New! Online Advanced Flute Course from Kevin Crawford

New! Online Advanced Flute Course from Kevin Crawford

http://oaim.ie/advanced-irish-flute-technique

Check out the free lesson onsite.

The course ‘Advanced Flute Technique’ is aimed at the more experienced flute learner. In it, Kevin guides the student through a myriad of cranns, rolls, triplets, back-stitch triplets, key-work and cuts. One of the main themes of the course is articulation; Kevin constantly refers to throat articulation as a means of accentuating the rhythm of the tunes and demonstrates again and again how to use glottal-stops to attack the notes for percussive effect…

Re: New! Online Advanced Flute Course from Kevin Crawford

Well, I looked the free lesson and I can’t say I felt there was anything particularly advanced about it. It was divided into four parts. Part one had him play the tune through. Part two had him breaking the tune down so you could learn it. So far, nothing that you could avoid at any level of experience to get a new tune. Part three has him demonstrating two ornaments. Well, if one is going to ornament at all, one would have to do at least this much. The final part has him playing it slowly and then at tempo.

Seeing this supports an opinion I’ve had for many years after taking live workshops from the likes of Joe McKenna, Grey Larsen, Chris Norman and Seamus Eagan that great players don’t necessarily make for great teachers. I have more to say on this subject, but I would like to hear from others about what they look for in a lesson or workshop once they get beyond the level of novice.

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Re: New! Online Advanced Flute Course from Kevin Crawford

It seems to me that you are quibbling with the oaim’s description of it as ‘Advanced’ rather the the teaching. However, that there were at least three challenges to predominant internet ‘group think’ on ‘Irish’ playing in the free lesson incline me to think that it is a good level to start at.

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I agree with you about the description, although I wouldn’t trivialize it by using the word "quibble." My complaint with the teaching is that I think he doesn’t really impart an understanding of technique so much as simply offering a fingering for one to copy. Imparting an understanding of how and when to ornament would, to me, be more valuable. A tune should only serve as an example for what he is trying to teach. I can’t say I come away from this with the ability to apply it to another tune.

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Re: New! Online Advanced Flute Course from Kevin Crawford

Three things I would apply when approaching other tunes would be:

The need for balanced range of notes (so no honking the bottom D because I read that it the fashion.

That learning the tune in chunks starting on a downbeat is not fatal anyone wanting the play Irish music.

That a tune can sound nice without smothering it in finger-driven twiddly bits. More glottal stops than cuts is OK.

More than that of course, but they were what it struck me that some internet gurus would be clucking about if a self-appointed ‘youtube expert’ had done those things.

(in a cynical phase of a yellow board affection-disaffection cycle)

Re: New! Online Advanced Flute Course from Kevin Crawford

Well done David, critical thinking is an essential aspect of any self education process, mindlessly adopting self proclaimed experts advice is not. Always research and confirm all advice in relationship to your own goals and what you aim for. What works for one person with their individual abilities, interests and inclination might well not be relevant or effective for another.

I have found in decades of studying traditional forms that beginner level instruction from master practitioners is the best possible choice and that advanced practitioners often do the same stuff as middle level players but at higher levels of competency.
I do have to agree with Aileen that good players dont necessarily make good teachers but conversely that what the student can learn from a master also depends to a great extent on the open mindedness and willingness to learn of the student. So even though a master practitioner may not be the best teacher a bright and interested student can pick up an awfull lot from those lessons [ and this is a general comment not aimed at the particular teacher or lesson here].


If I were to add anything to the valuable lessons you picked up from Kevin it would be that the art is to put the music into the notes. This has little to do with twiddly bits and everything to do with phrasing and that its up to the player to instill their playing with life, lift and verve. Just as in music just as in life.

So the crucial thing is to be able to do that without superficial ‘twiddly bits’ and once this is achieved, to allow the ornaments to spontaneously flow from within . Attempting to achieve this flow without internalising the tune in its simplest form is IMO self defeating and you can end up with superficial music that might be technically competent but nonetheless spiritually /spiritfully empty. On the surface it can resemble the real thing but within its just a simulacrum.

So then look at section 2, Kevin teaches the tune with little ornamentation. A basic concept that seems alien to the self proclaimed masters and gurus here. Its the approach I have been suggesting here since day 1 and I explain why I promote this traditional approach above.

Re: New! Online Advanced Flute Course from Kevin Crawford

David, where did you get the bit about no honking on the low D? What the text says is not to play the low notes too soft. What you want to be after on flute (and whistle) is to be able to bring the volume up on the low notes without them breaking into the second octave, and to not overblow the high notes.

Glottal stops are a form of articulation. So it’s a choice whether you separate notes of the same pitch with a glottal stop, a tongue, a push, or a cut/tap. The glottal stop approach has long had many proponents—it’s a feature of a well-established style in this tradition. But it’s just one of many styles and approaches. Kevin himself is also a master of "finger-driven twiddly bits," so I wouldn’t dismiss them based on one clip. Teaching a tune using lots of glottal stops is a way to make the point that glottal stops should be part of your bag of skills. Not the only skill. Notice that even in this spare setting of the tune, Kevin uses triplets, cuts, and taps.

That was a very beginner lesson. I suspect the lessons you have to pay for go into more challenging material. Kevin’s an excellent teacher, but you have to get into a small workshop or one-on-one lessons to really bring that out. Videos for mass consumption aren’t going to give a teacher much room to deal with the sorts of questions truly advanced players come up with. Bear in mind that people who go looking for online lessons generally aren’t "advanced" players. If they were, they wouldn’t need the lessons.

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"What the text says is not to play the low notes too soft." No it doesn’t. He is talking about tone *and* volume and refers to the bottom D sometimes being "out of balance". Could be either way.

I don’t think it is a beginner lesson, I think its a "starting from where he wants to build from" lesson.

Not teaching what someone expects to be taught does not make someone a bad teacher, or the lesson a beginners lesson.

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Sorry Will, I see you meant the text, not what he said. I was going by what he said.

I like his use of the phrase "…as you may be more traditionally used to…"

Re: New! Online Advanced Flute Course from Kevin Crawford

I had no expectations of what would be taught. And as I said, Kevin’s an excellent teacher…I know that first hand.

As for how "beginner" the lesson is—I’m not sure what the labels mean. But it’s a simple tune, simply played, and he doesn’t get far into any techniques or concepts beyond the basics. So it’s hardly "advanced." Again, as I said above, that may come in the other for-a-fee lessons. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with a basic lesson.

I’ve never heard anyone recommend that the bottom D has to be honked on every time it’s played. Sometimes it sounds good, appropriate for the tune. Sometimes sounds better when "in balance" with the other notes. Again, a decent fluter will be able to vary tone and volume so it’s a choice, rather than "I do it this way because I can’t do it any other way." And as a choice, it becomes a means of expression and interpretation.

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"So the crucial thing is to be able to do that without superficial ‘twiddly bits’ and once this is achieved, to allow the ornaments to spontaneously flow from within . Attempting to achieve this flow without internalising the tune in its simplest form is IMO self defeating…"

The REAL crucial thing is to make it very clear that this is your opinion. It is not shared by a good number of people here, and it is deceitful to dismiss those people, as you do, as "self-proclaimed gurus". Ornamentation is not an add-on - it is an inseparable element of the tune. Certainly not "superficial twiddly bits". Getting a teacher is a laudable thing to do, but just as important, if not more so, is listening to this music a lot. A big lot. Listening intelligently, listening to what good players (and a lot of different good players) do apropos of rhythmic subtleties, phrasing, ornamentation and variation, and getting it under your skin. You should end up not even *wanting* to learn so-called bare-bones versions of tunes. Now that’s just my opinion and I’m happy for it to be seen as such. I’m no self-proclaimed master or guru here, but I could name one person who is.

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Hands up those who think of what Kevin is teaching as a ‘bare-bones’ version of the tune.

Re: New! Online Advanced Flute Course from Kevin Crawford

That is not what I was saying, thanks.

Re: New! Online Advanced Flute Course from Kevin Crawford

The tune he’s teaching, by the way, is one of the many settings of Paddy O’Rafferty https://thesession.org/tunes/9657

Re: New! Online Advanced Flute Course from Kevin Crawford

Notice that it says in the 2nd part he’ll teach it with "no ornamentation", but then he goes ahead and plays it slowly, still with some ornamentation. Doesn’t that tell you something?

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That he didn’t write the text ?

(which I think is why I was at cross-purposes with Will)

Re: New! Online Advanced Flute Course from Kevin Crawford

I suspect that even if somebody asked Kevin to play a tune with "no ornamentation" he’d find it pretty difficult to do. He’d either do it anyway and not even be aware he was doing it unless someone interrupted him and asked "what’s that funny quick thing you’re doing before that note", or he’d do it automatically before he could stop himself. Asking him to play with no ornamentation would be like asking someone to teach someone else how to swim by getting them to practise the strokes lying on dry land. Yes, they may be able to pick up how to do the breast-stroke, but unless they get in the water they won’t necessarily ever be able to swim. And if they’re just practising the movements on dry land, then you couldn’t say they were actually swimming. Why not just make it easier for yourself in the long-run and start in the water from the outset?

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Good analogy. I like it. Might even nick it. You’re a long way from Bude so I’m not scared. ;-)

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David, regardless of what the text says, Kevin plays the "basic tune" using triplets, glottal stops, cuts, and taps. All of those are ways to articulate notes and pulse.

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I knew you meant something like that Dow. Nevertheless if Lesson one starts with:

"I’m Kevin Crawford. I’m going to be teaching you a number of tunes, hopefully sending across a few pointers, a few tips, along the way as well".

I will tend to take that at face value and not pay much attention to the supposed ‘syllabus’.

Re: New! Online Advanced Flute Course from Kevin Crawford

Crossed with Will. Yes. I hear and see that.

Are you sure you are not responding to how Jig interpreted my post rather than the post itself ?

Someone who wants to be guided through "a myriad of cranns, rolls, triplets, back-stitch triplets, key-work and cuts" might be disappointed by the teacher emphasizing, in the first lesson, the need for "a well balanced set of notes" and demonstrating how he wanted one straightforward ‘ornament’ to sound in the context of a simple tune.

However, the text at the top of the page was written to attract us folk out on the internet. I guess Kevin has a lot of experience at teaching them in workshops and knows how best to start.

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David, I’m unsure of why you’re addressing me in your post, since mine was not addressing yours, at least not intentionally. In fact, I don’t get your point at all. I can’t work out from your posts whether or not you’re in favour of these lessons or whether you see problems or what. Is it that you don’t feel you can learn enough about ornamentation from the video? Or is it the opposite? I’m confused…

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And what’s with this group internet guru youtube thing? What’s all that about? Can you give an example of what on earth you’re talking about there?

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Dow …

I was the first post after your "Doesn’t that tell you something?" which I assumed to be open to all or rhetorical. I knew what you meant but deliberately gave a ‘perverse’ response suggesting a miss-match between the text and the video.

The sample lesson makes me think the course would be good, because it looks to me as if Kevin is starting out by checking the student has done his homework. That he may think that "a balanced set of notes" come before "back-stitch triplets" etc. That he is a good teacher who can teach technique in the context of a tune. That his "…as you may be more traditionally used to…" is the way good teacher introduces a view that might differ from what the student has learn’t elsewhere.

There may be something subtle about phrasing on the way as well. Something that learning a tune in chunks starting on a downbeat does not hinder.

Re: New! Online Advanced Flute Course from Kevin Crawford

oh right, ok.

Re: New! Online Advanced Flute Course from Kevin Crawford

This lesson is brilliant. I wouldn’t have done it differently myself. Let me explain:

Many players know they don’t sound like "professional", even if they want to. So the question is: What will take one to the next level?

Too many players add layers and layers of ornamentation, thinking that is the key, when the biggest difference between professionals and amateurs is tone and articulation, the two themes for this lesson.

Many players think they know what throating is. They don’t. What most players call throating is not throating, but breath articulation, the use of the diaphragm. If one really understood what throating is, and practiced it, one would in the end be able to make the throating so subtle and smooth that one would sound like McGoldrick (if they want to). The reason people miss the point about throating is because when not practiced, the throat can only work at a certain pace in conjunction with the fingers and lips. For those who don’t master throating, this pace is slow, too slow for session playing etc. If the player speeds up, he would have to drop the real throat articulation, because this is the weakest link. The result is that the player doesn’t improve his throating skills in the long run.

This tune Kevin teaches here is perfect for practicing throating. Also by leaving out all the fancy stuff, it becomes much easier for players to focus on what really matters, the throat articulation. When you master throating, rhytm and beat will fall into place easily.

Kevin is addressing the single biggest problem for most flute players. Those who say this is too basic for advanced players, please post a clip where you play this tune, and prove that you master tone and throat articulation. If someone ask me, I will gladly do the same.

I have had classes with many top notch players, and of all of them, I have to say that when it comes to teachings skills Kevin is up there with the bests.

Sigmund

Re: New! Online Advanced Flute Course from Kevin Crawford

He teaches 13 tunes in the course. I’m sure that there would be something for everybody.

I use OAIM.ie a lot and have learnt plenty of whistle technique, also picked up some great tunes from the other instrument courses.

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I agree with most of Sigmund’s post. Except this bit: "….those who say this is too basic for advanced players…." Did anyone here actually say that? Pointing out the basic setting of the tune is different than saying it’s not fit for advanced players.

That said, I must have been lucky with my earliest instruction on flute—good use of the diaphragm and glottal stops was a main focus. I think of that not as basic or advanced—simply fundamental to strong fluting.

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Thanks for posting this oaim.ie! Always good to hear about players such as Kevin Crawford sharing his experience.

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Re: New! Online Advanced Flute Course from Kevin Crawford

I don’t see ornamentation and articulation as different things, as Sigmund seems to.

Re: New! Online Advanced Flute Course from Kevin Crawford

When Trad musicians teach, they teach you *their* way
of playing since there is no canonical Irish flute style. If your goal
is to play like Harry Bradley, June McCormack or Niall Keegan,
then better skip the Crawford videos.

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BTW, I paid my money and signed up because I happen to love
the way Tola Custy and Kevin Crawford do the Trad thing! But
even after watching a few of the videos, the mystery remains -
how do they sound so good? The whole is more than the sum
of the cuts and rolls.

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I know what you mean, hup. I use the same notes as people like Mr. Crawford, but they never sound as good! ;-)

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Hup, your post reminds me of this, attributed to Seamus Ennis:

You know, there’s an awful lot to be said
for this Irish traditional
folk music and folklore, because
first of all
you have to learn it
and first you must learn the Talk
and then you must learn the Grip
and after that you must learn the Truckly-How
and then
you have the whole lot
only just to keep on practising it.

Because
Séamus Ennis knows far more about this
than even the old Folk Lordy-Lordy themselves.
Because Séamus Ennis
once met a little Leprashoneen Truckly-How
at the bottom of the Garden Doth and up the Garden Path
which came up from that,
in the Limeretti-Lumeretti Hillhockers,
before the Earthian Throe,
before the Leprashonerian –
long before the Argay Foray –
and that was in the Deep Pond Doom
before the Emerald Isle was dropped …
in the water.

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Ha ha! Well, there’s nothing a German-Jewish-American can
do about those missing Irish Trad roots, but I soldier on anyway …