O'Flaherty Irish Music Youth Camp

2017 Classes

How to Choose Your Child’s Classes

New to the Youth Camp? Here’s how this works:
We need you to choose one class for your child from each of the groups of classes listed below. We will fill out the rest of your child’s schedule based on the choices you make from each of these groups. Click on the title to open each class description.

Choose:
one Instrument Class
one Tune Tussle Group (Performance Group)
one class during Elective Period 1
(2-3:15 PM Monday)
one class during Elective Period 2 (4:50-5:30 PM Monday)
one class during Elective Period 3 (10-11:15 AM Tuesday)
one class during Elective Period 4 (1-2 PM Tuesday)

Then you can tell us whether you plan on staying for the Monday night events. Some families stay for them, others choose to go home when classes are finished at 5:30. If you wish to stay for the Monday night events, please sign up for those so we know how many people to expect.

We suggest writing down your class choices from this page, then go to the “Register” page and click on the link there. That will take you to our registration program where you can enter your family information and choose the classes. If you have any questions about the classes or problems with registration, please call Clare Cason at 903 364 5185.

Please notice that there are minimum ages for the basic classes in several instruments. Our Introduction to Irish Music class is set up with shorter class periods, and is the best choice for a 6-year-old child.

Instrument Classes

(click to view descriptions)

Foundations of Irish Music-- Tunes and Tales for Little Ears (ages 6-8)

A fun and interactive introduction to the basic elements of music in general, as well as how these relate to traditional Irish music. Children will have fun while learning the basic elements of rhythm, melody and harmony through engaging group activities such as marching, playing instruments, dancing and singing. There will also be some down time for activities like storytelling. Children may bring their own instruments, if they play one, and use them to explore the elements taught in the class and learn a simple Irish tune. Traditional Irish music will be used as the basis for the activities where appropriate.

Basic Irish Fiddle ages 7-10


An introduction to Irish fiddling for very young fiddlers. The class will be oriented toward learning simple traditional Irish melodies on the fiddle with emphasis on rhythm and learning by ear. The student will learn one or two traditional Irish fiddle tunes over the two-day camp. The ability to play the violin at a beginning level is a prerequisite. The student will probably have been playing the violin regularly for one year or more.  Students should be at least in the second half of Suzuki Book 1, or equivalent.  We ask that students who have not participated in this class before, submit a short video of their playing so we can make sure they’ll feel comfortable in this class. Contact Clare Cason through the “Contact Us” link to find out more about this. Students must bring their own instruments and recording devices for class.

Basic Irish Fiddle ages 11-17

A “hands-on” introduction to Irish fiddling for older children and teenagers. The goal of the course will be for the student to learn simple traditional Irish melodies on the fiddle with emphasis on rhythm, learning by ear and with an introduction to Irish ornamentation. The student will learn two or three traditional Irish fiddle tunes over the two-day camp. The ability to play the violin at a beginning level is a prerequisite. The student will probably have been playing the violin regularly for one year, or maybe slightly less in the case of faster learners. Being able to play slurred bowings, and both low and high 2nd finger are prerequisites for this class. Students must bring their own instruments and recording devices for class.

Intermediate Irish Fiddle Ages 7-11

This course will consist of “hands-on” instruction in Irish fiddling for elementary school age fiddle/violin students who have been playing for two or three years. The goal of the course will be for the student to learn two or three traditional Irish fiddle tunes as well as the essential rhythmic and stylistic elements of Irish fiddling. Emphasis will be placed on learning by ear and on exposing the student to the various types of rhythms found in Irish music (reel, jig, hornpipe, polka etc.) Students enrolling for this class should have reached a level of comfort with the instrument that allows them to play with some speed and facility.  Students must bring their own instruments and recording devices for class.

Intermediate Irish Fiddle Ages 12-17


This course will consist of “hands-on” instruction in Irish fiddling for teenage and young adult fiddle/violin students who have been playing for two or three years. The goal of the course will be for the student to learn five or six traditional Irish fiddle tunes as well as the essential rhythmic and stylistic elements of Irish fiddling. Emphasis will be placed on learning by ear and on exposing the student to the various types of rhythms found in Irish music (reel, jig, hornpipe, polka etc.) Students enrolling for this class should have reached a level of comfort with the instrument that allows them to play with some speed and facility.  Students must bring their own instruments and recording devices for class.

Advanced Irish Fiddle


The advanced fiddle course is for Irish fiddle students who have been playing the violin for four or more years and already have a good general knowledge of Irish fiddle techniques and ornamentation. The goal of the course will be for the student to learn several advanced traditional Irish tunes while refining their understanding of Irish ornamentation and bowing techniques.  Emphasis will be placed on learning by ear and learning to play in an authentic Irish style. Students must bring their own instruments and a recording device.

Irish Tinwhistle for Beginners (aged 7 and up)


As of April 27, this class is now full. If you missed the opportunity to sign up, Please contact us and let us know of your interest. We can put you on a waiting list for the class, in case someone else in the class is unable to attend the camp, or if there is enough interest we may be able to open another section of the class.
This class is for those just beginning to play the whistle. The student will learn basic notes on the whistle, plus a simple traditional Irish tune over the two-day camp.
  Students must bring their own instruments and recording devices for class (whistles will be available for purchase for $8-$15 prior to class, at the product table in the lobby). This class will be limited to five students.

Irish Tinwhistle/Flute Basic Skills


This class is for those with some experience on the tinwhistle or flute– for example, 1-2 years of lessons, or the ability to play 3-15 tunes. Students will learn new tunes and work on basic skills related to playing the whistle or flute. All students should bring their own instruments and recording devices for class.

Irish Tinwhistle/Flute Intermediate


This course is designed for those with four or more years of prior instruction in Irish flute/tin whistle playing. The goal of the course will be for the student to learn five or six traditional Irish tunes as well as the essential rhythmic and stylistic elements of Irish flute playing. Emphasis will be placed on learning by ear and on exposing the student to the various types of rhythms found in Irish music (reel, jig, hornpipe, polka etc.). Students must bring their own instruments and recording devices for class.

Irish Guitar


This course will consist of “hands-on” instruction in Irish guitar playing for students who already play the guitar. The goal of the course will be for the student to learn to accompany four or five traditional Irish  tunes as well as the essential rhythmic and stylistic elements of Irish guitar playing.  Emphasis will be placed on learning by ear and on exposing the student to the various types of rhythms found in Irish music (reel, jig, hornpipe, polka etc.). The ability to play the guitar at a beginning level is a prerequisite. The student will probably have been playing the guitar regularly for one year, or maybe slightly less in the case of faster learners. The student should already be able to play the basic major and minor chords on the guitar in the keys of D and G.  Students must bring their own instruments and recording devices for class.

Basic Irish Harp

This course will consist of “hands-on” instruction in Irish harp playing. Beginners will learn basic harp technique and approach to the instrument, and those who have been playing a little longer will work on adding more elements of Irish harp playing according to their playing level. Students age 7 and up are welcome in this class. For those who do not own a harp but would like to try the instrument, it may be possible to rent one for the camp. Contact us by May 1st to discuss the availability of a rental instrument.

Intermediate Irish Harp


This course will consist of “hands-on” instruction in Irish harp playing. The goal of the course will be for intermediate harp students to learn to play three or four traditional tunes as well as the essential rhythmic and stylistic elements of Irish harp playing. Emphasis will be placed on learning by ear and on exposing the student to the various types of rhythms found in Irish music (reel, jig, hornpipe, polka etc.).

Basic Irish Piano

This course will consist of “hands-on” instruction in Irish piano playing for students who already play the piano. The goal of the course will be for the student to accompany one or more Irish tunes, by learning to play basic chord progressions in some of the keys and rhythms commonly encountered in Irish music.  Emphasis will be placed on understanding the structure of the tune being accompanied, and learning to play in a group with other musicians.  This level of the class is for those players who have not had much prior exposure to chordal and accompanimental playing. Students will need to bring a portable keyboard to class. (Those who do not have one can often find one to borrow for the camp, by asking around among friends or fellow piano students!)

Intermediate Irish Piano


This course is for students who are already familiar with basic chord progressions in the keys of D, G, A, e minor, and a minor (see “placement test” below).  The class will focus on learning to accompany two to four different Irish tunes, with some discussion of how to create variety in one’s accompanimental playing.  Emphasis will be placed on learning by ear and on exposing the student to the various types of rhythms found in Irish music (reel, jig, hornpipe, polka etc.).  Students must bring their own instruments and recording devices for class. How do I know if my child should be in the Basic or Intermediate piano class?   We will be able to assess your child’s playing and help place him or her in the appropriate class level when they arrive at the camp.  But for now, you could use this as a “placement test”:  if you show your child a series of chord symbols, do they know how to read those and create a smooth chord progression with one note in their left hand and a three-note chord in the right hand?
Here are some sample progressions using chords typically found in Irish music: A G A E A
G C D G Am Em Am G C D G

If your child has no current knowledge of the chords those single letters represent, or understands how to create the chords but struggles with moving smoothly from one to another, then the Basic Piano class will be most helpful to him.  Students who already feel comfortable playing progressions such as those above, will be able to benefit from the Intermediate class. Students will need to bring a portable keyboard to class. (Those who do not have one can often find one to borrow for the camp, by asking around among friends or fellow piano students.)

Irish Mandolin/Tenor Banjo/ Bouzouki


This course will consist of “hands-on” instruction in Irish playing for students who already have some mandolin, tenor banjo, or bouzouki experience. The goal of the course will be for the student to learn the essential picking, rhythmic and stylistic elements of Irish playing on these instruments. The student will also learn to play several Irish melodies by ear with sheet music distributed after classes. The student’s ability to play their instrument at a beginning level is a prerequisite. Students must bring their own instruments and recording devices for class.

Bodhrán


An introduction to Irish percussion playing on the traditional Irish frame drum, the bodhrán. The classes will emphasize basic bodhrán technique as well as the general rhythmic elements common in Irish music including the basic dance rhythms (jig, reel and hornpipe). Students do not need to have any prior experience, but they must be at least eight years old to enroll in this class. Our instructor this year, Albert Alfonso, is a well-known bodhrán maker; he is usually able to bring a selection of drums that students who do not own a drum may use while they are in his class. Please contact us if you need help with this. A recording device is also recommended.

Tune Tussle Groups (Performance Groups)

Tune Tussle: Group Choice


This activity is perhaps the most popular of all camp activities. This is a chance for campers to use what they have learned in their classes to have fun and to create and perform a five-minute show for their friends and parents. Each camper who registers for the Tune Tussle will be assigned to a team. The team will meet three times (under the supervision of an instructor) to create and rehearse their show. Then all the teams will present their performances at the end of the day on Tuesday. The show can consist of any appropriate music or skits relevant to Irish music that the team would like to present. A panel of judges will preside over the performances and award each team a unique “title” at the conclusion of the show.

Tune Tussle: Dance Focus


Taking place during the Tune Tussle class times, this group will work with an instructor to learn an Irish social dance (kids dancing together in a group) to perform at the end of camp. This is a great activity for those students who enjoy dance, and would like a more in-depth dance experience in addition to the “Introduction to Irish Social Dance” class.

Tune Tussle: Gaelic Singing


Students in this group will cover some of the basics of pronouncing Gaelic, then learn one or two Gaelic songs as a group, to be performed at the end of camp. No prior Gaelic singing experience necessary.

Tune Tussle: Drama


The coach of this group, Braden Russell, will be writing a short play for the students about something to do with Irish history, folklore, or culture. This is a great choice for students who enjoy drama.

Electives and Other Activities

Elective Period 1 (Monday 2-3:15 PM)

An Introduction to Irish social dancing ages 7-10


During this activity a dance leader will direct the group in a simple Irish “ceili” dance. Campers will learn the basic idea of dance as a way to socialize and have fun with movement and music, a basic foundation of traditional Irish culture.

An Introduction to Irish social dancing ages 11-17


During this activity a teacher of Irish social dance will lead the group in several simple Irish “ceili” dances. Campers will learn the basic idea of dance as a way to socialize and have fun with movement and music, a basic foundation of traditional Irish culture. Since so much Irish music was written to accompany dancing, having some exposure to the dance also helps students understand the important rhythmic features of the music they are playing.

Monday afternoon slow session 1 and Monday afternoon faster session 1


A “session” is an informal group music-making experience which is the foundation of Irish musical culture. The participating musicians take turns suggesting and starting tunes, and those who know that tune join in and play along. It’s both a social event and a musical one, and provides a great way to gain more experience playing Irish tunes in a fun and supportive environment.
Slow sessions are great for those who are beginners on their instrument, or for more advanced players who may not know much Irish music yet (it can be easier to pick up a tune by ear if it’s being played slowly). Faster sessions are great for more advanced players who know some Irish music or want to try to pick it up even when played fast. Or they’re fun just to listen to!

Games


We’ll have a staff member who is trained in leading fun group games. This is a great opportunity for a break and some physical activity for students, especially those 11 and under who may need some down time from intensive learning. Obviously the dancing during this period will provide physical activity also, but since dancing is not every student’s cup of tea, we wanted to provide an alternative for some students.

Elective Period 2 (Monday 4:50-5:30 PM)

Instrument Demonstrations

Here campers can spend some time learning in just a little bit of depth about an instrument that they might be interested in playing.  The following demonstrations will be available:
button accordion/concertina
Irish fiddle for non-fiddlers
whistle/flute for non-whistlers
harp
uilleann pipes (the Irish form of bagpipes)
bodhrán
mandolin and banjo
Each demonstration will be 20 minutes long and will be repeated back to back.  They will be held in adjacent rooms so campers can view two or more instruments during the 40 minute time slot from 4:50-5:30 on Monday afternoon.

Monday afternoon slow session 2 and Monday afternoon faster session 2


A “session” is an informal group music-making experience which is the foundation of Irish musical culture.  The participating musicians take turns suggesting and starting tunes, and those who know that tune join in and play along. It’s both a social event and a musical one, and provides a great way to gain more experience playing Irish tunes in a fun and supportive environment.
Slow sessions are great for those who are beginners on their instrument, or for more advanced players who may not know much Irish music yet (it can be easier to pick up a tune by ear if it’s being played slowly). Faster sessions are great for more advanced players who know some Irish music or want to try to pick it up even when played fast. Or they’re fun just to listen to!

Games


We’ll have a staff member who is trained in leading fun group games. This is a great opportunity for a break and some physical activity for students, especially those 11 and under who may need some down time from intensive learning.

Elective Period 3 (Tuesday 10-11:15 AM)

Gaelic Football


This class will serve as a brief introduction to the Irish team sport Gaelic football. Gaelic football, the most popular sport in Ireland, is a cousin of soccer, but involves a lot more use of the hands in moving the ball. The time that we have won’t allow the learning of the entire game, but it will be a nice time to get outside and have some fun trying out some of the skills involved in these sports. We plan to give the younger children their own Gaelic football activity, so they won’t be competing against the older students.
If you’d like to see more of what Gaelic football is like, here is a short video describing the game: http://youtu.be/TEAbWrdB9XU
If you watch this, just be aware that these are high-level players– we will be engaging in much lower-impact activities related to the game!
ADVISORY TO PARENTS: we have scheduled this activity at 10 AM, but since the camp is in the summer, even at that hour it will be HOT out on the field. If you think this will be uncomfortable or hazardous for your child, please choose one of the indoor activities during this time slot.

Tuesday morning slow session and Tuesday morning faster session


A “session” is an informal group music-making experience which is the foundation of Irish musical culture. The participating musicians take turns suggesting and starting tunes, and those who know that tune join in and play along. It’s both a social event and a musical one, and provides a great way to gain more experience playing Irish tunes in a fun and supportive environment.
Slow sessions are great for those who are beginners on their instrument, or for more advanced players who may not know much Irish music yet (it can be easier to pick up a tune by ear if it’s being played slowly). Faster sessions are great for more advanced players who know some Irish music or want to try to pick it up even when played fast. Or they’re fun just to listen to!

Games


We’ll have a staff member who is trained in leading fun group games. This is a great opportunity for a break and some physical activity for students, especially those 11 and under who may need some down time from intensive learning. If Gaelic football doesn’t sound fun and you need a break from music, this is the activity for you!

Elective Period 4 (Tuesday 1-2 PM)

Chat with Dylan Foley


On Tuesday afternoon, our special guest instructor Dylan Foley will spend some time with the whole camp. He will be speaking about a subject related to Irish music, hopefully playing a few tunes for us, and taking questions from the students. A great opportunity to get to know a wonderful musician. This activity is probably more suitable for our older students.

Games


We’ll have a staff member who is trained in leading fun group games. This is a great opportunity for a break and some physical activity for students, especially those 11 and under who may need some down time from intensive learning.

Monday Evening Activities (optional)

Pizza Supper


This will take place from 5:30 to 6:30 PM, and is free to students and parents. Additional family or friends may come also, for $8 apiece (you can pay for this when you check your child in at the camp).

Instructor Concert


The camp instructors will play a concert for students and parents, of about 40 minutes in length. Feel free to invite other family, friends, and neighbors who might enjoy it! (There is no charge for the concert.)

Sessions


Students will have a chance to play tunes in a group with other students and instructors. We will have both a slow and a faster session to accommodate different playing levels. The slow session will probably include some non-Irish tunes (like Cotton-Eyed Joe or Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star) to give students a chance to have fun in a group even if they don’t know many Irish tunes yet!

Parents say…

Can’t wait for next year! My son said, “It was fun, but you were also learning.”
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