Wednesday, July 2, 2008

My First Bodhran Lesson

I had my first bodhran lesson tonight! Don't wanna bang my own drum but...I wasn't bad at all. He said I had a good sense of rhythm and I will be able to pick up the bodhran very quickly. It's a style of drumming that I have always wanted to learn. The playing technique is a bit unusual. You hold the drum on your left thigh. You hold the back of the drum against the drum skin with your left hand. Your right hand beats the face of the drum with a stick called a tipper with an "down, up, down, up" motion. You hold the tipper in the middle as if you hold a pen and it's all wrist action from there. All the while your hand on the back of the drum can do lots of things to change the tone.

30 mins into the lesson, he made me play solo to a jig. A jig is in 4/4 time as opposed to a reel which is in 6/8 time. I felt self conscious playing solo while he was trying to correct me but whatever. Apparently, I played in rhythm 90% of the time which was pretty good for someone who has never picked up a bodhran before.

He demonstrated the various sounds you can make while accompanying music. I was completely in awe! Not only is he a bad ass but my teacher was so nice. He gave me a free CD to practice with and let me borrow one of his drums until I buy my own. He suggested that I can either go to an instrument store on Royal Avenue or go to the best drum maker in Belfast who can make bodhrans tailored to your specifications. Hmmm...that's not a hard decision to make. I'd shell out the money and how many opportunities can you get to buy a custom made bodhran from Ireland?

I am utterly in love. Not my teacher but with this instrument. And I'm still giddy that I'm learning how to play bodhran IN IRELAND!!! How many people get to do that? I'm so happy! The old Maddy is back again! :D

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