Do any members here have experience with the whistle lessons offered by OAIM?
Do any members here have experience with the whistle lessons offered by OAIM?
I’ve no experience of OAIM, but I know the Armagh Pipers is now offering lots of lessons online including whistle, it’s a mix of recorded and Zoom, might be worth checking out. https://armaghpipers.com
Not whistle, flute. The instructors are knowledgable and you can repeat any part of the lesson until you "get it" so I guess that makes them really patient with you. That’s the up-side. Each lesson includes a tune and at least one skill. You’ll have to be your own judge of your progress, there’s no one to say "you got it" or "try again like this", no specific, immediate, feedback, and that can be problematic. And it’s up to you to find how to apply those skills and techniques to all that you play. Still, all in all it’s money and time well spent if you have the discipline.
I’ve never heard of OAIM, but from what I gather it seems to be an online course of pre-recorded videos. I think private tutors are much better and help you move along much faster. I’m currently learning whistle with a tutor which is great because they choose things at your level which obviously helps you get better faster.
Not sure if that was what you were looking for but just putting in my pennies.
YouTube has first lessons for free. Experienced players vary in their ability to teach. Unless you are steeped in the music, I think it’s best to have time in on your instrument before you attempt to play Irish on it.
I’m also a "not whistle but flute" case, and I’ve been with OAIM for a few months. Of course it’s not the same as a live teacher, but it’s a case of swings and roundabouts.
What you have at OAIM that is better than a live tutor is the option to repeat any lesson, part lesson, 2-second clip - whatever - as many times as you like at any time of your choosing. You can hear the tunes at various speeds. You can repeat the demonstration of specific techniques 20 times and go back to it a week later if that suits you. You can spend 10 minutes there one day and two hours the next if that suits. You can download ABC and dots, whichever you want. You can take three lessons in a day (probably not a good idea) if you want to. And most (all?) of the tutors are top flight players. Some, I’ll admit, are better teachers than others. And some are more personable than others.
What you don’t get, obviously, is feedback and the experience of playing with someone else.
The scheme is that you pay a monthly sub, and once you are in you have access to any and all of the lessons at any level on any instrument you want to look at. No need to worry about whether to pay for the next level if you are not sure you want it. You can try it and see. So it is not only more convenient than a live teacher, but cheaper than a weekly lesson.
So yes, I recommend it, provided you are expecting to use it regularly. And as someone pointed out, there are free samplers and a free trial period (2 weeks, iirc).
Ailin: "Unless you are steeped in the music, I think it’s best to have time in on your instrument before you attempt to play Irish on it."
Could you explain what you mean by this please, Ailin?
Ailin will no doubt explain but I think the argument is that it’s important to attain a basic level of competence on an instrument or, at least, know your way about it to a certain extent before starting to play the music.
However, I’m not sure how Irish or other forms of tradition music would differ from any other at an entry level. You have to make a start in a particular genre and it surely makes sense to focus on the type of music you actually want to play.
Whistle? I don’t think I suffered by starting with Irish music. Irish whistle teachers and tutor writers have huge experience in teaching whistle to raw beginners. What are better routes?
And as I have explored other traditional music on flute I think an initial ‘Irish technique’ had served me OK. I would rather sound like me than many other dabblers who started with classical technique.
I’ve been subscribed for a while now. I like it and find it very useful, or rather I did. I feel like I may have gotten to the point where it’s less useful.
It’s a thorough and I think innovative site. It has lots of lessons from very good players and you can go through them at your own pace. They mostly consist of the playing the tune part by part and some tips about ornamentation or technique. There are a lot of tunes available in ABC and notation and as mp3
There are a lot of "play along" tracks, recordings of again actual good players. You can slow them down significantly without too much audio degradation, and you can choose to hear just the melody, just the accompaniment, or both together. I find they much more pleasant than just sung a metronome, but I think a good argument could be made that solo metronome practice ends up being better in the long run, because you have to learn to make it work musically without any help.
The 3d virtual reality sessions are fun and you get to listen closely to real players in a session setting.
It’s not as good as a live teacher—it can’t see or hear what you’re doing wrong. But I’ve found it a good resource. Skype/zoom etc. lessons with a live teacher are better, I think
To explain my point about being steeped in the music: At least some of the OAIM tutorials focus only on Irish technique as opposed to rudiments of music in general or how to even develop basic skill on the instrument in question. Irish music is a specialisation and I caution against specialising as a starting-off point, especially if you are not even steeped in the music, which is to say you weren’t raised on it. To me, it seems like learning to run before you learn how to walk.
As some folk have already pointed out, the drawback of learning from videos is that you get no feedback on your progress. I understand that everyone is feeling the pinch financially (not Jeff Bezos!) due the pandemic , so my offer of cheap (or even free) lessons is still open. See this thread https://thesession.org/discussions/45171#comment901750
Thanks for your clarification, Ailin. It seems that teaching of this type is a bit hit-and-miss as the tutor has to make a lot of blind assumptions about their ‘average’ student - previous musical experience (level of instrumental technique and theory/ear skills/musical intuition), previous experience of Irish Traditional Music, comprehesion of English etc. A *complete* beginner on traditional flute is not the same as a beginner to trad with grade 8 classical flute or a competent traditional player of another instrument (or a seasoned listener to trad) who decides to take up the flute. I would imagine that some tutors, even in a live teaching situation, would have difficulty with some scenarios, e.g. the classical player wanting to ‘convert’ to trad, but at least they know who they are teaching and what their specific goals and requirements are.
"Irish music is a specialisation and I caution against specialising as a starting-off point …"
I am not sure I agree with this point entirely; if you want to play Irish music only, why learn something else? Granted, at the most basic level, stylistic speciation is not really important - if you a learning to play a simple melody using the first five notes of the scale, it matters little what its origins are. But, as long as the tunes are appropriate to the learner’s ability, they might as well be Irish. Diving into ornamentation too early may not be useful, but it is never too soon to internalise a feel for the rhythms of Irish music.
It’s not a question of learning something else. It’s a question of learning the instrument, the rudiments of music, breathing, tone production and phrasing. These skills can then be applied to the musical style of choice. You can only risk sidestepping the basics if you are so steeped in the music that thinking in terms of Irish style is second nature. In such a situation, I suppose you could get away with putting the cart before the horse, although I still wouldn’t recommend it.
@Ailin: Yes, I get what you are saying - the basics (i.e. the mechanics of the instrument and gaining good control over it) are universal. In fact, I did, to a large extent, sidestep the basics when I took up the fiddle, and am now paying for it with poor tone, bow control and ergonomics.
As a teacher of ITM, I prefer teaching a student who has no previous background in music than somebody who has played non-ITM or "learned the basics" before coming to my lessons. That way I don’t have to work on changing anything, and they don’t have to un-learn "bad" habits. I joined the OAIM for several months, to check out their programs, resources etc and I was very impressed. I think it would be a good resource for any beginner who doesn’t have a local teacher.
As a teacher, you have the opportunity to teach the instrument hand-in-hand with Irish technique, which is ideal. The same may not apply to an OAIM tutorial.
I think the point is "learning the basics" is not universal, Ailin. It’s a valid response.
I disagree, Ben. If you don’t know how to play, what will you sound like, even if you can perform a roll?
You lost me, Ailin. If someone does not know how to play how, or even why, did they start with a roll?
That’s not how the beginning lessons work on OAIM.
Check out Steph Geremia’s basics ~ https://www.oaim.ie/flute/flute-basics/
I already stated that it depends on how the lessons are structured. Many I have seen play a tune and then break down how to play it in the traditional style. Very helpful if you know the basics; not so much if you are still struggling to play Mary Had A Little Lamb. If the lesson can get a beginning student started on their chosen instrument, I have no objection. I made my statement as a caution, not a rule.
There is what seems to me to be an obvious answer to the concern that "At least some of the OAIM tutorials focus only on Irish technique as opposed to rudiments of music in general or how to even develop basic skill on the instrument in question." Namely - if someone is a complete beginner, they should, if they are going down the OAIM road, take those courses and lessons aimed at complete beginners. Isn’t that obvious?
The courses and lessons are all clearly graded and set out in levels. They might perhaps take the complete beginners’ course for their chosen instrument then leave for a period of time before tackling something labelled "foundations", let alone "intermediate" or "advanced".
And another thing - somebody said "You have to make a start in a particular genre …" Absolutely. Speaking as a would-be flute player, everything from the most essential, basic things, even before you tackle Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star, upwards is coloured by the genre. First make a noise, learn to get a sound from your first attempt to play a note - any note! A, perhaps. At THIS point, the sound you are aiming at and the embouchure you are trying to develop as a trad player is different from the sound/embouchure of someone who hopes one day to play classical or jazz. Or follow in the footsteps of Ian Anderson! (Shall I get my coat now?)
Whats the difference Alex?
Im a begining flute player. I struggled for ages just to get a sound, i can get a sound and play a bit but ive not started playing tunes yet. Still scales etc , intermittant for a year. Which basic position was and still is of interest , classical Indian or classical european pipers grip or the claw as i call it.
Alex, don’t go. You’re welcome here.
Weird. I wrote a reply to Will hours ago, pointing out that we are aiming at different sounds right from the beginning, illustrated with literary flourishes, ornaments, and reasoned argument. Musta presta rong butn. Hey ho.
Thanks for your welcome, AB 🙂
Ok thanks Alex, i know the sound id like to aim for, aspire towards
But i dont know anything about other styles or sound choices
But that playing there is awesome …
I think their deal is very fair and transparent. You can desubscribe at any time if it doesn’t suit you.
I have piano, harp and until recently, flute lessons from teachers who are classically trained. So they don’t know the idioms of say, ITM ornamentation, phrasing etc. and they don’t naturally use the aural method of teaching. This insight is what I get from OAIM, and yes of course you have to adapt some ingrained habits. But it’s the same if you go from classical to jazz piano, or even between playing baroque to romantic period music on an instrument. It would be a shame if when you learn an instrument you shouldn’t learn a new style for fear of not sounding authentic enough!
When you subscribe to OAIM you have access to all the instrumental and voice tutorials, plus online simple social music making. Extremely good value I say. Just not enough time to take advantage of it all!
Yes, Will, that is an impressive clip.
Basically all I was trying to say earlier is that the dark, buzzy, creamy, reedy sound we love here is different from the bright clarity beloved of the orchestral players, and that the sooner we work on developing it the better.
Personally I find the ornamentation in that clip is so thick that it’s hard to judge the tone of the flute and its playing, especially as there is quite a bit of echo and the string sound as well. It’s obviously at least good, but more than that is difficult to say.
Though I should add that in these matters my opinion carries very little weight compared to some others both here and over at C&F.
I’ve been using the Online Academy of Irish Music for over 5 years, and I’ve taken over half a dozen courses for 3 different instruments. So to clear up any misconceptions:
1. There is most certainly feedback. It’s not instant feedback, and it can be hit and miss in regards of how much depth you’re looking for, but there is a forum dedicated to questions and concerns regarding playing technique and sound.
2. All of the courses are leveled, and to my knowledge, the course descriptions explain whether or not the course is suitable for entry-level(absolute beginner) musicians.
3. The perks of having a online tutor are actually pretty extensive. You can take notes without worrying about taking up valuable lesson time; you can always go back to the video if you missed anything; the courses have PDF’s and recordings of the tunes from the lesson available for download; you have access to a community of other learners, teachers, and tutors; and you have access to your lessons from anywhere you can get an internet connection.