This 2-hour, hands-on workshop will give participants a solid musical and practical grounding for the penny whistle. Of ancient origins, the penny or tin whistle as we know it today was mass produced in England as far back as 1840, and was a cheap, easily obtained musical instrument popular not only in Ireland, England and Continental Europe, but in the early United States, where it remains today a viable and easily played folk instrument
Dane Donato is a musician with years of experience on the penny whistle and other folk musical instruments. He has played the whistle since the 1980s. A trained oboist, he is an alumni of Berklee College of Music in Boston, and is currently penny whistler and instrumental accompanist for the Old Sturbridge Village Singers, in Sturbridge, Massachusetts.
This workshop is open to the public and is free of charge; donations will be accepted. Please register in advance by contacting Dane: firstname.lastname@example.org, 413-773-9032 (home), or 413-522-5969 (cell).
It is NOT a requirement to have a whistle to take the workshop. If you want a whistle, Dane will bring a limited number of Irish-made, Walton brass whistles in the key of D, available first come, first serve, at a cost of $10. Workshop participants can purchase a whistle locally (Downtown Sounds or Replay), or online through a music retailer or Amazon. Brands to look for include Generation, Feadog, Clarke and Walton, for between $10 and $15.
Topics covered in the workshop will include:
- A brief history of the whistle.
- Discussion of whistle keys (D, C, G, E flat, A, F).
- Modern instruments, costs, materials (brass, nickel, plastic, aluminum, wood) and availability, from beginner to professional models to purchase as you grow as a whistler.
- Appropriate tunes from American, English, and Irish traditions as well as Kwela music of South Africa.
- Techniques to enhance performance, including rolls, taps, cuts, slides, trills and vibrato.
- Playing by ear vs. reading music, and simple tablature.
- For further growth and study: recommended tutorials and method books, online resources, etc.