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Celtic Ensemble

Instructor:   David Morrissey & Emilie Kirwan

Course Description:

Level: 2 – 4  (see Playing Experience Level descriptions at the bottom of the page)

Irish music is best enjoyed as a social occasion, where long time friends and soon to be friends are joined together by the simple love of an ancient music. We will go over some of the unwritten rules of session etiquette that help ensure that sessions are an enjoyable place to be.

Learn how to play “Celtic” music with an Irish style. To do this we will cover many aspects of traditional Irish music. We will focus on learning tunes by ear (as well as from the notes), playing in a group situation and acquiring that elusive Irish “Lilt” on both melody and accompaniment instruments.

Most of all we hope to be able to show you how much fun playing Irish music as a group can be and have a lot of laughs along the way.

All acoustic instruments are welcome.

David Morrissey & Emilie Kirwan

David Morrissey is from County Kildare, Ireland.  Dave has developed a percussive and complimentary style of playing the guitar which has been described as the "engine" of sessions.  Based in Dublin and Galway, Dave has played with some of the top names in Irish music such as Frankie Gavin and Maurice Lennon and Juno winning band The McDades.

Emilie Kirwan is from Ballynacally, a village outside Ennis in Co. Clare. She attended the University of Limerick and has a Master's degree in Traditional Irish music performance.  Emilie has a west Clare style of playing and has been influenced by Martin Hayes and Siobhan Peoples.

Playing Experience Levels

These guidelines aim to ensure that all camp participants have an enjoyable experience. They represent what your playing capability should be before you take the class (prerequisites).

Classes are generally designed to pace themselves to match the participants' abilities. Level 1 classes aim to proceed at the pace of the slower students in the class. Level 2 and 3 classes aim to move at the pace of the majority of students in the class. Level 4 classes are designed to push the capabilities of all students and will target the pace of the more capable students  Class descriptions that show a range (Levels 2-3) means the material presented is broadly applicable across that range.

LEVEL 1: You are new or relatively new to your instrument. You may be able to play basic chords or scales slowly. You want to learn the basics of the instrument. You have very little experience playing with others.

LEVEL 2: You are competent with basic chords and/or basic scales. You can keep rhythm and/or play basic melodies and/or sing and play at the same time if the song is familiar. You generally need the chords or melody to be written out in order to play along. You have some experience playing with others.

LEVEL 3: You are reasonably comfortable with most chords, basic major and minor scales, and can play at an appropriate tempo for songs. You are aware of time signatures, song keys, and know that there are chords called 6th, 7th, 11th, etc even if you can’t play them all. You are comfortable maintaining good rhythm and are willing to taking breaks while jamming with others, even if the breaks don't always turn out the way you planned. You may be hoping to take your playing up to the next level of performing with a group or band (beyond jamming) and you want to further improve your technique and speed.

LEVEL 4: You are skilled on your instrument and have a good understanding of musical concepts including scales, arrangements, harmonies and some improvisation. You play lead and back-up with a steady rhythm and can play skillfully with others. You know there is life further up the neck on your instrument and have some capability in that world. You have performing experience, can hold a tune, and can harmonize.