Q: How much are lessons?
I typically charge $25 for a half hour, and $40 for an hour. I find that a half hour is suitable for younger kids as they start out, gradually moving into an hour as they progress. A half hour can be a good introduction for adults getting their feet wet.
Q: Where do lessons take place?
This can be negotiated. Depending on proximity, I come to your home; depending on timing, you come to mine! It can also work well to have a group meet at someone’s home for a group lesson/workshop, usually 3-4 adults.
Q: Do you provide Skype lessons?
Yes. If distance and timing is an issue, we can arrange for lessons via Skype.
Q: Do I need to know how to read music?
No! Traditional Irish music is an aural tradition; it focuses heavily on learning and playing by ear. If you already read music, we will work to develop your ear training and listening skills. If you don’t read music, we will work on ear training & learn some basic music theory and reading skills. Knowing how to read and recognize notes on a music staff comes in handy when you find an old manuscript with a tune written down!
Q: I need a tin whistle! Where can I get one?
I have a batch of Feadog brand tin whistles available for $10. They’re great in a pinch, for kids, or anyone starting out. The most common tin whistles are around that price, $10, and have a brass or nickel body with a plastic headpiece. Generation, Waltons, and Feadog all fall in this range and are some of the more common brands. Clarke whistles are also fairly common and are slightly more expensive. These are all available online, if you don’t find them at a music shop.
For more advanced players: I love Generation whistles that have been “tweaked” by Jerry Freeman in Connecticut. Years ago, you had a good chance of picking out a Generation whistle with a killer sound; these days, as more are mass-produced, the quality varies greatly. He takes batches of factory-produced Generations and makes adjustments so they produce their best tone and sound (and he’s a nice guy to boot). Buy his whistles here.
There are higher end whistles that are on the expensive side, like Sindt & Burke. I also play a Killarney Whistle, a new whistle produced in you guessed it, Killarney. They’re great whistles with no wait time and a good price. Check them out here!
Q: I need a flute! Where can I get one?
For starter Irish flutes, look at Casey Burns or Sweetheart Flutes. The website/discussion board/mecca Chiff and Fipple, dedicated to whistles, has a Flute section where people occasionally post instruments for sale as well at decent prices.
I play a 6-key large-holed Rudall & Rose flute in African blackwood made by the great John Gallagher in Elkins, West Virginia.
Q: What is the difference between a classical flute and an Irish flute?
On a basic level, classical flutes are made of metal, and Irish flutes are made of wood. Some Irish flutes have no keys, others have keys that are typically sterling silver.
Q: How much notice should do you need if I have to cancel my lesson?
As much notice as possible! 24 hours notice is preferable. Likewise, if I need to cancel a lesson, I will give as much notice as possible, ideally 24 hours. I take the responsibility of scheduling and holding lessons seriously and take every care not to cancel unless unforeseen circumstances arise.