Learning to play – Folk Fiddle

The violin/ fiddle is one of the most popular instruments for playing traditional folk music. It is lightweight, portable, and with a wide range of quality instruments easily available. Lessons with Becky will help get you off to the right start in your fiddle playing aiming to get you started on your first tune within a month of getting going.

Lessons are offered at the following stages of fiddle playing:

  • Complete Beginner
  • Intermediate/Improvers
  • Advanced

Beginners:
Beginners lessons focus on establishing the basics of good fiddle technique:-

  • Posture and hand positioning.
  • Basic scales, finger position and tuning.
  • Basic bowing techniques.
  • Your first tune.
  • Introduction to Ornamentation – the basics.
  • Traditional tune types and styles.

This will help you make quick progress and establish a solid basis when you move ahead to Intermediate/Improvers and Advanced levels:

  • Increasing Repertoire (more tunes!)
  • Tips and tricks.
  • More complex ornamentation types (‘rolls’, ‘crans’, triplets and more!)
  • Developing your style.
  • Playing with others and in sessions.
  • How to ‘practise’ and improve your playing.
  • Preparing for performance.

Contact becky@beckytaylor.info or here for further details and to arrange your lesson

Learning the Tin Whistle

The tin whistle is one of the easiest and cheapest ways to get started playing traditional folk music. It is lightweight, portable, easy to play and get hold of as well as being available in many different keys. Learning the whistle can be a stepping stone to other instruments such as the Flute or Uilleann pipes. Lessons with Becky will help get you off to the right start aiming to get you started on your first tune at the first lesson.

Lessons are offered at the following stages of whistle playing:

  • Complete Beginner
  • Intermediate/Improvers
  • Advanced

Beginners:
Beginners lessons focus on establishing the basics of good whistle technique:-

  • Essential techniques to get you started.
  • Basic fingering.
  • Venturing into the upper octave.
  • Breathing and tuning.
  • Posture and hand positioning.
  • Dealing with squeaks and leaks!
  • Your first tune.
  • Introduction to Ornamentation – the basics.
  • Irish traditional tune types and styles.

This will help you make quick progress and establish a solid basis when you move ahead to Intermediate/Improvers and Advanced levels:

  • Increasing Repertoire (more tunes!)
  • Tips and tricks.
  • More complex ornamentation types (‘rolls’, ‘crans’, triplets and more!)
  • Developing your style.
  • Playing with others and in sessions.
  • How to ‘practise’ and improve your playing.
  • Preparing for performance.
  • Moving on to other instruments

Contact becky@beckytaylor.info or here for further details and to arrange your lesson

Learning the Northumbrian Smallpipes

The Northumbrian Smallpipes (NSP) are unique amongst British bagpipes having a closed chanter which gives rise to its characteristic staccato sound. NSP come in a variety of pitches, and have a rich and unique repertoire as well as a pleasing tone which makes them particularly suitable for indoor/home practise and playing in duets with other instruments. Becky will help get you off to a good start aiming to get you playing your first tune within a month of getting going.

Lessons are offered at the following stages of piping:-

Northumbrian Smallpipes played by Becky Taylor made by Colin Ross
  • Complete Beginner
  • Intermediate/Improvers
  • Advanced

Beginners:
Beginners lessons focus on establishing the basics of good piping technique:-

  • Essential Bag and Bellows technique.
  • Basic fingering and scales.
  • Keys
  • Drones and tuning.
  • Posture and hand positioning.
  • Dealing with squeaks and leaks!
  • Your first tune.

This will help you make quick progress and establish a solid basis when you move ahead to Intermediate/Improvers and Advanced levels:

  • Increasing Repertoire (more tunes!)
  • Tips and tricks.
  • Ornamentation.
  • Developing your style.
  • Pipe fettling! How to keep your pipes in good playing condition.
  • How to ‘practise’ and improve your playing.
  • Preparing for performance.

Contact becky@beckytaylor.info for further details and to arrange your lesson

Learning the Uilleann (Irish) Pipes

The Uilleann pipes are one of the most highly developed (complicated!) of all bagpipes, with a chanter sounding two full octaves, as well as drones and regulators. If you aspire to become an Uilleann (Irish) piper then lessons with Becky will help get you off to the right start aiming to get you playing your first tune within a month of getting going.

Lessons are offered at the following stages of piping:

Uilleann Irish pipe lessons
  • Complete Beginner
  • Intermediate/Improvers
  • Advanced

Beginners:
Beginners lessons focus on establishing the basics of good piping technique:-

  • Essential Bag and Bellows technique.
  • Basic fingering, ‘on’ and ‘off’ the knee scales.
  • Venturing into the upper octave.
  • Drones and tuning.
  • Posture and hand positioning.
  • Dealing with squeaks and leaks!
  • Your first tune.
  • Introduction to Ornamentation – the basics.
  • Irish traditional tune types and styles.

This will help you make quick progress and establish a solid basis when you move ahead to Intermediate/Improvers and Advanced levels:

  • Increasing Repertoire (more tunes!)
  • Tips and tricks.
  • More complex ornamentation types (‘rolls’, ‘crans’, triplets and more!)
  • Developing your style.
  • Introducing the regulators.
  • Pipe fettling! Basic pipe maintenance..
  • How to ‘practise’ and improve your playing.
  • Preparing for performance

Concert or Flat Pitch pipes catered for.

Contact becky@beckytaylor.info for further details and to arrange your lesson

Current Teaching Rates

Lessons for all instruments are offered in slots of 1 hour or 30 minutes in Sowerby Bridge, West Yorkshire, via Skype, or at your home (if required) with a small additional charge to cover time and travel costs.

DBS cleared and insured – certificate available on request.

One hour – £28

Half hour – £18

Discounts for multi-instrument lessons available. Although all lessons are strictly by appointment only we offer weekend, evening and daytime slots to suit your schedule – please contact becky@beckytaylor.info or contact us here to discuss your requirements.


ROOTS ALIVE! in Garforth!

Delighted to be a part of the ROOTS ALIVE concert on Saturday the 23rd March 2019. An afternoon performance of music with the Arts Live Folk Band following a series of workshops in March 2019 with the Irish Arts Foundation. Also featuring the Leeds Fiddle Folk Group!

Roadfrog

A reel in G minor for Northumbrian Smallpipes

When Colin Ross made my Boxwood 17-key chanter he asked me “do you really want a Bb key?” Apparently they are awkward to make and he was concerned that I wouldn’t make best use of it. I insisted that I did, because playing in G minor on the Northumbrian Smallpipes is one of my favourite keys for the instrument. My set is in ‘F’ which means this actually comes out in F minor when it’s played.

Colin Ross 17-key boxwood and brass Northumbrian Smallpipe chanter

Time to fettle the Northumbrian Smallpipes…

The sun is shining, the bees are buzzing (amazingly for February!) and so were the Northumbrian Smallpipes after some rather overdue ‘fettling’.

All piping (Uilleann, Northumbrian or otherwise) involves a certain amount of ‘fettling’ especially when the weather/seasons change, which can play havoc with your tuning if it happens suddenly and catches you unawares. Brass and metal work were polished, bores were oiled, bindings were re-hemped as required, and drone reeds tweaked, flicked and generally faffed with!
A day or two devoted to maintaining them every now and then is well worth the effort – you just have to be in the right mood to tackle the 17-key chanters with the polishing cloth…

Northumbrian Smallpipes by Colin Ross and Dave McQuade

Pictured above are my trusty Colin Ross Boxwood and brass 17-Key F set, and Andy May concert G chanter, and a lovely wee 16-Key G set by Dave McQuade in Blackwood and Nickel Silver. Both beautiful, but completely different beasts in tone and character. Dave McQuade taught me to play way back in the early 80’s so I am delighted and honoured to play a set that he has made.