In the weekend of the 24th and 25th of September 2016, irishtradmusic.nl organised the second Dutch Irish traditional concertina workshop. Together with the help of concertina players Jacqueline van Hoogenhuyze and Ellen Lagerwerf, the venue in Oud-Beijerland set the stage for two days of concertina playing and learning!
Like last year, the well-known and respected concertina player Jack Talty from County Clare was set to teach the group over the course of the two days. Also booked was Cormac Begley, but unfortunately he was not able to make it to the workshop due to unforeseen circumstances. So it was up to Jack this time to take the group of 9 concertina players under his wings and teach them everything there is to know about concertina’s!
The group of participants was certainly an eager group and it was nice to see both familiar faces from the previous year as well as new ones! It was also nice to see that people travelled as far as Germany to get to this workshop, and irishtradmusic certainly appreciates the effort on making it to the workshop. There was a wide variety of experience amongst the groups, with some people playing only for two months and others for many years. This posed no problem for Jack’s teaching though, as he was able to address issues in music playing at all levels.
During the weekend, several tunes were learnt to the class using a mix of ‘learning by ear’ and written notation. The first tune was the jig ‘Edward the Seventh’, known from the recording of Seamus Quinn and Gary Hastings. Once the basic outline of the tune was learnt, more things were added to the tune to embellish it. By demonstrating and practicing various ornaments and such, each student could add things to the tune at his or her level.
Due to the room in the venue, it was also possible to split the group and have small break-out sessions where people could practice a bit of the material in small groups. This made it possible for Jack to focus on a smaller number of students at time and cater the lesson to that groups needs.
On the Saturday evening, after the group went out for a well-deserved dinner, a session was had where the concertina group and some friends joined together for some tunes. It’s a great way to end a day of concentration and hard work and to prepare for another day of that!
It has been a pleasure for us to organise this event here in The Netherlands again. Judging from the reactions of both the teacher and students, we are in good shape to have a third edition next year! If you are interested in taking part in a concertina workshop, don’t hesitate to contact firstname.lastname@example.org.