Learn to Play an Irish Instrument

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Learn to Play an Irish Instrument

Unleash the sound of music for Christmas and New Year

Are you getting a musical instrument for Christmas? How about your new year resolutions? Will they include mastering an instrument? Research shows that learning an instrument can improve cognitive function and benefit the brain, no matter what age you begin learning. Apart from boosting your brainpower, the sheer pleasure to be had from being able to play music is reason enough to start. Keep reading to learn how to play an Irish instrument.

The question is, where to begin? If you yearn to learn piano, but don’t have the space or the budget for the traditional upright, there are now many small electronic keyboards with prices to suit any budget. Perhaps you fancy scaling the heights with a wind instrument. A penny whistle is the perfect getaway instrument and is very affordable. It will train your ear and help you with the breathing techniques you need for playing the flute, sax or trombone. If strings are your thing, the guitar deserves its standing as the go-to instrument for flexibility and ease of learning. Or how about the violin? It’s harder to play but your perseverance will be rewarded.

Once you have chosen your instrument, you’ll need lessons to help you master the basics and that’s where Alison comes in. We have dozens of courses in everything from piano to accordion and drums, and string to wind instruments, with a surprising range of genres included! 

Traditional Irish Music

We recommend our series of courses in Traditional Irish instruments for basic training that will stand you in good stead for playing other styles of music. Our Traditional Irish Music Hub includes certified courses in fiddle, guitar, flute, tin whistle, concertina and button accordion. We also have excellent courses in unaccompanied (sean-nós) singing and the handheld traditional Irish drum, the.bodhrán (pronounced bow-ron).

The tutors are all national champions, and many are well-known performers, such as Irish TV presenter Doireann Ní Ghlacáin, who teaches the fiddle courses, singing tutor Nell Ní Chróinín who’s the lead vocalist with the well-known group Danú, and our guitar maestro Michael McCague who has performed with some of Irish folk music’s biggest stars.

These courses will take you from basic beginner through to intermediate level in no time, teaching you skills that you can use across the genres.

Music Instrument Courses

Take our popular Guitar Beginner 1 course, for instance. Tutor Michael McCague provides lessons in the basics of playing using the Drop D tuning system, which lends chords a rich, open sound. His guitar classes will give you the foundations for playing blues and rock along with folk.

Dermot Sheedy, drummer with top folk-rock band Hermitage Green, teaches the bodhrán courses and in the Intermediate course, progresses to extra rhythms and tips for adding colour to any drum rhythm.

With the tin whistle and flute courses, champion player Brian O’Loughlin will show you how to breathe correctly and how to add ornamentation to make your playing more colourful. His brother, Conor O’Loughlin, will teach you all you need to know about playing the concertina or if you prefer a bigger box, another champion player, Conor Connolly, provides free button accordion classes. 

Each of the tutors brings you foundational teaching in their instrument with lessons that progress to the sorts of skills that only seasoned players can teach. 

If you would like to incorporate some Irish culture into your party routines, don’t miss our Sean-nós Singing courses at Beginner 1, Beginner 2 and Intermediate level where native Irish speaker and top vocalist Nell Ní Chróinín will teach you songs in both Irish and English.

All of our Traditional Irish Music courses come with downloadable pdfs that will help with your practice. 

Alison’s free online music courses also include other exciting instruments, like the baby harp, classical violin, the cello and of course, the piano. And we don’t stop there. You can also get a masterclass in composition, learn to produce electronic music or master the basics of playing by ear. Our music theory courses cover everything from harmony to rhythm and form.

Best of all, it won’t cost you a penny. All you need to do is register for a free account on Alison.com, enrol in the course of your choice and begin learning. Now all you need is that instrument. Happy, musical new year!