Welcome to the Kansas City Learning Sessions! These sessions are the place to learn tunes from Ireland, Scotland, the Shetland Islands, Galacia, Brittany, Cape Breton, and beyond. Our first learning session (LS1) was held back in January 2013, and we began teaching the bodhrán class in November 2013. In 2014 we joined the Kansas City School of Irish Music which began in the Fall of 2006.
Our tune-learning classes are open to players of all levels, and may be divided into beginner classes and intermediate/advanced level classes. In our six-week group classes we focus on teaching tunes played in Irish sessions, both local ones and those around the globe. We set out the basic melody, the “bones” of the tunes, and then discuss and illustrate some variations if time permits. These classes will get you started on the road to playing in any session, anywhere in the world! All you need is your own instrument, and a basic understanding of your instrument. In the six-week bodhrán class we work on rhythms for the most common types of tunes: reels, jigs, hornpipes, slip jigs, and polkas. We these basic rhythms and some variations, just to keep things interesting. You will need your own drum and tipper.
We have a lot of fun at our learning sessions too, but they are really a stepping stone toward playing in a real session. The session (seisiún in Irish) is the place to find the true spirit of Irish music. This is community music, and needs to be played in a community. Every time you play this music with others in a public space you give it roots in your community. So, get involved in sessions as soon as possible, so you can fully understand what this music is all about. As Eileen Ivers has written, “The core of it all is the seisiún and the infectious joy on the players’ faces as they share in the music and maybe even pass on a new tune to a student of the tradition.” For our local sessions go to either the KC session page or the Lawrence session page. Come enjoy the music!
Current Tune-Learning Classes:
For the current classes and fees visit the KC School of Irish Music.
We planned on holding a tune-learning classes beginning on Monday, April 8, 2019. That was nixed by Covid-19. Now, in December of 2021, we are still waiting to determine when it will be safe to start up classes again.
About The Irish Music Learning Sessions in KCMO
The Classes. First, the bodhrán class will cover basic rhythms for one of the most common types of tunes encountered in a session, and then work on developing variations on those rhythms. Each meeting we will work on a different rhythms for different types of tunes. Second, in the beginning tune-learning class we work through one tune, aurally and slowly — as slowly as needed. If we do not make it through the whole tune, we will continue with that tune the following week. Third, in the advanced tune-learning class we teach one or two tunes by ear, at a moderate tempo. There will be a short time given during our learning sessions (time permitting) to anyone who would like to share a tune. If you have been working on a tune on your own, this would be the time to introduce it to the rest of the group. During each learning session we may also be reviewing past tunes.
Note that bodhrán players are welcome to sit in on the advance learning class, and will have a chance to practice in context. Also note that though students of either tune learning session are welcome to attend the other, the distinction between the advanced learning class and the beginners learning class will be significant. While beginners are assumed to need some work on learning by ear, the more advanced players will be expected to be able to pick up tunes by ear fairly rapidly.
The fee for a learning session covers the entire six-week group-ensemble class. You can join the KC Irish Center ($50 for an individual one year membership) and receive a discount. You can also take one-on-one classes instead, or in addition to the group class.
Note that the bodhrán class and tune-learning class are separate fees. So, if you want to work on bodhrán skills and then learn tunes, you would need to pay for each. Of course, if you just want to sit through the tune learning session and play bodhrán, or even just hang out to enjoy the fun, there will be no additional fee.
The Schedule: Below you will find the dates for our learning sessions, open to all levels, as well as some associated events that will be for students, family, and friends (times and locations TBA). Here is the tentative schedule for the year:
- New Year learning session
- Learning for a St. Patrick’s Day Session
- Spring learning session
- April House Session
- Days of May House Session
- Summer learning session
- Summer Solstice Session
- 4th of July Sessions
- Labor Day Session
- Fall learning session
- Autumnal Equinox Session
- Samhain Session
- Winter learning session
- Ugly Sweater Session
- Winter Solstice Session
In addition to reprising some of the tunes taught in the past two years, there are a number of tunes you might have heard of or wanted to learn. Here are some of the new tunes currently being considered for our future learning sessions, from which we’ll pick a dozen or so. If you see anything you’d like to work on, let us know!
Reels: A Night in Ennis (D), Abbey Reel (Ador), Absent-Minded Woman (G), Anderson’s Reel (D), Ashplant (Edor), Bean a’ Tí ar Lár (D), Beare Island (Edor), Bobby Casey’s (D), Bottom of the Punchbowl (D), Broken Pledge (Ddor), Bucks of Oranmore (D), Collier’s Reel (Dmix), Concertina Reel (D), Craigs’s Pipes (G), The Dancing Kettle (Edor), Dancing Tables (A), Dick Gossip’s (D), Dinkey Dorian’s Reel (Amix), Dinney O’Brien’s (Dmix), Donegal Reel (D), Dowd’s #9 (D), Dublin Reel (D), Dunmore Lasses (Eaol), Farewell to Erin (D), Fairy Dance (D), Fergal O’Gara (D), Glass of Beer (Bdor|D), The Golden Keyboard (Edor), Green Fields of Rossbeigh (Edor), Green Mountain (D), The High Reel (Amix), The Hunter’s House (G), Jackie Coleman’s (D), John Brosnan’s (Bm), Julia Delaney’s (Ddor), Killarney Boys of Pleasure (Em), Lady Anne Montgomery (D), Lady on the Island (D), Last Night’s Fun (D), Limerick Lasses (D), Lisdoonvarna Reel (G), Man of the House (Eaol), Martin Wynne’s #2 (Bdor|D), Mason’s Apron (A), Men of the Deeps (A), Miss Monaghan (D), Musical Priest (Bm), My Love is in America (D), The New Copperplate (G), The New Rigged Ship (Ador), Nine Points of Roguery (D), Old Blackthorn (D), Old Copper Plate (Ador), Otter’s Holt (Bm), Paddy Fahey’s #3 (Dm), Paddy’s Trip to Scotland (D), Peeler’s Jacket (G), Rakish Paddy (Dmix|Ador), Road to Rio (G), Sailing into Walpole’s Marsh (Ador), Sailor’s Bonnet (D), Sally Gardens (G), Ships are Sailing (Edor), Silver Spire (D), Skylark (D), Speed The Plough (D), Spike Island Lasses (D), Star of Munster (Ador), Toss the Feathers (Dmix), Toss the Feathers (Edor), Trip to Durrow (D), Whiskey Before Breakfast (D), Woman of the House (G, D)
Jigs: Arthur Darley’s Jig (D|Daeol|D), Atholl Highlanders (Amix), Battering Ram (D), Behind the Haystack (D), The Black Rogue (Ador), Bundle and Go (Em), The Burnt Old Man (D), Carraroe (D), Drunken Jig (D), Fasten the Leg In Her (G), [Da] Full Rigged Ship (Ador), Hare in the Corn (D), High Road to Sligo (D), Holly Bush (G), Jig of Slurs (D|G), Jim Ward’s (G), Lady Wrixon (Eaol), Lark in the Morning (D), Maids of Selma (G), The Mug of Brown Ale (Ador), The Nightingale (Ador), Old Hag You Have Killed Me (Dmix), Old Joe’s (D), Rakes of Kildare (Ador), Rolling Waves (D), Rose in the Heather (D), Ships in Full Sail (G), The Strayaway Child (Eaol), Tatter Jack Walsh (Dmix), Tenpenny Bit (Ador), Tom Billy’s (Amix), Walls of Liscarroll (Dmix), Wandering Minstrel (D), Willie Coleman’s (G), Will You Come Home with Me?(G)
Slip Jigs: An Phis Fhiuch (G), Another Jig Will Do (Dmix), Barney Brannigan’s (D), Blackbird (D), Gorman’s Promenade (Edor), Humour’s of Westmeath (D), Ryan’s (Baol), Rocky Road to Dublin (Ador), Wink And She’ll Follow You (Edor | Ddor)
Hornpipes: Belfast Hornpipe (D), Bewicks Hornpipe (D), City of Savannah (D), Eamonn McGivney’s (Eaeol), Galway Hornpipe (D), Mickey Callaghan’s Fancy (G), Peacock’s Feather (Ddor), Plains of Boyle (D), Pleasures of Hope (D), Poll Ha’penny (Amix), Pride of Petravore (Eaol), Wicklow Hornpipe (Dmix), The Wonder Hornpipe (G)
Polkas: After The Battle Of Aughrim (Ador), Coleman’s March (D), Din Tarrant’s (D), Glen Cottage (Edor), I Have a Bonnet Trimmed in Blue (A), Leather Away the Wattle-O (D), Nell Fees’ (D), Riding on a Load of Hay (Em), Toormore #1 (Amix),
Slides & Single Jigs: An Chóisir (Baeol), Ask My Father (G), Ballyfin Slide (D), Bridgie the Weaver’s (A), Brosna #1 (G), The Brosna (Dmix), The Cat Rambles To The Child’s Saucepan (D), Dingle Regatta (G), The Kaiser (D), The Kerry (G), Kings of Kerry (G), O’Keeffe’s #2 (D), Palm Sunday (Ador), Scattery Island (D) [Clare version], Where’s the Cat? (A)
Barndances, Germans, Schottisches, & Marches: Brian Boru’s March (Aaeol), Chaffpool Post (G), Dances at Kinvara (G), Gabriel’s March, Lucy Farr’s (G |A), Green Grow the Rushes-o (G), Joe Bane’s Schottische (A), Mrs. Kenny’s Barndance (G), New Broom (G), Róise Bheag Róise Móire’s (D), Sarsfield’s March (D), Sweet Flowers of Miltown (G)
Strathspeys: Ben Lomond Strathspey (D), Brown-Sailed Boat (Edor), Christmas Day Ida Moarnin’ (D), Drumnagarry Strathspey (G), Her Golden Hair Hung Down In Ringlets (D), Iron Man (A), Laird O’Drumblair Strathspey (A), Lime Hill (A), Mrs. Ramsay of Barnton (Eaeol)
Waltzes & Mazurkas: Dear Irish Boy (Edor), Loftus Jones (G), Mooney’s Mazurka (G), New Land (Bm, F), Planxty Hewlett (D), Planxty Irwin (G), Road North (Amix), Shoe the Donkey (G), Sonny Brogan’s Mazurka (D), Tabhair Dom Do Lámh (G), Wexford Carol (G).
Past Learning Sessions (2019):
Learning sessions are not cumulative, so the number of each learning session (e.g., “LS 5”) is given just for convenience of reference, from most recent to oldest.
LS 17: Mondays June to July 2019 @ KCIC (This was cancelled)
- Reel (4/8)
- Beginner Reel:
- Reel (1/28)
- Beginner Reel:
- Double Jig (2/4)
- Double Jig
- Hornpipe (2/11)
- Hornpipe (2/18)
LS 16: Mondays April 8 to May 27 2019 @ KCIC (This was planned, but then cancelled)
- Reel (4/8)
- Beginner Reel: Red Haired Boy (A)
- Reel (1/28)
- Beginner Reel: Broken Pledge (Ddor)
- Double Jig (2/4)
- Jig: Lilting Banshee (Ador)
- Double Jig
- Jig: Out on the Ocean (G)
- Hornpipe (2/11)
- Hornpipe: Rights of Man (Eaeol),
- Hornpipe (2/18)
- Hornpipe: Soldier’s Joy (D)
LS 15: Mondays Jan 21 to Feb 25 2019 @ KCIC (This was the last Learning Session before Covid-19)
- Reels (1/21)
- Beginner Reel: Silver Spear (D)
- Reels (1/28)
- Beginner Reel: Humours of Tulla (D)
- Double Jigs (2/4)
- Beginner Jig: Swallow Tail
- Beginner Jig: Lilting Banshee (Ador)
- Hornpipes (2/11)
- Review and Discussion (2/18)
- Beginner Waltz: Planxty Fanny Power
Past Learning Sessions (2013-2015):
The learning sessions were discontinued in April 2015 in anticipation of the KC Irish Center reopening in a new location. Of course, the relaunch of the music classes took longer than anticipated.
LS 14: Tuesdays March 24 to April 28 2015 @ KCIC
- Reels (3/24)
- Double Jigs (3/31)
- Hornpipes (4/7)
- Reels (4/14)
- Jigs (4/21)
- Graduation Session (4/28)
- 6ish pm @ TBA
LS 13: Tue Jan 27 to March 3 2015 @ KCIC
- Reels (1/27)
- Double Jigs (2/3)
- Hornpipes (2/10)
- Reels (2/17)
- Jigs (2/24)
- Graduation Session (3/3)
Past Learning Sessions (2014):
Learning sessions are not cumulative, so the number of each learning session is given just for convenience of reference.
LS12: 11/11/14 to 12/16/14 @ KCIC in Union Station (KCMO)
- Reels (11/11)
- Double Jigs (11/18)
- Double Jigs (11/25)
- 5pm Bodhrán: Jig Rhythms
- 6pm Reel: Hag’s Purse (Dmix) & tune share
- Germans (12/2)
- 5pm Bodhrán: Germans & Reel Rhythms
- 6pm Germans: Maggie’s Lilt (D) & tune share
- Waltz (12/9)
- Graduation Session (12/16)
LS11: 9/16/14 – 10/21/14 @ KCIC in Union Station (KCMO)
Our eleventh learning session ended on Saturday Oct. 18th instead of Tuesday Oct. 21st as scheduled because there was just no way we’d find a pub that wasn’t packed on the 21st. Why? The KC Royals were in the World Series!
- Reels (9/16)
- Double Jigs (9/23)
- Hornpipes (9/30)
- Slip Jigs (10/7)
- Double Jigs (10/14)
- Graduation Session (10/18 due to KC Royals in World Series!)
LS10: 7/15/14 – 8/26/14 @ KCIC in Union Station (KCMO)
As of LS10 we dropped the student solos. Instead, we provide time at each meeting to those who would like to share a tune they are working on, which was Meg’s great idea.
- Reels (7/15)
- Double Jigs (7/22)
- Hornpipes (7/29)
- Slip Jigs (8/5)
- Reels (8/12)
- Graduation Session (8/26)
LS9: 5/20/14 – 6/24/14 @ KCIC in Union Station (KCMO)
- Reels (5/20)
- Double Jigs (5/27)
- Hornpipes (6/3)
- Slip Jigs (6/10)
- Bodhrán: Slip Jig Rhythms
- Kid on the Mountain (Eaeol)
- Waltz/Air (6/17)
- Graduation Session (6/24)
LS8: 3/25/14 – 4/29/14 @ KCIC in Union Station (KCMO)
Starting with LS8 we initiated student solos as a learning tool. Each student would play one solo at some time during the six-week session.
- Reels (3/25)
- Single Jigs & March (4/1)
- Reels (4/8)
- Slip Jigs (4/15)
- Jigs (4/22)
- Graduation Session (4/29)
LS7: 1/21/14 – 2/25/14 @ KCIC in Union Station (KCMO)
In the 2014 learning sessions we divided the classes into one hour partitions: with a bodhrán class, a beginners tune learning class, and an advanced tune learning class. Note that the number of tunes is now almost reasonable.
- Reels (1/21)
- Double Jigs (1/28)
- Hornpipes (2/4)
- Single Jigs (2/11)
- Polkas (2/18)
- Graduation Session (2/25)
Past Learning Session Tunes (from 2013):
We began the KC Learning Sessions in January 2013. At that time I had not yet set up SLowplayers.org, and tunes were collected in booklets. I provided brief backgrounds for each tune, and tried to input some humor. I also chose far too many tunes to cover at each meeting — as is really obvious from the list below — and so, as we continued, gradually began to reduce the number of tunes taught during each six-week cycle. I now think that in six hours of class a mere six tunes would be more than enough for those at an advance beginner level. As I was overly enthusiastic at the beginning, there are too many tunes listed below to learn in a year (six two-hour learning sessions running for six-weeks). Below are the tunes we presented, in the first year — LS1 to LS6. If you are thinking of starting your own Learning Session (or Slow Session) any of the tunes below would be good, but choose fewer tunes than listed here. Also, the learning sessions are not cumulative, so the number of each learning session is given just for convenience of reference.
LS6: 11/12/13 to 12/17/13 @ KCIC in Union Station (KCMO)
As of LS6 we introduced the bodhrán class and added an hour of teaching time.
- Reels & Waltz (11/12)
- Double Jigs (11/19)
- Waltz, Hornpipe, Marches/Carols (11/26)
- Slip Jigs & Waltz (12/3)
- Strathspey (12/10)
- 5pm to 8pm
- Bodhrán: Review Rhythms
- Christmas Day in da Mornin’ (D)
- Graduation Session (12/16)
LS5: 9/17/13 – 10/22/13 @ KCIC in Union Station (KCMO)
- Double Jigs (9/17)
- Double Jigs (9/24)
- Reels (10/1)
- Reels (10/8)
- Hornpipe, Barndance, Slip Jig (10/15)
- Graduation Session (10/22)
LS4: 7/23/13 – 8/27/13 @ KCIC in Union Station (KCMO)
As of LS4 we began having a graduation session at a local pub with friends and family. This also meant that the total number of tunes was reduced.
- Reels (7/23)
- Double Jigs (7/30)
- Hornpipes (8/6)
- Polka and Waltz (8/13)
- Slip Jig and Waltz (8/20)
- Graduation Session (8/27)
LS3: 5/28/13 – 7/2/13 @ KCIC in Union Station (KCMO)
Half way through LS3 it started to sink in that we needed to pare down the number of tunes even further, and work on different teaching techniques.
- Reels (5/28)
- Double Jigs (6/4)
- Hornpipes (6/11)
- Slip Jigs (6/18)
- 6pm – 8pm
- Dever the Dancer (Edor)
- Polkas (6/25)
- Single Jigs (7/2)
- 6pm – 8pm
- Miller’s Maggot (G)
LS2: 3/26/13 – 4/30/13 @ KCIC in Union Station (KCMO)
Though we picked fewer tune this time through, it is still too many.
- Reels (3/26)
- Double Jigs (4/2)
- Hornpipes (4/9)
- Reels (4/16)
- Polkas (4/23)
- Slides (4/30)
LS1: 1/22/13 to 2/26/14 @ KCIC in Union Station (KCMO)
I had wanted to do a learning session in KC for some time. When my friend David Agee said he would join me so we could co-teach the learning session, I set it up with the KC Irish Center in December of 2012. The first learning session in January 2013 was a bit uneven in my opinion, and I set out a crazy number of tunes! I had picked four tunes per meeting, but by the fourth meeting I was told that it was “overwhelming.” I chose only two for the last meeting.
- Reels (1/22)
- Double Jigs (1/29)
- Hornpipes (2/5)
- Slip Jigs (2/5)
- Polkas (2/12)
- Slides (2/19)