How to get into an Irish Music Session with confidence.
Take this course and play in Irish sessions instantly. No musical experience needed.
After studying this course you will want to go to an Irish session and sit it to see how it feels. If you want to just go and watch a few times that will work. You can always record the music (with permission) and practise at home before returning ready to play.
You can practise with recorded music as well and the BBC has a very good 'Virtual Session you can use - please google it as I can't put external links here unfortunately.
I NEED TO KNOW IF YOU WANT A FOLLOW UP COURSE ON ANY OF THE INSTRUMENTS PLEASE. THIS IS THE ONLY 'SESSION' COURSE I'VE DONE SO FAR, BUT I WILL MAKE MORE IF YOU MESSAGE ME - IF YOU DON'T I WON'T - SO TELL ME IF YOU WANT MORE!
You will pick it up straight away without needing any music skills. These instruments are easy to play at a basic but effective level and really fun to learn. You will be proud of your achievements and happy with the results.
This is a new course where you learn one simple idea per lecture. You will find it is taught in a friendly and encouraging manner and most importantly is it taught v-e-r-y s-l-o-w-l-y.
'Ben Hewlett is a very experienced music teacher who is able to be very patient and methodical. Each lecture will introduce you to the next rhythm or technique – usually just one new idea and that's it.
You'll know Ben better as a harmonica teacher but he studied Bodhrah and tin whistle in the 1990's with the now very famous Steafan Hannigan and Marc Moggy from Renegade Rhythms. He got so into Bodhran he bought an expensive tuneable drum from Marc and it works better than ever to this day. Ben has played Bodhran in bands and sessions for years and even has a Senheiser bass drum microphone embedded into his drum for live amplified work.
Ben is an experienced teacher and uses his skills to get the message across to you in a clear and concise way.'
This method is very easy for you to pick up the rhythms and techniques as they are repeated over and over again until you have got it. You can even re-run the video if you find it useful.
Imagine how amazing it will feel when you whip out your instruments and play this tune – your friends and family will carry you shoulder high in triumph. Hopefully they don't carry you out of town and dump you in the river, but hey, swimming's good as well.
The health benefits of playing the music are well documented – google it. Playing music makes you smarter they say.
You will have fun on your own and with your friends, and more power to the brain will make you think you are having a good time so it's all good.
The humble egg shaker.
Get yourself a nice heavy one, the contents need to be heavy so they hit the wall with impact.
It's very easy to make one if you don't have one - something like a kinder egg or a food box - anything really will do it.
Find something heavy to go inside and bingo you've got yourself a shaker.
Hold it as shown in the video.
Keep your wrist fused so your arm is pretty much straight.
Move your arm back and forth without stopping.
Emphasise beat 1 for a reel. You can vary it to beats 1 and 3 or even 2 and 4 for a lighter feel.
You can buy them quite cheaply or make them from wood or even bone without too much difficulty.
Put a rubber band on one bone and hold it between your middle and ring fingers very loosely - dangling.
Hold the other one firmly as shown on the video.
Twist it to the right and the left as demonstrated to make the sound.
Playing jigs is easier than reels so that's what I demonstrate in the video.
You will need a bodhran for this part.
Or a tambourine or any frame drum.
Actually you can practice on a hardback book and a pen for the moment.
We are learning to play a reel in this lecture.
4 beats to the bar.
Play beat 1 louder.
A waltz is 3 beats with the heavy accent on beat 1.
A jig is like a fast double waltz and has 6 beats with the accent on beats 1 and 4.
The Dan Moi is another easy instrument to play.
Any jews harp will do although the lip played dan moi are easier in my opinion.
I'm using one in G but anything will do for now.
I get mine from soundforhealth.com - they are really cheap and great fun to play.
Hold it in the left hand and pluck the pointy end with your right thumb pushing it away from you.
BE CAREFUL NOT TO SPIKE YOUR TONGUE.
I'll show you how to play in the video.
Grab yourself a harmonica.
Put your mouth over holes 1 and 2 or even 3 as well and follow the instructions.
You simply breathe out and in the get the chord pattern.
Please watch the video for detailed instructions.
So many different types of spoon are available.
I'm using silver ones here but they don't feel comfortable - I might re-film that with plastic spoons.
Plastic spoons have a better sound to me and are much easier to play so I would recommend trying different types and sizes. I might re-film this with plastic spoons to show how easy they are to play.
Wooden spoons can be great as well.
In this video we learn the roll (across your outstretched fingers) and a decorative flick which can be used as a triplet and works really nicely in jigs.
So that's the course wrapped up.
You should now have enough skills on some of these instruments to go to a session and make some great contributions to the group!
Please let me know how you get on and if there are any follow up or extension ideas (courses) you would like me you do.
Wow, over 16,000 students - you could be next!!
Please note I am your HARMONICA SPECIALIST - that is my main focus.
Please see my copyright policy at the bottom of this page.
I always give current students a 75% discount on everything so if you take one course you are 'in my exclusive discount club' which means I will tell you every month what's new and where the discounts are.
Here's how my courses are categorised in terms of subject, purpose and content. 'Instant' courses are simple tunes; 'Learn Harmonica' is the harmonica encyclopaedia for everyone; 'Bones of the Blues', 'Get Chugging', '101 Blues Riffs', and '60 Sonny Terry Riffs' are the video taught versions of books I've written (you can google them) and the others are all about different techniques.
I also now have a few Celtic music courses for you. My interest in sound and travel has also led me to do some live workshops on English conversation and pronunciation (in Vietnam) and I have written some Udemy courses on that subject.
If you see a course you want but don't have the cash you can talk to me. If you are a student or not earning much I will support you with a lower price, but if you are doing ok you can support me - how's that?
*Ben is the Chairman of the NHL - National Harmonica League in the UK
*Professional Harmonica Instructor since 1996
*Lousy at speelling - getting worse actually so tell me if you see a typo pleese
*Ben qualified as CTABRSM in 2002 (Certificate of Teaching - Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music)
*Certificate of Music Workshop Skills (Goldsmiths University of London) in 1995
*Accredited Diatonic Harmonica Teacher 1993 - HTAB (Harmonica Teachers Accreditation Board, supported by Lee Oskar Harmonicas, the National Harmonica League of UK and the International Harmonica Organisation).
*Ben's teaching business 'HarpsCool' is proud to be 'IN PARTNERSHIP WITH HOHNER'
'Ben Hewlett is one of the UK's most respected harmonica teachers and the UK's most prolific author on harmonica tuition. He will lead you through the ins and outs of harmonica playing through a series of short video lessons. His teaching style is confident, practiced, humorous, skillful, knowledgeable and packed with information in bite sized chunks. Ben is used to teaching all over the world at prestigious harmonica festivals and is delighted to offer his services to you.'
'You'll know Ben better as a harmonica teacher but he also studied Irish Drum - Bodhran - and tin whistle in the 1990's with the now very famous Steafan Hannigan and Marc Moggy from Renegade Rhythms. He got so into Bodhran playing he bought an expensive tuneable drum from Marc and it works better than ever to this day. Ben has played Bodhran in bands and sessions for years and even has a Senheiser bass drum microphone embedded into his drum. Check out his Bodhran teaching on Udemy'
I would recommend using 'Transcribe!' for slowing down and changing the key on my backing tracks - it's free as a trial and well worth a look in my opinion. I also heard Capo is worth a look.
Join/subscribe/follow/friend my FB page to get notifications of live Facebook workshops.
I have been teaching people to play harmonica since 1996 as a full time job. I have started tens of thousands on their way to play the harmonica and I can tell you - it sure beats working!
I believe I was the first person to be a full time harmonica teacher in the UK, there are still very few of us - so there's plenty of room if you want to come and join me.
For the last few years I have been the Chairman of the National Harmonica League (NHL) which supports the UK harmonica players community.
Much of my time is spent writing books with Paul Lennon on how to play the harmonica, there are 20 or so with loads more in the pipeline - we have so many ideas it never stops.
I teach children near home, and with my team at HarpsCool where the team and I give 300 children weekly harmonica lessons.
My YT videos, and their success and feedback, are the reason I am teaching on Udemy; there are millions of hits on the youtube sites and thousands of subscribers. People are kind enough to say how clear the teaching is, and how it's helped them to understand aspects of harmonica playing - at last!
I run workshops at major harmonica festivals including SPAH in the US, the Bristol International Harmonica Festival in the UK, the World Harmonica Festival in Trossingen, Germany - home of Hohner, and the Harmonica Masters Workshops also in Germany.
I even use the harmonica in team building events for many international companies.
Cruise Ships have been part of my teaching life since 2002 and the combination of teaching, performing and travelling is quite a blast. Who knew teaching the harmonica would take me to the Caribbean three times, Africa, Russia, Scandinavia, and Atlantic Europe.
You will often find me performing in various venues and going to jam sessions, and I love playing with interesting groups or sitting on a number when the opportunity arises - that's one of the wonderful things about the harmonica, you can have it in your back pocket and join in with people wherever you are.
So you are in extremely competent and safe hands, so do yourself a favour and try one of my courses - in fact have a free lecture or two to suck it and see - that's a harmonica joke by the way.
Respect and thanks to all the artists for writing and performing these amazing songs that you want to learn.
The Copyright and Rights in Performances (Research, Education, Libraries and Archives) Regulations 2014 (extracts)
"Not more than 5% of a work may be copied under this section by or on behalf of an educational establishment in any period of 12 months, and for these purposes a work, which incorporates another work is to be treated as a single work.
Fair dealing with a work for the purposes of private study does not infringe any copyright in the work.”
Any recordings used in my courses represent less than 5% of the entire work and are already in the public domain on YouTube.
Any written transcriptions are written by me or my team to promote the work and the artist and to facilitate students who want to learn more about their music.
Any audio backing tracks are written and recorded by me or my team to promote the work and the artist and to facilitate students who want to learn more about their music.
If you are a copyright holder and feel I have used too much of your work please contact me on email@example.com or 07973284366 and I will remove whatever you feel is inapropriate without question.