Class level determination is an inexact science, however the sessions have been divided into levels so that teaching material can be presented in a way appropriate to the skill levels indicated. If you decide you would like to attend a class and are at a different level than what is offered, please take a place in the outer ring and listen only, allowing the teacher to focus on the level intended.
*Recording devices (with batteries!) are recommended for getting the most out of ALL class sessions. Irish music is an aural tradition, so learning to hear the nuances of phrasing and ornaments that aren't written on the page are an important part of learning the tunes. Since small variations, e.g. putting an ornament in or out, are part of the tradition, tunes are often played differently every time. Sheet music will be provided for some repertoire but ability to read music is not a prerequisite and learning by ear is strongly encouraged.
- Fiddle classes will work on technique for tone, agility and intonation and the bowing, phrasing and ornamentation used in traditional Irish music. Also covered will be practice methods, session playing and learning tunes from recorded media.
- Flute and Whistle will work on sound production and tone; learn rolls, cuts, tongueing and ornamentation; and work on rhythm and phrasing with an appropriate repertoire for each level. D Whistles and Flutes of many varieties are acceptable.
- Bodhran covers the rudiments of playing the traditional frame drum; including holding the beater, basic up and down strokes, triplets, controlling pitch and tone, care and maintenance and an overview of dance rhythms. Advanced students will work on developing percussion parts for selected tune medleys working on syncopation, tone-playing, rim shots, tune structure and related topics.
- Mandolin and Tenor Banjo will use a combination of written music, fingerboard diagrams and aural learning to cover basic skills including intonation, scales, arpeggios, melodic sequence and right and left hand techniques. Picking styles, instrument set-up and Irish dance repertoire will also be discussed and students will practice playing solo and in groups.
- Repertoire Sessions will present repertoire for players of all instruments. Designed to balance out with the playing levels of weekend's featured instrument classes, this gives students a chance to learn and play Irish session repertoire together in a group. The afternoon class will work on slower repertoire and will help students build group playing skills; the morning class will be geared more towards advanced players and will work through faster and more complex repertoire.
- Guitar Accompaniment will use standard tuning to work on both right and left hand technique. It will include working with the chord shapes in a variety of keys and using these positions up and down the neck, rhythmic patterns for jigs and reels, and accompaniment to slow airs.
- Irish Song is open to all levels of ability. Students will explore and share repertoire of traditional songs and sources with work on breathing, phrasing and accompanying yourself while singing.
- Sean nos step The morning class introduces the traditional battering step dance and is open to all, the afternoon class is aimed at more experienced dancers and Shannon will work with those attending refining their style and introducing a variety of new steps appropriate to their level of expertise. Those comfortable with the morning's steps are welcome to remain.
- Claddagh Set and other set dances is open to all levels of dancers. The main body of the workshop will work on this newly composed reel set that is popular in Galway with lots of unusual moves. If there is time, the class will also learn another interesting set or ceili dance or perhaps a two hand. These more complicated dances will be done as a "show dance" for those who know them during the evening dance… giving these dancers a chance to share what they have learned.