By the end of the course you will have a repertoire of sixteen popular Irish session tunes, the ability to play cuts, taps and rolls, as well as a deeper understanding of the Irish music tradition. The course has 17 lessons, broken into 3 to 4 tutorials each, where tunes are taught phrase by phrase.
First you will learn how to hold the instrument, proper hand and finger posture and good basic technique. Then you move into a progressive study of scales, articulation and ornamentation. The first tunes taught are nursery rhymes ‘Mary had a little lamb’ and ‘Fréres Jacques’ as these tunes are well known so you can focus on the technique of learning the D scale and producing the proper tone.
After you have mastered these basic tunes in the D scale you will progress to learning the following popular Irish session tunes as well as ornamentation:
We won’t go home until the morning
I’ll tell my ma
Britches full of stitches
Shoe the donkey
Na Ceannabhain Bhána
The Ten Penny Bit
The Feakle Jig
Sheet Music and Mp3s available to Download for each Tune
Sample Sheet Music
Sample mp3 of Rattlin Bog
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.
Frequently Asked Questions
More detailed questions and discussion on the course can be found in the Community Forum, available to paying members only.