2 years in

2 years in

Hi all,

It’s been about 2 years since I started with the tin whistle, and a bit of time since I posted anything. I thought I’d share a few links of my playing (and ask for feedback if anyone feels so inclined - As I’m self taught, I’m sure I’m probably forming some bad habits, so feel free to give any pointers). I know I’ve still got a long way to go, but I’m enjoying the journey so far 🙂

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=BEdTWzevPMo


https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=9gKJtcGfdDU


https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=vnJbiKIrz5s


I’ve also started to include the whistle on some of my home studio recordings:

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=4GZ892Zl22s


https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=TPD-4-R4Nh0


https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=m8QCsV3xR08

Re: 2 years in

Really lovely on the slow tunes! On the Butterfly, it sounds like you are articulating nearly ever note with the tongue which sounds a bit off to me. Perhaps consider playing around with more of a mix of tongued and slurred notes. Much easier to demonstrate what I’m suggesting in a couple of minutes on a Zoom call than to explain in text. I have a free tin whistle open-format group class every Monday from 5-7 PM Pacific time on Zoom, happy to show you some ideas.

If you are interested, the Zoom link and class info is at: http://michaeleskin.com/whistle

Re: 2 years in

Thank you Michael! I’ll try to make it to one of your classes. Thanks for the invite!

Re: 2 years in

Well done you - that’s great for 2 years self-taught.

Only suggestion - get a teacher if you can. You obviously have the passion and abilities - I think you will find a good teacher amplifies all your positives and steers you along a more certain pathway.

Best wishes

Re: 2 years in

Thanks gbyrne, very encouraging. I think you’re spot on in that I really need someone who can sit with me while I play and say, “Here try this…”

I’m making my way through the OAIM material, but there’s really no substitute for that one on one feedback.

Anyone have any suggestions for reasonable one on one lessons via zoom?

Re: 2 years in

I think The Butterfly is fine. Your ornaments flow naturally and the articulation is spot on. I’d love to hear some dance tunes.

Posted by .

Re: 2 years in

Thanks Ailin!

Next video will be a Haunted House/My Darling Asleep/Club Ceili set. 🙂

Re: 2 years in

I would suggest you try to keep your fingers a bit closer to the whistle. When you move them so far out, they have a further distance to go back down again. And slow down on the "Butterfly", the rhythm’s not there at the moment. But for someone only 2 years in, you’re doing very well. Keep at it.

Posted by .

Re: 2 years in

Thanks Kenny! Good advice.

Re: 2 years in

Don’t know much about the whistle but your playing sounds excellent to a non-whistler. Your home recordings sound very professionally mixed and mastered. I think the whistle in the songs adds quit a bit to the tracks. Kudos

Re: 2 years in

I agree with Kenny. On the fast tunes you tend to take your fingers off a long way. That way of fingering doesn’t matter too much with slower tunes like Sidh Beag Sidh Mor, but for the faster tunes it will help the rhythm if you keep your fingers a bit closer. Overall it’s pretty good for only two years playing, though.

Re: 2 years in

I also agree regarding fingers. The way to control that is to slow down so you can learn what it feels like to only move your fingers a little. Once you’ve got the muscle memory you can start to speed up little by little. I see the same thing with some guitar players (being my field) when trying to flat pick things a little too much out of their comfort zone.
Remember that feel is more important than speed.
But it’s sounding good.

Re: 2 years in

I agree with all of the above. The slow tunes are great (personally, I prefer Sí Beag Sí Mor a tad slower – but that might just be me). The Butterfly needs work on the rhythm. There are various factors that will help with this (many of which have been addressed):
i. Keeping the fingers closer to the holes allows you more control over timing
ii. More varied articulation – combinations of slurring and tonguing – enables you to give the rhythm more definition.
iii. Tighter finger articulations (see i.) – the rolls you use in the first part are a little ‘sluggish’ and upset the rhythmic flow a bit. Think of rolls, cuts and taps like tapping out a rhythm on a tabletop (sort of – sometimes it involves lifting a finger rather than tapping it).

But that’s two years very well spent, Mr. Schmitt.

Re: 2 years in

That’s awesome! Really nice work!

I couldn’t ever get along with whistles like that. It’s definitely a specialized talent.

Re: 2 years in

Sounding good. The 2 most obvious things are to keep your fingers closer to the whistle so you aren’t wasting time and energy lifting them so far up, and to work on finger articulation (that being cuts, taps, and rolls).

Re: 2 years in

Thank you all for taking the time to listen and give that feedback!

Re: 2 years in

Amazing progress for 2 years.

One very minor tip it’s worth thinking about is I noticed you currently keep your little finger of the right hand raised and put your third finger on the right hand down on/near the last hole when you need balance (e.g. for a C Sharp when all fingers come off).

It’s a personal preference, but a lot of players like to get into the habit of keeping the little finger permanently on the end of the whistle. It means you can keep the whistle balanced at all times between your mouth, thumb (on the back) and little finger, meaning you can remove all other fingers (e.g. C sharp) without any change in fingering/balance needed + supposedly makes your fingering slightly faster.

I’ve converted to this and really like it as a method, but lots of whistle players don’t keep their little finger on the whistle so up to you 🙂

Re: 2 years in

A habit you have which is unhelpful is (particularly with your right hand), bending your fingers. You don’t need to use the pads of your fingers (all 3) on the holes, just the first and third and let the middle finger go where it wants (somewhere on the joint). (Piper’s grip). It makes things far easier and increases your accuracy. Plus you really need to if you want to play low whistle.

Lifting fingers too high. someone mentioned already.

I only listened to one of your tunes fully. you don’t need too many ornaments in the butterfly, and you actually execute your rolls pretty well. tho i probably wouldn’t put the one in the first part where you put it (I’d go for a well-ececuted cut); remember that ornaments are primarily a rhythmic thing.

Actually, learning when to deploy ornaments is a lifelong thing. And the ‘simple tunes’ particularly are ironically the hardest to ornament tastefully. ATM, i’m working on ornaments in jigs. when playing solo you realise that everything needs structure, and just throwing tongued rolls and cranns everywhere there’s room just sounds naff.