The Classes

Classes are held each morning and afternoon, Monday to Friday in the island’s arts centre Aras Eanna.

Classes cater for all playing levels and we have a special stream for complete beginners who start to play on the island.

Students are separated into  different groups based on their playing ability.
Based on their self rating, and the need to have manageable class sizes, students will be allocated to a particular grouping with those of a similar standard and ability
Students will normally remain with that group for the week, although if either a student or a teacher feels an individual would be more suited to an easier or more challenging level, then movement to another group can be arranged if this is approved by the Craiceann Team.

Each learning group will be located in a separate room, and teachers will rotate through the groups. The beginners group will be taught by the same teacher for the first half of the week and then get exposure to the other teachers for the second half of the week. Pupils may like to bring a recording device, but will be expected to ask each tutors permission before using this during class. As well as the structured daily classes Monday thro’ Friday classes, on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday evenings there will also be classes where each student can choose to attend the a particular tutor.  Some of these evening classes will have specific themes and others will be more free-form where topics can be decided by student/tutor agreement.

Please refer to the information below for your self rating

Please read the descriptions of the four different levels and choose the one that is closest to your abilities when signing up for Craiceann!

Self assessment - Description of levels

Beginners is for beginners, i.e. people who are picking up a bodhrán for the first time and for people who have owned a bodhrán for a long time but have never really played under instruction. We deal with the posture of the instrument, learn the playing technique from scratch and deal intensively with the rhythmic differences in Irish music (emphasis on reel and jig).

Student Characteristics

  • Absolute beginners
  • No drum experience whatsoever

Basic is for “experienced beginners” who already have basic knowledge and playing experience. We deepen the different playing techniques and focus on rhythmic security in the accompaniment of jigs, reels etc..
We also experiment with the sound variations of the bodhrán and bring the skin hand further into play.

Student Characteristics

  • Beginner level drummers
  • Little experience on the drum

Standards for This Level

  • Basic understanding of alternating strokes
  • Basic understanding of simple voicing patterns
  • Able to demonstrate an understanding of reel and jig patterns with difficulty
  • Unable to demonstrate proficiency in accompanying reels and jigs

Competent is for those who can at least accompany jigs and reels with confidence. We look at other, increasingly complex Irish rhythms and coordinate strumming and skin hand.

Student Characteristics

  • intermediate level drummer
  • moderate session experience
  • Maybe some prior instructional experience (i.e., workshops and/or private lessons)
  • Good understanding of reels and jigs

Standards for This Level

  • Able to demonstrate reels and jigs with decent feel and tempo
  • Demonstrates a sensitivity to the sections of a tune (i.e., variation between sections, “playing the tune,” sensitivity to the melody player’s changes in dynamics)
  • Adequate control over basic pitch changes of the drum
  • Uses a wider vocabulary of sounds when playing

Advanced is for people with a lot of experience and great skill on the bodhrán. We look at sound variations (melody, bass line), more complex grooves and may take a closer look at music from outside Ireland …

Student Characteristics

  • Student is competent in a session setting
  • Student may perform with his or her own ensemble
  • May have had numerous lesson and workshop experiences

Standards for This Level

  • Student must be able to demonstrate proficiency with:
    • Control of rhythm
    • Accents vs. unaccented noted in rhythms
    • Demonstrating a vocabulary of voicing beyond open, mute, and “pop”
    • Performing reels, jigs, polkas, and slipjigs with recorded music or a live musician
  • Student is adept with tipping and voicing skills
  • Student can tune his or her drum very quickly to an appropriate tuning
  • Student demonstrates proficiency with double ended triplets