Do you love music but never got around to learning? Are you looking to learn a new skill this year? Waltons and Waltons New School of Music have everything you need to get started, from beginners instruments to online music lessons, from the comfort of your own home.
All you will need to kickstart your online learning experience with our courses starting this January is the following.
- An internet-connected laptop, computer, tablet or smartphone. (A laptop or computer with webcam and microphone is recommended, as it will have the largest picture.)
- Ideally, internet speed at least 1.5Mb per second. (You can test your speed using Measurement Lab’s Speed Test.)
- Headphones or earbuds, if possible.
- Free Zoom software or app.*
That’s it. Sound ideal, but still not sure what you would like to learn or where to start?
Take a look at just a handful of our courses available online below and let us talk you through everything you will need to get started.
- Introducing Bodhran
The bodhrán, a wood and goatskin drum beaten with a wooden stick, is the heartbeat of traditional Irish music. Designed for absolute beginners this course is available as a group course online. Waltons New School of Music’s Introducing Bodhrán course has taught hundreds of people how to play this great Irish instrument. By the end of the course, you will have the confidence to play a variety of Irish traditional rhythms and accompany other instruments, both solo and in sessions.
The course includes the following elements:
- Holding the bodhrán
- Holding the beater
- Basic strokes and variations
- Reel and jig patterns
- Other traditional rhythms (polkas, hornpipes, slip jigs, etc.)
- Left-hand technique and varying the pitch of your bodhrán
- Bodhrán care and maintenance
Participants of this online course will need to have bodhráns (ideally at least 16-inch and tuneable) and beaters for both classes and practise. See below for a list of recommended bodhráns.
- Waltons 16″ Tuneable Bodhrán • Dark Mahogany
- Waltons 16″ Tuneable Bodhrán • Ebony
- Waltons 18″ Tuneable Bodhrán • Dark Mahogany
- Waltons 18″ Tuneable Bodhrán • Ebony
- McBrides 16″ Pro Bodhrán Cover
- McBrides 18″ Pro Bodhrán Cover
2. Introducing Guitar for Adults
Designed for absolute beginners and one of the Waltons New School of Music’s most popular courses, Introducing Guitar for Adults offers a comprehensive and enjoyable introduction to the guitar and what it can do. Students begin with basic left- and right-hand technique, and classes then progress through a varied and interesting repertoire – including folk, pop and rock songs – while students develop a range of guitar skills. The Guitar for Adults course has given hundreds of adult beginners an impressive grasp of guitar fundamentals.
Online course participants will need to have either steel-string acoustic guitars or nylon-string ‘classical’ guitars for both classes and practice. See our recommended guitars below, all available to order online through waltons.ie Most participants taking this course will use steel-string acoustic guitars. There are many of these available, but the following instruments, all available from Waltons Music, are recommended for their quality and affordability:
- Fender CD60S Dreadnought Acoustic Guitar
- Lag T170D Acoustic Guitar
- SX SD204 Dreadnought Acoustic Guitar
- Takamine GD20-NS Dreadnought Guitar
- CNB 1680 Series Dreadnought Acoustic Guitar Cover
Worried about being able to tune your own guitar at home? See our advice and information on tuning your guitar here.
3. Introducing Piano/Keyboard for Beginners
Designed for absolute beginners and now available Online, Waltons New School of Music’s Introducing Piano/Keyboard for Adults course encourages the development of each student’s abilities in an atmosphere of relaxed concentration. Students learn the fundamentals of keyboard technique – as well as basic music theory, sight-reading and chordal accompaniment – while progressing through a varied and interesting repertoire that ranges from classical to pop. The course has introduced hundreds of adult beginners to the basics of playing piano.
Online course participants will need to have acoustic pianos, digital pianos or electronic keyboards. An acoustic or digital piano is strongly recommended, as both have ‘weighted’ keys. (See a just a few of our Recommended Digital Piano bundle options and accessories below.) For more information and advise on choosing the right piano for you please email email@example.com
4. INTRODUCING SINGING FOR ADULTS
Do you love to sing? Have you ever been told that you had a good voice and ‘must get it trained’? Would you like to know what actually goes on in singing lessons? Featured on RTÉ Radio One’s ‘Morning Ireland’ programme and one of Waltons New School of Music’s most popular courses, Introducing Singing for Adults is designed to take some of the mystery out of singing, improve your confidence in singing before an audience and introduce you to the fundamentals of voice training. Along with a small group of like-minded adults, you will observe and participate in basic singing tuition. You will learn how to choose songs (from a range of musical styles) that suit you and your voice. And you will begin to explore the technical side of singing, discovering the application and use of Focus and Support. (We will also discuss how to work with a voice/singing teacher to achieve your singing goals.) But most of all you will learn – in a relaxed and supportive environment – to sing with and in front of others. For those who want a basic understanding of technique, as well as for those who want to begin a lifetime of study (Pavarotti took a singing lesson every week for most of his life!), this course is the perfect introduction to the singer’s art.
Please note that while it is designed to build confidence, Introducing Singing for Adults is not a course for the timid. You will be asked to sing separately and in front of others on a weekly basis!
5. Introducing Tin Whistle
A simple tube of metal with six finger-holes, the Irish tin whistle has an expressive range that can encompass everything from the speed and excitement of dance music to the haunting and emotionally-charged expression of slow airs. Wooden and bird-bone whistles a thousand years old have been found in excavations of Viking Dublin, and today’s tin whistle is only the most recent in a long line of whistles in Ireland.
Designed for absolute beginners and taught by a renowned whistle player and educator, this online version of Waltons New School of Music’s Introducing Tin Whistle course teaches all the the basics of whistle-playing, covering such aspects as tonguing, vibrato and slurring, and including some ornamentation and variation. Students will concentrate on slow airs, jigs and polkas, but other forms may be touched on as well. Also covered are some aspects of the history of the instrument and the music played on it.
Course participants will need to have ‘D’ tin whistles for both classes and practise.
There are many tin whistle available, but the following are recommended for their quality and affordability. (Regarding the Waltons Mellow D Tin Whistle, it has a wider bore than standard tin whistles, making it easier to play without overblowing.)
- Waltons Mellow D Tin Whistle
- Generation Brass D Tin Whistle
- Tony Dixon DX001 One-Piece Soprano D Whistle
6. Introducing Ukulele for Adults
The ukulele has come a long way from when it was first introduced to Hawaii in 1879. Today it’s one of the most popular instruments in the world – and with good reason. It is accessible, rewarding and beautifully versatile.
Designed for absolute beginners, Waltons New School of Music’s Introducing Ukulele for Adults course is the ideal way to kick start your uke playing. Students will learn fundamental techniques, chords, strumming patterns and fingerstyle in a fun and supportive group setting. Everything is taught through popular music (pop, rock and folk), and by the end of the course you will not only have the necessary skills to play the songs you love, you will have already started doing so!
Participants will need to have good quality concert or soprano ukuleles. There are many ukuleles available, but the following instruments are recommended for their quality and affordability:
See HERE for our advice and links for tuning your ukulele at home.
7. Introducing Violin for adults
Let’s start by getting rid of the myth: if you want to play the violin you don’t have to start at an early age. True, if you want to be the next Maxim Vengerov, Anne-Sophie Mutter or Nigel Kennedy it helps if you begin quite young, but at Waltons New School of Music we believe that students at any age can learn to play the violin, and play it well. All it takes is time…and commitment.
Designed especially for adult beginners, the New School’s Introducing Violin for Adults course covers a range of essential skills, including posture, holding the violin and bow, basic technique, scales, pieces and ensemble playing. Classes, though relaxed and enjoyable, are designed to build your skills methodically and thoroughly. By the end of the course you will have learned some essentials of reading and performing music on this magnificent instrument.
Online course participants will need to have violins, shoulder rests (Wolf Forte Secondo rests are recommended) and a microfiber cloth (for cleaning rosin from violins – available in most supermarkets) for classes and practise, as well as music books outlined by their course teacher before the course begins.
If students don’t already have instruments the following reasonably-priced student violin outfit, available from Waltons Music, is recommended for this course:
Martini Student Plus Violin Outfit
(Includes bow, case, digital tuner and spare strings.)
For information about setting up and tuning your violin, please contact us for all available options.
8. Music Fundamentals
An Online Introduction to Music Theory
Learning to read music, a vital first step in any musical education, needn’t be intimidating. Waltons New School of Music’s Music Fundamentals I and II courses together introduce the essentials of reading and writing musical notation, as well as elementary musical grammar, to music-reading beginners and improvers. Students learn the basics and more (treble and bass clefs, note values, time and key signatures, scale construction, frequently used terms and signs). While a lot of ground is covered each week and homework given, the courses are both enjoyable and student-friendly. Music Fundamentals I and II are recommended as supplemental courses for anyone beginning an instrument at the New School – whether classical, traditional, jazz or popular – as well as for students who are already singing or playing an instrument but haven’t learned to read music, or who need a refresher course.
Participants in this online course should purchase the following materials (available from Waltons Music or most good music shops) before the first class:
- Eric Taylor: The AB Guide to Music Theory, Part 1
- ABRSM Music Theory in Practice, Grade 1 (for Music Fundamentals I) or
- Music Theory in Practice, Grade 2 (for Music Fundamentals II)
- A spiral-bound A4 music manuscript book
9. Sight Singing Made Easy
Sight singing is the skill of turning written music into sound (and song), by making sense of such elements as rhythm, intervals, key signatures and phrasing. Anyone who has ever studied voice or sung in a choir knows the importance of sight singing. But it is a valuable skill for all musicians to develop, since it will vastly improve your ability to read music at sight, as well as your pitch sense and rhythmical accuracy.
Waltons New School of Music’s Sight Singing Made Easy course combines essential music theory (treble and bass clefs, notes and note values, time signatures, frequently used terms and signs) with a practical approach to sight singing informed by the music education philosophies of Zoltán Kodály (1882-1967).
The course will simultaneously develop your music reading skills and practical sight singing – incorporating such elements as pitch, tuning, rhythm and solfège (do-re-mi, etc.). And you will learn to use ‘inner hearing’ to picture how notes sound without actually hearing them. Once your aural skills are developed, sight singing at the correct pitch becomes simple.
While a lot of ground is covered each week and homework given, the approach is both enjoyable and student-friendly. This course is for anyone who has ever wanted to pick up a song or a piece of sheet music and sing. It’s easier than you think!
Participating students should purchase An Introduction to Sight Singing, Part 1 by A. Forbes Milne, as well as an A4 music manuscript book before the first class.
10. Introducing Music Technology
Introducing Music Technology is an inexpensive, practical, hands‐on course designed to teach absolute beginners how a computer/laptop and free music production software can be used to produce professional-quality recordings at home.
Working at your own PC or laptop, you will receive an essential online introduction to home recording and music production through a variety of exercises and tasks. You will learn about:
- DAWs or Digital Audio Workstations, the core components of any home studio set-up, which allow users to record, edit and produce music. We will use two freely-available DAWs – Pro Tools First and Reaper – to demonstrate just how much is possible. We can also accommodate users of Ableton Live, Cubase LE and Reason Essentials – three inexpensive software packages – if participants have access to these.
- Audio Interfaces and correct recording levels.
- Microphones & Recording. Microphone types, techniques and positioning for vocal, guitar and instrumental recording. If you do not own microphones or an interface, audio tracks and samples will be provided for you to work with.
- Sequencing & Editing. Sequencing musical parts into an arrangement, effectively turning your PC/laptop into a multi-track recorder.
- The Musical Spectrum. EQ bands and their musical relevance.
- Sampling and editing loops to create new sounds.
- Mixing & Effects. Achieving the all-important final mix, using built-in mixers, inexpensive effects plug-ins and dynamic processors.
- Audio Mastering. Attenuating loudness levels to optimise a mix for digital streaming and reproduction.
At the end of the course you will have a professional-quality studio mix of the material you’ve been working on, and participants are free to produce their own songs and compositions throughout the course. Although participants should have a working knowledge of Windows or macOS X operating systems, no previous musical training, knowledge of music technology or ability to read music is necessary.
Introducing Music Technology is one of the New School’s online group courses. We also offer private lessons in a wide range of music technology subjects. See Music Technology Tuition for more information.
For more information on our wide range of courses available online or for further information on any of the courses outlined above please contact us and we will be happy to advise you. For information on any of the instruments outlined or for advise on the right instrument for you please email firstname.lastname@example.org