Some of you might already know that all the áthas members also teach Irish music around the Milwaukee area. We're all faculty at the Milwaukee Irish Fest School of Music, the year-round educational arm of the annual August festival. So if you're looking to learn Irish fiddle, bodhrán, or tin whistle from us, the IFSM is a great place to start! Not that we're biased or anything ;)
Why should you learn Irish music?
There are some great services and schools to learn to play an instrument these days, so why choose Irish music as a focus? Besides simply loving the music, of course, which is a fine enough reason. We feel that learning Irish music has certain advantages.
- Ear training: Irish music is primarily an aural tradition, passed along by ear rather than notation. Working through learning a jig or polka using only your ears can greatly help develop your ability to internalize music and pick up melodies by ear. You'll learn to hear musical patterns and how they connect within and between tunes.
- Playing music with others: Irish sessions are great ways to play music with other musicians. They're basically social gatherings where tunes are played, not necessarily meant to be performances. Not to mention they're good excuses to hang out with friends who also play the music. As you learn more tunes and become more confidant playing them, you'll be able to participate in sessions around the world.
- Tradition: regardless of your own family's heritage, you'll be part of keeping Irish traditional music alive for future generations. This music is very much a living tradition -- it's evolving, innovating, and being played in a variety of contexts from informal sessions to performance stages. You'll get to be part of that and add to Irish music's continuation.
So that's our pitch! The band is also happy to teach group workshops, lead sessions, or just talk about Irish music. Feel free to ask us any questions you might have about learning Irish music!