SUNDAYS: AUG 30th (w/special guest, Muireann Nic Amhlaoibh) / SEPT 6th / SEPT 13th
2:00PM - 3:00PM EDT
I’m excited to announce the third series of my online Masterclass, The Mechanics of Musicality: Slow Airs for Flute & Whistle.
A slow air is a type of tune in Irish traditional music, marked by the absence of strict meter or structure, melodically "open ended" and generally derived from the melody of a sung song but instead played on a solo melodic instrument. The melodies are often drawn from the sean nós solo singing tradition. Wikipedia
This is as good a definition as you are likely to find. And it is where this masterclass begins, the intersection of air and song. The influence of the sean nós singing tradition on the playing of slow airs cannot be overstated. For this reason I'm starting my three session Slow Airs course with a very special guest. On Aug 30th, we will be joined by the wonderful sean nós singer and flute player, Muireann Nic Amhlaoibh! She is a multi award-winning traditional singer and musician from Corca Dhuibhne, West Kerry and a leading exponent of the sean nós style. Her immersion in the rich cultural environment and vital living tradition of West Kerry makes her the perfect person to help kick off this slow airs masterclass. This is a unique opportunity, as demonstrated by Muireann, to experience how one tradition influences and sustains another.
You can learn more about Muireann by visiting her website,
Over the course of three 1-hour classes I will cover the importance of tone and breath techniques. We will all work on the beautiful slow air, An Paistin Fionn (which can also be found as a song). We will break the air down into manageable parts and demonstrate how breath and tone techniques can help shape the emotion and musicality of our performances. Each performance of an air should be unique, and we will learn about choices of ornamentation as we each create our own interpretation within this tradition.
When you purchase the course you will receive an email with an mp3 of the slow air, An Paistin Fionn. This will help you familiarize yourself with the tune.
Throughout the course you will have the opportunity to demonstrate your own playing should you wish. But there is no obligation to do so. And of course, questions are welcomed and encouraged.
The classes will be held on Zoom and recorded for your reference. Once you have registered a link will be emailed to you with the sign in details.