Online Trad Irish Fiddle Teachers and Advice

Online Trad Irish Fiddle Teachers and Advice

Does anyone know if there’s a list of traditional Irish Fiddle teachers who do lessons online?

I’d be looking for someone versed in Slaibh Luachre or East Clare traditions.

I’m still early on in my journey. I’ve been working with a teacher who leans on Suzuki method to start teaching fiddle (she’s not absolutist, and she teachers both fiddling and classical). She’s quite an amazing teacher and I’ve learned a lot quite fast over the past three months but I’m struggling with adding in non-Irish traditional music.

On one hand, part of me feels I should just dive in and go with the flow. I’ve learned an incredible amount and made huge progress, and I’m getting a lot of insight into traditional Irish music from my listening, watching videos, and reading as much as I can. I’ll also get around to more She’s not suggesting I learn classical, just learn the basics and mechanics lined up with Suzuki as an easiest way as I transition my body and ears to be able to be closer to the fiddle.

I know many people here espouse the "the beauty of Irish trad is focusing on the tunes" but I have found I learn well with some of the practices of scales and exercises, and as an "older" 41 year old learner with zero musical background, it’s been cool as heck to learn the music theory side of it, which she does an amazing job explaining.

So I’m torn.

I practice every day averaging an hour a day / week (if I’m feeling exhausted I’ll do 20 minutes). I spend about two-three hours a day listening to music (primarily from the above mentioned traditions).

Any advice in general, or specific pointing to teachers would be great.

Re: Online Trad Irish Fiddle Teachers and Advice

I just found this thread.

https://thesession.org/discussions/28151

It seems "whatever works for you." Which doesn’t help resolve my current internal dilemma.

Re: Online Trad Irish Fiddle Teachers and Advice

I have just (this very evening) had a lesson with James Kelly. He’s perhaps not particularly your man for Sliabh Luachra or East Clare music, being strongly rooted in West Clare style - but he is a master of his instrument and very knowledgeable, I am sure, about all styles of Irish fiddle playing.

He’s only one suggestion out of many possible ones, but highly recommended.

Re: Online Trad Irish Fiddle Teachers and Advice

I second Kelly - you could email him and ask if he’s comfortable with East Clare/SL. My guess is that he is, but you know you’ll get an honest reply.

PS - lessons with a real trad player, as opposed to a violin/fiddle generalist, is a really good idea. Go for it.

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Re: Online Trad Irish Fiddle Teachers and Advice

I’ve probably had 10+ online lessons with seperate teachers, all top players. Send me a PM if you like, with what you want in a teacher and I can provide you more details. I was after general advice rather than learn tunes. Also I’m in Australia so avoided teachers in certain countries due to timezone. I learnt lots and got some superb advice…I would reccomend it.

Re: Online Trad Irish Fiddle Teachers and Advice

Not sure if you saw this recent thread or not. https://thesession.org/discussions/45046 Rosa is currently looking for online students, and has a very lovely E. Clare style.

Re: Online Trad Irish Fiddle Teachers and Advice

"PS - lessons with a real trad player, as opposed to a violin/fiddle generalist, is a really good idea."

I agree. Whilst learning good general technique cannot be a bad thing (and something that I missed out on, coming to the fiddle as an already-primed traditional player and impatient to get stuck into the tunes), a good traditional fiddler knows what technique is needed and when, and what is largely superfluous* to traditional music. The main thing I was aiming to get out of my lesson with James Kelly was improving technique and he was straight on the case; he is a very thoughtful musician and has good insight into the relationship between technique and musical expression - which, in a way, was more than I bargained for.

*I think that there is probably very little in classical violin technique that *cannot* be applied in some way to traditional fiddling, once you have a solid foundation in the music, but there is much that is not essential to the style and, in the earlier stages of learning, is a mere distraction.

Re: Online Trad Irish Fiddle Teachers and Advice

I’ve learnt as an adult too, and I think I’ve progressed ok. Good luck with your journey.
My suggestion is that your real need is for a good fiddle teacher to ‘simply’ learn to play better. I think that the regional part of it is much secondary to that main issue. Of course I don’t mean that regional styles don’t exist; I mean that good players from any region have a great deal in common, while their different styles arise from their listening, their sensibilities and their repertoire. Your present challenge is to learn what they have in common.
As well I wonder why one would go to James Kelly at this stage of learning. He is an acknowledged star of course, but any good teacher could give you what you need provided you ‘click’ with them.
As a specific suggestion (time zone permitting), Laura Ugar from Burren Fiddle Holidays is a fabulous player and an excellent teacher.

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Re: Online Trad Irish Fiddle Teachers and Advice

Thank you so much everyone for your guidance and advice.

I’m going to do a few things:

1) Continue working with my current teacher and just "dive in" to what she’s offering in the way she offers
2) Set up a trial lesson or two with someone willing who teaches fully in the tradition (I’ll probably try messaging Rosa and find at least one other)
3) Try and learn a tune from Martin Haye’s recent master class on his Patreon (it will be available on youtube in two weeks, it was his second tune he learned and oddly enough would be mine as well so that seems good)
3) PM Collywobble

The main reason I would limit myself to a specific region is that’s both the music that resonates with me on a musical, emotional, family/ancestral heritage and "spiritual" level, and thus occupies the bulk of my listening. I’m not just new to traditional Irish music but haven’t really been a huge music person.

I did play hurling for many years though and am pretty sure that getting your bones broken by ash clubs in a traditional way applies every practice. 🙂

Thanks everyone!

Re: Online Trad Irish Fiddle Teachers and Advice

I haven’t done an online lesson with James Kelly, but have been in workshops with him. He’s a very good teacher- particular about how you should do things, but I think he’s a genius.