Bodhran Lesson 1 - How To Hold And The Basic Stroke

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hello Brian Fleming here for online

Academy of Irish music so today we're

looking at how to hold the drum how to

hold a stick so I'm gonna put this baton

on my left leg now I'm right handed so

the Baron will sit on my left knee and

I'll have my knee down low enough but I

can be over the drum to have control on

it I'm gonna use the lower part of my

left arm down below the elbow against

the wood against the rim of the drum and

then I'm gonna place my hand inside the

drum on the skin now I like to leave

just a little bit of the edge of my

thumb the tips of my fingers on the drum

just to take the ring out of the sound

we're going to look at a lot of

different positions for the hand in

later lessons

that's kind of my default position if

you like the drum sits on my knee it's

straight out and straight up and the

reason I have it like that is so that

every time I go back to the drum it's in

the same position and gradually my right

hand will develop some muscle memory

remembering where the drum is and will

know when I go to hit it in different

places those places will always be the

same place not out there we're in here

okay that's the Baron sitting on my knee

on the other hand I have the stick some

people call it a tipper some people call

it a beater or a kipping where I come

from we call it a stick because that's

what it is so we're gonna take this

stick holding it like a pin now I'm

holding it around about the center a

little higher up I like to hold it a

little higher than the center some

people hold it a little lower down you

will find marks on the stick very often

and barrel makers put these little bumps

here thinking that it'll be helpful for


very often it isn't if it is helpful for

you we all means use it if not just

ignore it so I had to stick like a pen

now I'm writing on the air in front of

me and then I take the name of the pen

the writing end turn it in towards me

from there take it in towards me and I

have it up under my chin and I got a

strike from my chin hit the room and

finish out by my knee and back up by

going from my chin head to my right knee

and back up nice strike again on the way

back up down up and you'll find

initially that you might have a stronger

beat on your down stroke so you might

have to compensate a little bit and try

and make them balance out

see if you can follow my pace okay good

take a little break

you're gonna put down the stick for one

second and I want you to show me the

back of your hand like this now we're

gonna wait the back your hand up and

down like that like you're trying to

shake water off your hand

so we're shaking it nice and loose the

object of this is to get that looseness

that waving feeling with your hand and I

want you to slowly without changing the

movement bring your hand in towards the

drum take it back out again and back in

again and back out again

don't worry too much about the sound we

just want to keep that movement the same


and last time okay pick up the stick

again remember like a pen and then turn

the writing end in towards yourself up

to your chin but before we hit the drum

let's get that waving movement again so

when you play the drum this time don't

worry too much about staying in time

with me we just want to get the movement

right so you want that nice loose

movement if we can get that then when we

play we won't have a

stiffs and for rhythm we can have a

loose swing II feel and also we can play

for longer and faster with their getting

tired so we want that waving relaxed

feeling in the wrist here we go

gonna try and bring it into the drum


once again we just take it out see how

it feels

bring it back into the drum very good

let's try that together this time we'll

see if we can keep time together

I'm gonna pick up the pace a little bit

after 4:00 we're gonna stop 1 2 3 4 stop

very good so you've got holding the drum

holding the stick and we have the basic

stroke there's another free sample

lesson after this and we'll look at

reels and jigs thanks very much welcome

back to online Academy of Irish music

this is the second by round sample

lesson so so far we know how to put the

drum on our knee and we know how to hold

a stick and we have a nice fluid stroke

so now we're going to look at the

difference between reels and jigs

there's many different types of Irish

dancers and types of Irish dance music

wheels and jigs are the most common and

if we can master them then we have the

rudiments we need to play mazurkas

polkas hornpipes slip jigs slides all

the other types of dances so let's hold

the stick like a pen

turn the pen in towards ourselves or

waving the stick and we bring it in

towards the drum we have a nice fluid


and now we're gonna try a real so real

is in 4/4 time but that means for us

when we're playing so we're gonna be

playing an accented beat a lighter beat

on the first beat of every four follow

the pulse so we're gonna go 1 2 3 4 1 2

3 4 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 maybe a little

slower just to start 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 1 2

3 4 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 that's it

keep that fluid motion with the arm yeah

and see if you can make sure that only

the 1 is accented so you don't want an

accent on all your down strokes just the

ones with 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 1 2 3

4 and the other beats are of equal

volume to each other 1 2 3 1 2 3 4 2 3 &

4 all the same volume 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 1

2 3 4 1 2 3 4 when you're starting off

very often you'll find all your down

strokes are louder than all your up

strokes you have something sound like



so be careful we just want the accent on

the 1 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 1

2 3 4 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 after 4 wheel stop

1 2 3 4 ok good so you can get that some

time yourself make sure you have that

nice fluid motion in the wrist and also

make sure that only the 1 is accented

might be a tendency to accent the 3 as

well just watch out for that alright now

we're gonna take a look at the jigs as

well so jigs are in 6/8 time the very

same technique we just used on the reel

down up down up down up swing the stick

nicely but we're going to put an accent

a louder beat on the first one of every

6 my hand at the back remember from the

first lesson I'm just leaving my thumb

and tips of my fingers just to take the

ring off the tone on the drum now 1 2 3

4 5 6 1 2 3 4 5 6 1 2 3 4 5 6 1 2 3 4 5



and up and one two three four five six

you might find this little bit harder

most of the music we listen to is in 4/4

time popular music and stuff on the

radio I take a pill getting used to

playing at 6 beats 1 2 3 4 5 6 1 2 3 4 5

6 1 2 3 4 5 6 1 2 3 4 5 6 1 2 3 4 5 6 1

2 3 4 5 6 ok so if we hear a piece of

music how will we know whether it's a

real or a jig I'm just gonna revisit the

jig for a second when I play the jig 1 2

3 4 5 6 1 2 3 4 5 6 most of the time I

will accent not just the one but also

the 4 now we'd be looking at that once

we start into the next lessons