- 15 lessons teaching how to play 15 very popular Irish session tunes.
- Progress at your own pace, pause & repeat videos.
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- PDF sheet music & mp3’s to download & keep for each tune.
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- Access our Entire Course Catalogue for Every Instrument.
- Library of over 150 popular Irish tunes to practice along with.
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Due to popular demand, Easy Tin Whistle Session Tunes has been created as a companion and follow-on course to our most popular course here on OAIM: Tin Whistle Basics.
By the end of the course you will have a repertoire of 15 easy and popular Irish Session tunes, 8 reels and 7 jigs, that you can easily master with little effort under the expert guidance of master whistler, Kirsten Allstaff. The course has 15 lessons, broken into 3 to 4 tutorials each, where tunes are taught phrase by phrase.
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If you’ve taken Tin Whistle Basics then you already have the building blocks that will be further explored in this course. In lieu of introducing new techniques, the course was designed to help you master existing skills all the while learning new tunes to add to your repertoire. So, you get to simultaneously build your skill while building your repertoire.
The techniques recapped in this course include: cuts, taps, slides, the breath, articulation and rolls. Technique studies are kept simple and basic. Most of the lessons feature a technical exercise designed to optimise the learning of specific scale patterns, ornamentations and articulation methods. When these techniques are practised regularly and at consistent tempo, they contribute to building finger dexterity, the mark of tin whistle mastery.
A bonus feature of this course is that we have backing tracks for the vast majority of the tunes covered. So rather than just playing them on your own, when you’re ready you can play along with quality guitar or piano accompaniment tracks at the speed you are comfortable with and/or with another melody instrument if you so choose.
By the end of the course you will have doubled your repertoire and gained great confidence in your playing, enabling you to head out to a live session with some great tunes under your belt.
The Kesh Jig
The Galway Rambler
The Green Mountain
The Connacht Mans Rambles
Geese In The Bog
Rolling In The Ryegrass
The Tulla Reel
Fig For A Kiss
The Mist Covered Mountain
The Lilting Banshee
The Silver Spear
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Recommended Tin Whistle for Beginners
To play the vast majority of Irish tunes, musicians use a whistle in the key of D though there is a wide variety of other keys available. Similarly there are upmarket whistles for sale too which include the likes of tuning slides and aluminium bodies. An entry-level €5 Generation Brass of Nickel can potentially be as good as an instrument 50 times the price, but they are often under-par in the current market of mass-production. It’s a similar story with any whistles in the price range e.g. Feadóg. You’ll find the tone usually quite shrill, especially in the higher octave. Our advice would be to purchase a whistle in the €25-50 bracket. Tony Dixon manufacture many different kinds of whistles and their entry-level nickel or brass instruments are very good value. They have a very sweet tone albeit lacking in volume slightly. Their model without the tuning slide is still tunable as the fipple is moveable.
Advice Starting Out with the Tin Whistle
Enjoy the journey. Watch and listen to the tutor and try to copy the notes she is playing exactly. After a while you will be familiar with the notes and how they should sound, meaning you will have trained your ear, to hear if you are playing correctly. This is how Irish music has been traditionally handed down through generations.
It is highly recommended to be familiar with any tune you are learning before learning how to play it on the tin whistle, so download the mp3 file and listen to it frequently first before picking up the whistle to learn to play it.
, co-founder of OAIM, is an acclaimed flute and tin whistle player that has played throughout Ireland, Europe, North America and Asia with various Irish dance shows and groups. She has a First-Class Honours Master’s Degree in Traditional Irish Music Performance from the University of Limerick, Ireland. She previously tutored flute and whistle at The Irish World Academy of Music and Dance where she was involved in early online lecturing initiatives. Kirsten’s opening lesson of this course to date has reached over 600,000 views on YouTube, and consistently ranks in first position for those searching for tin whistle lessons, a testament to the quality of her teaching and popularity as a teacher. Read more
Frequently Asked Questions
I can't get the breathing right, I either have too much air or not enough of it, what do you recommend?
When playing Irish music on the flute or the whistle, it’s all about incorporating the breath into the tunes. Some players have to breathe often and this means missing out notes in the reels or jigs, which can actually add great rhythm to the tunes. Other players like to go for long seamless phrases – more like a piping style. This takes stamina and a strong set of lungs. More detailed breathing instructions are given throughout the Tin Whistle Basics course as Kirsten will recommend the best opportunities to breathe corresponding to the tunes she’s teaching.
Is there any difference between a Tin Whistle and a Penny Whistle?
There is no difference. A tin whistle is the more commonly used term in Ireland at least and is derived from the fact that most were made from tin in the past. In England, the instrument became known as a penny whistle due to its low cost price but the instrument is no different.
Is the finger setting the same as on the Irish flute?
The fingering for a tin whistle is the same for the wooden flute commonly used for playing Irish Music.
What is the difference between a Low D and D tin whistle?
Low D is a lot lower in tone than the D tin whistle played in these lessons. D whistles are recommended for beginners.
How do you clean a tin whistle?
You blow through the whistle while holding your finger over the square hole. This releases any build-up of condensation in the tin whistle which can distort the tone. Also, you can wash it through with soapy water, but make sure to rinse it very well before playing again.
Why do the notes sound the same, or sound awful?
There is probably a build-up of condensation, try covering the square hole and blowing hard through the mouth piece. This will improve the tone.
What determines the key of a whistle?
The sound made when all the fingers are down covering the holes.
What key tin whistle should I purchase?
For the vast majority of Irish music a whistle in the key of D will work perfectly well so this is the essential starting point. If you are playing solo, you can choose to play whatever key you want but it’s likely that this will not fly at a session. However, some other musicians (fiddle, banjo, accordion etc) may play a repertoire of tunes in “flat” keys such as G minor, F and Bb. In this case, it’s worth having a C whistle in your stash as well.
Ok, I have a C whistle...how can I play in G minor or F major now?
The key of C is one key below D (i.e. one note lower). So, if you play the exact same tune (i.e. same fingering) on a C whistle as on a D, the tune will be played one key lower. Playing in G minor on a D whistle is tough because of the amount of half-holing that would be required. Instead, you could play in A minor fingering on a C whistle and the tune will be produced in the lower key of G minor. The same applies for playing a tune in G major, where on a C whistle it would be produced in the lower key of F.
Is there any essential maintenance required for a tin whistle?
If it’s made of some form of metal then the simple answer is no. Just be careful where you store it as the metal is usually light (brass, nickel, tin, aluminium) and can easily be bent or dented. There are some wooden whistles which may require a little more maintenance such as oiling and temperature/sunlight is a bigger factor for these instruments too – especially in extreme climates. There are also carbon fibre whistles now being manufactured which have very low maintenance and are highly durable.
What is the best way to cover the holes of the whistle, with the tips of fingers or the pads?
Always cover the holes with the pads of your fingers rather than the tips.
Can I use the recorder to play Irish music instead?
The recorder is not an instrument which has developed alongside the music tradition in Ireland. The tone of the recorder is entirely conducive to an authentic Irish sound so the short answer is no. However, if you have experience playing the recorder you will find that you possess a distinct advantage in learning the tin whistle because the fingering is similar and you’ll have some rudiments in breath control.
Is it ok if the tin whistle fipple touches your teeth?
Yes it is, as long as you are not clenching your teeth or biting down even lightly.
More detailed questions and discussion on the course can be found in the Community Forum, available to paying members only.
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