It’s never too late to pick up an instrument! Five tips for adult beginners.

If you’re considering learning to play an instrument, but are a bit nervous about taking the plunge or worried you may be too old to start, you should absolutely read this article. It is written from the perspective of a cello teacher, but it is 100% applicable to learning any instrument, including tin whistle and flute:

It’s Never Too Late to Pick Up an Instrument—Here are 5 Tips for Adult Beginnersby Miranda Wilson

I totally agree with Miranda’s perspective here. As the article says, it is important for teachers to recognise that adult learners have different challenges than children and younger people, and need to progress at their own pace with the right kind of support.

I have been teaching tin whistle and flute to adults for many years, and have never yet taught anyone who could NOT learn and progress with time, effort and a bit of nurture. I strongly believe learning to play music should be a fun endeavor in itself, and as a teacher I always approach it in that way. I always take it at your pace, teaching technique and repertoire incrementally, so that you’re always making progress and never feel disheartened.

So, after reading the above, if you’re thinking of learning to play Irish music on whistle or flute, and think you might be brave enough to have a few lessons to start you off, why not get in touch? Contact Bev


Some of the brave and talented adult learners at my last tin whistle workshop for Folkus

Irish Tunes Class and Slow Session – Christmas party and 2017 schedule


From January 2017 onwards, the Irish tunes class and slow session will be moving to Monday afternoons.

The class meets weekly between 2.00 – 3.00 pm at The Apothecary Bar and Lounge on Penny Street, Lancaster – there is a charge of £5.00 for participants. Following the class, we have our (free!) slow session until 4.00 pm – all welcome to this, whether you participate in the class or not! See schedule of dates below.

xmas-classWe’ve had an amazing twelve months in our Irish tunes class and slow session! When we return on 16th January 2017 we will be celebrating exactly one year of learning tunes and playing music together, as well as great friendships forged and mighty craic. I’d like to thank everyone who has made our first year such a wonderful success and such incredible fun – here’s to the start of our second year, may it be as good as the last one!

We have a few special events in the planning stage for 2017, including our second annual St Patrick’s Day event, and a ceili featuring our class participants – watch this space for more details. And of course we always welcome new members – why not make learning some Irish tunes your new year resolution?

2016 is not quite over yet, or course: we have two more classes to go.

Today – Thursday 15th December 2016 – we will be learning the three-part reel Christmas Eve, to get us in the mood for the festivities to come.

Next week – Thursday 22nd December – is our Christmas party, with an extra-long slow session, to which all are invited. Class meets as usual between 2.00 – 3.00 pm. Then, between 3.00 – 5.00 pm, the session takes place. We will be playing the odd Christmas tune in-amongst our usual trad music repertoire, and there will be fun and shenanigans, and also food provided by the Apothecary Free Food Initiative.

We will then take a break for Christmas and New Year, and will return on Monday 16th January.

Class/session dates for the spring term are as follows:

02 January 2017 – NO CLASS/SESSION
09 January 2017 – NO CLASS/SESSION
16 January 2017 – Class/session!
23 January 2017 – Class/session!
30 January 2017 – Class/session!
06 February 2017 – Class/session!
13 February 2017 – Class/session!
20 February 2017 – Class/session!
27 February 2017 – Class/session!
06 March 2017 – Class/session!
13 March 2017 – Class/session – ST PATRICK’S DAY SPECIAL!
20 March 2017 – Class/session!
27 March 2017 – Class/session!
03 April 2017 – Class/session!
10 April 2017 – Class/session!
17 April 2017 – NO CLASS/SESSION (Easter)

Further dates TBC






Teacher is vastly under the weather with a nasty flu bug, and at least one of our regulars (Brian) is out for the count also, for the same reason. We will resume next week (24th November) as normal, see you there! Oh, and if you are a regular and you see this, please drop me a line so I know you’ve got the message.

IMPORTANT NOTICE – Change of Venue for Irish Tunes Class/Slow Session

As from today- Thursday 27th October – the Irish tunes class and slow session in Lancaster is moving to The Apothecary on Penny Street. Same time as usual – learn a tune from 2.00 onwards, then slow session starts at 3.00 and runs until 4.00 pm. £5 entry if you want to learn a tune, but the session is free to all who wish to play Irish tunes at a slow and steady pace. We love listeners too!

We will now meet at The Apothecary every Thursday right up to Christmas.

Irish Tunes Class and Slow Session – Autumn/Winter 2016

12657308_1249396985076266_4042848141396608331_oThe Irish tunes class and slow session starts back today, and will run through every week right up until Christmas. We meet 2.00 – 4.00 at the Robert Gillow pub in Lancaster, with the first hour being a class where participants learn a new Irish tune, followed by a slow and steady session in the bar.

Today’s class – 13th October – will be a Lancaster Music Festival special, with the opportunity for a two-hour session in the bar following the class. Anyone is welcome to join us for the session, which will run from 3.00 – 5.00 pm and is free. If you wish to join the class which takes place 2.00 – 3.00 pm before the session, and learn an Irish tune to expand your repertoire, there is a fee of £5.00. All are welcome; we currently have a lovely mix of fiddles, flute, whistles, concertinas and harp.

Dates between now and Christmas are as follows:

13th Oct – Class/session – Lancaster Music Festival Special!
20th Oct – Class/session
27th Oct – Class/session
3rd Nov – Class/session
10th Nov- Class/session
17th Nov – Class/session
24th Nov – Class/session
1st Dec – Class/session
8th Dec – Class/session
15th Dec – Class/session
22nd Dec Class/session – Christmas party edition!

29th Dec – NO CLASS

Further dates TBC

URGENT: Irish tunes class and slow session cancelled on 25th August 2016

Please note that the Irish tunes class/slow session for this week, 25th August, has been CANCELLED due to many regulars being away this week (Whitby Festival has poached you all!) and the general busyness of the teacher, who has three festivals to play at over the next three weeks (AND breathe…).

We will resume classes/sessions on 15th September as usual (see full schedule of dates here). Please spread the word to make sure everyone sees this and no one has a wasted journey!

Irish Tunes Class and Slow Session – class dates for rest of 2016


Photo by Barrie Marshall

The weekly Irish tunes class and slow session at the Robert Gillow pub in Lancaster continues to go from strength to strength, with an enthusiastic group of regulars and new participants joining all the time, some of whom travel a considerable distance to take part.

The class meets every Thursday (with some breaks – see below) between 2.00 – 4.00 pm in the Robert Gillow. The first hour consists of myself teaching a new tune to the class in the room upstairs. For the second hour we retire downstairs to the bar, where we partake of the Gillow’s fine ales and play tunes in an informal slow and steady session. It’s a really nice way to spend a Thursday afternoon.

We are about to have a break of three weeks whilst I go travelling with Absolutely Legless in Spain, but we will resume on 4th August. Please see below for a full list of dates the class will meet during the rest of 2016, and if you are a new participant thinking of joining us, we would love to have you, just turn up! There is a nominal charge of £5.00 for each participant in the class, but the session is free to all.

7th July – Class/session
14th July – NO CLASS
21st July – NO CLASS
28th July – NO CLASS
4th Aug – Class/session
11th Aug – Class/session
18th Aug – Class/session
25th Aug – Class/session
1st Sep – NO CLASS
8th Sep – NO CLASS
15th Sep- Class/session
22nd Sep- Class/session
29th Sep – NO CLASS
6th Oct – NO CLASS
13th Oct – Class/session
20th Oct – Class/session
27th Oct – Class/session – Lancaster Music Festival Special!
3rd Nov – Class/session
10th Nov- Class/session
17th Nov – Class/session
24th Nov – Class/session
1st Dec – Class/session
8th Dec – Class/session
15th Dec – Class/session
22nd Dec Class/session – Christmas party edition!
29th Dec – NO CLASS
Further dates TBC

Irish Tunes Class and Slow Session


Some of our regular musicians playing at our St Patrick’s Day Party in the Robert Gillow

After a two-week break, the Irish tunes class and slow session is back this week! We start up again on Thursday 19th May.

We meet weekly at 2.00 pm on Thursdays upstairs in the Robert Gillow in Lancaster. During the first hour the class learns a new tune, then we all move downstairs where we get pints from the bar (or coffees!) and play through our class repertoire (and any other tunes participants want to play) in our slow and steady session.

We have a friendly and dedicated core of regular musicians, playing (but not limited to) fiddles, concertinas, whistles, flute, harp and accordion. New musicians are extremely welcome, just come along and join us!

Cost for the class is £5.00.

For future reference, we will be meeting on the following dates:

19 May: 2.00 – 4.00
26 May: 2.00 – 4.00
2 June: 2.00 – 4.00
9 June: 2.00 – 4.00
16 June: 2.00 – 4.00
23 June: 2.00 – 4.00
30 June: 2.00 – 4.00
7 July: 2.00 – 4.00
14 July: NO CLASS
21 July: NO CLASS
Further dates TBC

There is a dedicated Facebook page which participants are encouraged to join, as this contains details of any changes to classes.