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How we teach   


 The aim of the Vermont School of Irish Traditional Music is to pass on a solid musical repertoire that will nurture the community of Irish musicians in Vermont.  We welcome all players of melody instruments, from upper beginner to advanced. 


For those new to our classes:  

 Students who want to join should be anywhere from upper beginner to advanced on their instrument.   If you would like to work on technique specific to your individual instrument, we’ll be happy to direct you to people who can help.


We try to offer a context for the tunes we teach so that students understand something about regional styles, iconic players of the music, and important historic recordings. Finally, we aim to help students play with confidence, both in solo and group settings, so that they can appreciate (and participate) in sessions world-wide.

Because Irish music is taught and learned by ear, students are given recordings  (and are also sent the tunes via Dropbox) with assigned tunes.   In class, we go through the tunes together learning to play as a group and concentrating on the tricky bits.   And every week we’ll review the tunes you learned the weeks before.


By the time the classes are over, everyone will have some new tunes that they can play in sessions in Vermont and elsewhere, and will have made some musical friends in the process.    Feel free to e-mail us with any questions.

Our classes feature occasional guest musicians who will contribute their own perspectives on the Irish tradition. 



Traditional instruments

Irish music is traditionally played on the following melody instruments:

  • Fiddle 

  • Wooden flute

  • Concertina,

  • Uilleann pipes

  • Button accordion

  • Tenor banjo

  • Tin whistle

  • Harp

  • Occasionally mandolin or harmonica


What about accompaniment?

Although Irish music was traditionally played without accompaniment or harmony, that has changed in recent times.


We do not teach accompaniment.  However, all accompanists to Irish music should be deeply familiar with the repertoire, since Irish rhythm and melodic structure is not as predictable as it might be in some other traditions.


 Popular accompanying instruments now tend to be piano, bouzouki, guitar, and bodhran (drum).  

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