Thursday, October 8, 2015

Workshops and Teaching

I give lessons and workshops on traditional Celtic music on string instruments. Following are the instruments and styles I teach:
1. Celtic fiddle -- Scottish, Irish, and English traditional styles, teaching students methods of playing, such as drones, bowing, and ornaments, used to transform the violin and printed music to traditional fiddling. This can include features of 18th-century Scottish and English music.
2. Celtic music on mandolin family instruments -- mandolin, mandola, and octave mandolin. Students learn how to use techniques such as drones, picking, and ornaments to create a Celtic sound. This can include an emphasis on the music of Turlough O'Carolan and the 18th century.
3. Mountain dulcimer -- Flatpicking in DAD and DGD tuning using capos to play in nearly all Celtic keys. Includes use of drones, picking and ornaments to create a Celtic sound.
4. Celtic guitar accompaniment. Using strumming patterns, selective string playing, bass lines, partial chords, varying chord voicings, and chord substitution to create a Celtic sound and to add variety.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Tommy and the Tannies

It was a miserable drive to the concert on Tuesday but well worth the trip. It was the Tannahill Weavers after all.
I don’t do well driving on dark, rainy nights. I never have thanks to astigmatism — even in my 20s driving home from orchestra rehearsal in Dover I had trouble seeing the white lines on rainy nights — and now I have the additional problem of newly developing cataracts causing fuzzy vision. The rain fell steadily but not necessarily heavily on Tuesday, making amends for the summer drought, but traffic, especially big trucks, threw up spray and obscured the stripes, magnifying the visibility problems. But the concert venue, Happy Days Lodge in Cuyahoga Valley National Park, was dry, warm and bright.
The Tannies may be unknown to the average person, but they are one of Scotland’s finest traditional groups, blending fiddle, flute, whistles, bodhran (a traditional Irish drum), guitar and bagpipes on scorching instrumentals, spirited songs about Scottish historical figures, and lovely ballads, accompanied by leader Roy Gullane’s often outrageous tongue-in-cheek stories.