What would you like to learn? Why?
AS part of the assessment for this semester’s course, I have been asked to learn something new to NGL and by using NGL.
As an avid musician with a penchant for folk music and playing the fiddle, I am always interested in learning a few new tunes. So I have set a goal of learning a new reel ‘In the Tap Room’ and perhaps a second ‘Over the Moor to Maggie’ using NGL.
While trying to come up with a learning goal for this course, I was shocked to realise how much learning traditional Irish music is actually suited to NGL. Unlike many other forms of music, Irish music is predominately learned by ear, and in an ideal world, to be learnt from the masters/or greats, or through attending sessions (like the music groups playing in pubs) where you can learn how and where to play the variations in particular Irish tunes. While notation is available for Irish tunes online or in books, it is very basic and does not adequately capture the traditional variations, rhythms and lilts required to play the tunes authentically. Of course, like all art forms, the “proper way” to play a tune is certainly a subjective concept. However, without being able to fly to Ireland and book in with a certified Irish fiddle teacher, I am keen to look closer at what I can access and harness in the NGL space to learn tunes and how to play them in an authentic style/manner.
While I already play some Irish music, I know that there are many more tunes I can learn and there is also much more to master in terms of ‘Irish fiddle technique’.
The biggest barrier I face at the moment, is not yet having explored, to a great extent, the online and collaborative (NGL) possibilities available to help me to learn these two new tunes and improve my technique.
I hope that through breaking down and making public my learning process through this exercise, I will be able to help many other existing and budding Irish musicians and fiddle players out there who are also learning tunes and trying to improve their playing.
What is learning?
The article: Ladders, Learning and Lessons from Charlie: exploring the potential of public click pedagogy by Chris Bigum & Leonie Rowan, talks about the process of learning as Climbing a Ladder, with the many rungs, being the learning steps towards mastery.
I like this metaphor for learning. In this exercise, I look forward to breaking down and making public the ‘rungs” or different stages I go through in learning Irish tunes.