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Pennywhistle

Instructor:  Lucinda Warnock

Pennywhistle

Instructor:   Lucinda Warnock

Course Description:

Level: 1 – 2  (see Playing Experience Level descriptions at the bottom of the page)

Pennywhistle = A simple tube of metal or composite material with six finger-holes, the whistle has an expressive range that can encompass everything from the speed and excitement of dance music to the haunting and emotionally-charged expression of slow airs. Wooden and bird-bone whistles a thousand years old have been found in excavations of Viking Dublin, and today’s pennywhistle is only the most recent in a long line of whistles in Ireland.

Have you wanted to learn how to play the pennywhistle, but don’t know where to start? Or have you played a bit, but struggle with fingering, breathing, or just wonder if there is a “right way” or “wrong way” to play?

Come to this class to learn to play the pennywhistle, a fun and affordable instrument for beginners and seasoned musicians! You will learn how to hold the whistle, fingering, breathing, tonguing, timing, twiddly- bits (ornamentation) and will soon be on your way to playing simple tunes. We will also explore how to play the pennywhistle as a layer instrument in other music genres. Please bring a tin whistle in the key of D and a recording device. Several styles of pennywhistles will also be available to purchase at the class.

Note: You will receive an email prior to camp with tunes to start listening to prior to the class. Familiarity is especially important in learning to play the tunes in a short period of time.

Lucinda Warnock

Lucinda’s musical journey started at age 6 when her great-grandma bought an organ for the family. Lucinda’s dad installed a head jack on the organ and from that time on, she would put on the headphones and escape into the wonderful world of music. It was while on a trip to Ireland to visit her husband’s family in 1987 that she first heard traditional Celtic music and vowed that someday she would learn how to play the pennywhistle. In 2005, she finally pulled out the pennywhistle she had bought in Ireland many years before, and started on a journey of learning to play. During that time, she developed a non-traditional style that lends itself to playing with many different genres of music. Her playing is characterized by great feeling and the ability to add a layer to a band that ranges from ethereal and haunting to joyous and lilting. She enjoys playing many musical styles on the pennywhistle and bodhran (Irish drum) —folk, old-time, contemporary, roots, bluegrass, gospel, country and, yes, traditional Celtic music!

Over the past 10 years Lucinda has played with numerous artists and bands both north and south of the border, playing the pennywhistle, bodhran, accordion, and ukulele and also contributing as a vocalist. She has become well known for teaching pennywhistle and bodhran classes and workshops at music camps and festivals, as well as individual lessons.

Website: Lucinda Warnock

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.