ITM Tune-Learning Tutor

Welcome to!

Failte Header is a site for learning to play traditional music from Ireland, Scotland, Wales, England, Galicia (Spain), Brittany (France), Cape Breton (Nova Scotia) and beyond.  Though often called “Irish Traditional Music” or just “ITM” it includes a wide range of types of tunes and styles.  The idea of “Slowplayers” is not new.  It refers to the fact that in order to learn these tunes you have to begin to play them slowly in a group setting.  That’s where the real fun comes in!  

There are dedicated people from all over the world who are learning to play traditional tunes from this site right this minute!  In Kansas City, Missouri, we teach a learning session using this website.  This is community music, music played in a group setting.  Over many generations it evolved from social dance music into what’s called session music played at a house or in a pub with or without dancers.  To get the most out of the tunes you learn you’ll need to find a group of people to play with.  That’s where the sense of the music comes alive.  

Playing the tunes slowly in a group is called “a slow session” or “a learning session.”  I designed this website to facilitate the learning sessions I run in Kansas City, and also to help anyone anywhere to get started, or to develop a wider repertoire of session tunes.  What I present here are some of the most commonly played session tunes.  The recordings are at a slower tempo than you’d find at a full-on session, of course.  So, this is a place to pick up some new tunes, and hear how to play them.  Afterward, go out and play these tunes with others, and if they don’t know them, then teach the tunes to them or send them here so they can play them the next time you get together.  Call it a “learning session” or a “slow session” and it’ll still be a whole lot of fun!

Support this Project: 

Please consider supporting this website with a paypal contribution — using the button in the upper-right side of the page.  Thank You!

And Support Your Community:

If you love this music (even a little) please take the time to support it in your community. Play the music whenever you can, and go see those who play it well!  

The Kansas City Learning Sessions:

Celtic circle-knot

The learning session in Kansas City was my inspiration for revamping Michael Duffy’s original website. For more information about what the KC Learning Session, click here.   For the current learning session schedule, click here. For more information about The Kansas City School of Irish Music click here. For a brief history of the website click here.


I higmistakes are proof of tryinghly recommend that you learn from the MP3s provided, and NOT from the sheet music or ABCs – and I may just not put up the midi, as that would be learning from a robot . . . a not-very-talented robot.  Sheet music, ABC, and MIDI files are only good for bare notes, but you will not get close to anything like the real feel of Irish music fromo them.  You will need to do a considerable amount of listening to players ensconced in the tradition, and you’ll sometime hear the same tune played in different settings.

Remember, despite the priority some people give to dots on paper, there’s no such thing as a definitive setting!  As Zina Lee has written, “The different settings are a large part of what keeps Irish traditional music so interesting and alive.”

This web page was created for the sole purpose of passing on the playing of traditional Irish music free to everyone.

The information on this site is under copyright protection.  I own all intellectual property rights in and to this site & its complete content. Any redistribution of this material for profit is illegal, strictly prohibited, and seriously frowned upon. 

© 2014




  • Posted August 9, 2014 at 6:12 am | Permalink

    Eddie, you are helpful to us slowplayers at every turn and this website is another example. You give direction and resources that make it possible to step into Irish and get started. This site pulls it all together. You are incredibly dedicated to giving us the launch we need – thank you for all you do for us!!!

  • Gordon Bearss
    Posted June 18, 2014 at 8:08 pm | Permalink

    How very usefull. For learning tunes or having
    a list of titles or sound files to help come up
    with the next tune to play at a session. I am going
    to learn “Christmas Eve” tonight.

  • Sabrina Hubert
    Posted May 22, 2014 at 5:15 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for your inspiration and all your efforts! And thanks for your patience with us “newbies”. We’ll get there with your instruction.

  • Jim Windels
    Posted May 18, 2014 at 8:21 am | Permalink

    Good job Eddie! Thanks for all the hard work.

  • Donna Brown
    Posted May 14, 2014 at 4:05 pm | Permalink

    This is a truly amazing site. All the stories are terrific. These are wonderfully clear recordings too! Many thanks for your hard work and attention to detail.

  • Colleen aka "Nicki Joy's Mom"
    Posted May 12, 2014 at 7:40 pm | Permalink

    Nice job, sir. This feels inspiring by making play accessible.

  • Maria Morton
    Posted May 2, 2014 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

    Great resource! Thanks, 40-Coats!

  • Colleen Kennedy
    Posted April 17, 2014 at 2:58 pm | Permalink

    I love this site!!! Full of great information! Thank you.

Thanks! Any comments?

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