 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 factor in price range also. Weighted keys with good hammer action tend to be heavier keyboards, more suited to home or stage use. If you are using a keyboard for the purpose of Irish music sessions, semi-weighted is recommended.
b) Built-in speakers – 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.
c) Purpose – for home use, I would recommend digital pianos (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.
d) 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 now come with great instrument samples – strings, pads and synths, if used subtly, can be effective to accompany slow airs and songs, etc.
e) Portability – keyboards vary greatly in weight. If you’re using it for sessions, 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.
For session use, I recommend the Roland FP30. For home use, most digital pianos with weighted keys perfect for practising. The price point is excellent and it has a great feel to the keys. The 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 a great sounding piano, plus weighted keys and would rest in between mid-to-high in terms of price point (it does not have built-in speakers, however).
For stage use, I use Nord Stage EX, the newest model of which is the Nord Stage 2. For me, it has everything I need (I would use the library of samples for stage use, not just ‘piano’). It’s a great sounding piano and the key action is good. It is on the higher end in terms of price but definitely not as expensive as some other more heavy-duty stage keyboards.
Sessions really can be a minefield when you’re not playing with people you know. Some people might even be prejudiced against keyboards. Keep the keyboard volume at a level that is on par with other instruments so you don’t overpower them. Finally, my advice is to organise your own sessions with friends, that way you build camaraderie, you’re there for set-up with the keyboard in place and ultimately you’re spreading the joy of Irish music.
Detailed questions and discussion on the course can be found in the Community Forum, available to paying members only.