Why Should I Learn to Play Music?
If you knew tomorrow’s winning lottery
numbers, you could become rich! But none of us can predict the future,…
right? Well, not exactly. There are some things we can predict because
they are bound to be that way, for example:
All learning takes time
Everyone gets older
Prediction: if you want to become skillful
at something, you will be older by the time you attain that goal. Another
way to think of this is, you could already be enjoying doing something
well today if you started learning yesterday.
It’s unfortunate that so many people live
out their lives without fully realizing their potential talents. Ask
yourself how many different things you can do with your hands? Most people
know how to do a variety of manual chores, but are they very interesting?
Do your hands work well together? Do you just push, pull and hold things
(or drop them as the case may be), or do you use your fingers
independently, performing tasks that challenge your limits? Do the results
satisfy you, and are you proud to show off to others?
Good moves aren’t all about accurate
location, but they must happen at the right time. Learning to play music
is a great way to develop your hands by practicing finger positioning and
timing, as well as expressive feeling. Hearing is exercised as well, and
who doesn’t benefit from becoming a better listener? Finally learning
music gives your short term memory a workout. It seems too good to be
true, but all of these things will improve from playing music, and
you’ll have fun at the same time!
Remember, all learning takes time. Don’t
be put off if you can’t become a superstar in one afternoon. Musical
ability, like any other skill exists as a continuous spectrum – you’ll
proceed gradually as you build advanced knowledge on top of basic
techniques. The key is repetitive practice, with patience and sensibility.
It’s true that children have an easier time learning than adults, but
don’t make the mistake of saying it’s too late in life to start
something new. If you do, you’ll be saying the same thing five years
later, instead of gaining five years of experience. So, why should I learn
to play music?
For more information about learning to
play Old Time Music, write to firstname.lastname@example.org
or see our contact
School Has Classes In Old Time Music
If you like folk music and think you
might want to learn to play an instrument, the Calliope School offers
group classes for many instruments in many styles, at many levels.
Calliope has been a leader in providing quality instruction in the folk
arts to the Pittsburgh region for over a decade. Classes run three times a
year. Visit the Calliope
School Schedule webpage for the current listings of registration
deadlines and course dates. Register early and get a discount. Online
The following classes in Old Time music
are regularly offered, other courses are listed on the Calliope
website as well. Contact the school for information on what skill
levels are available and for times and dates:
Old Time String Band Ensemble with
Mike Reing. This ensemble class is for fiddlers, banjo players,
guitarists, mandolinists and string bass players who want to learn the
basics of string band performance and have structured practice time with
other musicians. Students should be proficient on their instruments and be
able to learn tunes by ear. The course will focus on both contra dance
repertoire and old-time tunes. If your instrument is not on the list
above, please check with the instructors.
Rhythm Guitar with Charlie Anderson. For guitarists
who have mastered the skills taught in the Guitar I level. Students will
concentrate on more left-hand/right-hand techniques, rhythms, and starting
to explore the guitar.
Clawhammer Banjo with Janet Reing.
Clawhammer style of banjo is a traditional Appalachian mountain style
sometimes called frailing or rapping. Learn the basic right hand technique
while chording songs and playing tunes by ear. Some tablature will also be
available. Students will begin to learn tunes from listening to tapes as
Old Time Fiddle with Mark Tamsula.
Learn to play the fiddle in the Old Time Appalachian style. Novice courses
start from scratch, and the tunes are learned by ear. Beginning to
intermediate levels develop left hand and bowing techniques and build a
repertoire of fun tunes. Fiddle Tunes of SW
Pennsylvania. As you learn more about this music you may become aware
of differences that exist within the Appalachian style, many of which have
come about as regional variations that developed with centuries of
immigration, migration, and local isolation. This course will present a
selection that represents some of the traditional tunes from our region
and hopefully suggest what the "Pennsylvania sound" is like.
Mandolin I with Carol Palmer. This class is for
both the rank beginner and those who have been playing for a while but are
not yet ready for the Mandolin II course. We will cover the basics of
tuning and caring for your mandolin, left and right hand technique and
learn a few simple tunes to play. We will spend some time on exercises and
technique, providing you with the skills needed to play the instrument. We
will also learn to play scales and exercises, basic chords and several
tunes. We will play slowly, focusing on producing good musical tone and
developing muscle memory in your fingers, rather than speed. All music
will be provided in both standard notation and tablature. The only
prerequisite is that you have (or rent) a mandolin, though having an
electronic tuner is also suggested.
Intro to Harmony Singing with Charlie
Anderson. This is a class for those who want to raise their voices in
harmony and learn to sing with others by ear. Basic harmony concepts of
chord-building, chord progressions and part-singing will be introduced and
practiced. All teaching will be done by ear without printed music.
Students should know how to sing with proper technique.
Folk College at Juniata
with Simple Gifts
Folk College is a fun weekend of playing and hearing folk
music. Pack up your instrument (or voice) and head for Juniata College for
a weekend full of workshops, jam sessions, concerts, and group playing.
The event is designed for musicians with eclectic tastes. Within one
weekend, you'll have a choice of workshops ranging from old-timey to
celtic to international, and you'll get to sing, dance, play, and listen.
Musicians of all instruments and levels are welcome, and there are also
choices for non-musicians who want to listen, learn, and experiment with
folk music. Plus, school teachers in Pennsylvania will receive Act 48
This will be a real college experience. All events are
held in college classrooms, and you'll have the option of staying in a
dorm room and eating in the university's dining hall. We hope you'll join
us for a weekend of good times and great music!
Among the many varieties of folk music there you will find
a number of workshops featuring Pennsylvania fiddle tunes.
Juniata College is a beautiful setting in Huntingdon PA, nestled in the
Allegheny Mountains of Central Pennsylvania..
Juniata Folk College
Sponsored by the Huntingdon County Arts Council.
For registration information,
contact: e-mail: email@example.com
Phone: (814) 643-6220
Three women plus twelve instruments equals one good time with Simple
Gifts. This award-winning trio plays everything from lively Irish jigs and
down-home American reels to hard-driving Klezmer frailachs and haunting
Gypsy melodies, spicing the mix with the distinctive rhythms of Balkan
dance music, the lush sounds of Scandinavian twin fiddling, and original
compositions written in a traditional style. The group is comprised of
Rachel Hall (concertina and piano), Linda Littleton (fiddle, hammered
dulcimer, recorders, bowed psaltery), and Karen Hirshon (fiddle, guitar,
mandolin, and more). Band member Linda Littleton is also the founder and
Artistic Director of Folk College.
Fiddlers Workshop Held in June
Since 2002 The North Allegheny Fiddlers have held their Summer workshops
in June. Students’ grades 6-12 fiddle together for a week to learn traditional fiddle tunes.
The workshop is under the direction of
Dennis Morton, a string teacher at North Allegheny for ten years. He is presently teaching at Ingomar and McKnight Elementary
Schools. He also plays with
the North Pittsburgh Philharmonic and the Butler Symphony.
Guest clinician: Mark Tamsula began
fiddling and performing over 23 years ago.
He now plays the old time fiddle, banjo, guitar and mandolin. For
more information about fiddling and his involvement with groups in the
local area check his web site at www.appalachianmusic.net
For many years the old style of
fiddling, has been passed down from generations aurally, or without the
use of written music. Since
most music rehearsed will be played by ear during this workshop students
will work on their memorization skills, but are also encouraged to bring a
tape recorder or video camera to the workshop.
These taped lessons may be beneficial when students are reviewing
their daily lessons at home. Students should be sure to attend all lessons because of the
large amount of music that will be introduced. The workshop will cover a
diverse range of fiddling styles including Scottish, Irish, Cajun, Old
Timey and more. Students
work on improvising simple melodies, bowing techniques, harmonies and ear
On the Saturday following the week long
workshop the students
will participate in an old time jam session.
Students will perform traditional music for parents and friends at
an outside picnic/performance.
Additional summer performances may include Sherwood Oaks and performances
with the North Pittsburgh Philharmonic during their summer concert series.
For more information on registering for
the workshop please visit the North Allegheny website at:
with Simple Gifts
The Greenwood Furnace Folk Gathering is a weekend of music
with plenty of opportunities to share, jam, dance and learn. Musicians of
all levels as well as non-musicians who wish to listen or experiment, or
pick up a dance step or two, are invited to participate in workshops
designed and led by professional instuctors. Saturday evening’s
highlight will be a concert with Simple Gifts followed by a contradance.
View the detailed schedule for more information
Greenwood Furnace State Park is a beautiful state park
located in central PA, between State College and Huntingdon, on the
Mifflin County border.
Sponsored by the Huntingdon County Arts Council and Simple
For registration information,
contact: e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Phone: (814) 643-6220