Spaniard in Shanghai learning fiddle and whistle

Spaniard in Shanghai learning fiddle and whistle

Hi folks,

So I am Spanish, Celtic music lover, currently playing the fiddle, Irish flute and the metal irish whistles. I have always played by ear and learned by myself participating in sessions and so on, but now I come to realize that I can do way better if I bothered to actively learn how to play properly but….since my time is limited(Online Chinese teacher, two kids, you can imagine) I want to ask the masters for advice on few matters:

1. I tend to get stuck on the fast tunes cause of my bowing being all over the place(never had a teacher showing me how to do it). What free online resources are there(YouTube videos, apps, whatever ) to learn how to bow properly?

2. what are the easiest 10 to 20 tunes, slow and fast ones would you advice me to learn to get a session’s mood up? In both the fiddle and the Irish flute/whistle. If you know 40 DO NOT be shy, I’ll appreciate it more than you think.

3. Are there any apps that can help me learn/practice the fiddle and Irish Flute? I am using tunepal which is superb.

4. Are there any free online ACTIVE(not passive videos etc) resources where a 40 years old spanish torero like me can join to learn? When I say active I mean, some teachers teaching online for free to many students for the sake of spreading Celtic music perhaps.
I might sound like a cheap bastard but the truth is, I would love to have a budget and pay to learn, though that’s not happening in my current situation here in Shanghai, one of the most expensive cities on earth, on my list though to go to Ireland and Scotland to take classes.

Any advice super appreciated. Thanks a lot in advance

Re: Spaniard in Shanghai learning fiddle and whistle

I’ve sent you a pm.

Re: Spaniard in Shanghai learning fiddle and whistle

Hi David,

I am travelling to Shanghai in the near future for a week. Are there sessions in Shanghai? If so could meet and see if I can pass a few tunes over.

The Butterfly slip jig is a good place to start for an easy tune. Also the Kerfunken jig.

Re: Spaniard in Shanghai learning fiddle and whistle


I would recommend books first of all. The Matt Cranitch book seems to be most highly regarded for fiddle. There is also the Pete Cooper book. Not everyone is so keen, but Pete is a good musician and a sensible person. For flute & whistle the Grey Larson book but especially the two books by Mary Bergin. Expensive but worth every penny.


It honestly doesn’t matter. You could start with the popular tunes listed here, or the infamous "Dow’s List", but a better approach is to work on tunes as they come to you, through recordings, mentions in sessions, as you find them in books, or on radio. Learn each tune thoroughly and slowly, and on all your instruments.


Record yourself playing, and listen back to the recordings.

A simple drum machine app is more fun to play with than a metronome, and I reckon more helpful for building your rhythm skills.

A drone of some kind (I use is very helpful for all sorts of things, especially fiddle.

Posted by .

Re: Spaniard in Shanghai learning fiddle and whistle

Hi, I am learning Irish flute and I use Recorder Plus all the time. You can record a tune then split out sections/phrases to simply loop. I simply learn phrase by phrase. You can also slow the phrases to pick out the detail. Good for understanding what is really going on.
I looked for free tutors online but eventually had to pay. I found that the learning the underlying techniques that give you the feel (cuts, taps, rolls etc) was the hardest to get help with.
Check out Blayne Chastain’s site. I think the style/format is excellent.
My playing is still pretty awful but its gradually sounding more fluid.

Re: Spaniard in Shanghai learning fiddle and whistle

If you want your playing to be clean and precise, this will help enormously:,_Op.45_(Wohlfahrt,_Franz)
Try to play the exercises as if it was music… because it is. Each exercise will stretch you in a different direction. Bowing directions are indicated though I think that taking a lesson from an accomplished player would help you more in that regard.
This clip from Frankie has a lot to offer:

Kevin on bowing:

On ornament:

Re: Spaniard in Shanghai learning fiddle and whistle

You guys are stars! Thanks a lot, I appreciate it