I love sharing my experiences as a traditional musician with students of all ages by visiting pre-school through university classrooms. My background in ethnomusicology proves valuable in the culturally diverse schools that I visit allowing me to draw comparisons that resonate with the class. A visit generally lasts 45 minutes to an hour and includes a fluid combination of the following.
- Explanation: An age appropriate overview of traditional music and its role in the Irish community, current and historical. I put this into a framework that my particular audience will understand, for example likening Somali story teller musicians to the Irish harp tradition. With more experienced musical students, I provide an explanation of instrument construction and music theory; including modal systems used in traditional music. I underscore the ways that traditional music differs from European classical music.
- Demonstration: Instruments include harp, dulcimer, whistle, flute, and pipes. I have found it very useful to be able to play multiple instruments, especially for the youngest students, as it makes it easy to keep them engaged and interested.
- Conversation: Playing live music for classes always creates lively and thoughtful discussion and opportunities to elucidate about diverse facets of traditional music. Students have noticed many similarities between my traditional instruments and instruments with which they are more familiar. I highlight how certain music and/or instruments are similar to other instruments from around the world; for example the hammer dulcimer and the Latin American psalterio.