Armagh Pipers Club has provided Irish traditional music education since 1966. For 2020-21, it offers 31 courses, covering eight instruments and singing, at up to four levels. You can register here. For the duration of the current pandemic, the classes are all online. The first term (September-December 2020) consists of ten lessons and costs £100, with discounts as follows: two students from the same household £175, three £225, four or more £275. The second term (same cost) runs from January to Easter, and the short third term, to mid-June, is free of charge for all students.
The first-term courses mostly consist of seven recorded lessons, with three interactive Zoom classes at which tutors will monitor progress and provide individual instruction. For some groups there are six recorded and four live lessons, and there will be additional online activities such as concerts by visiting artists. The possibility of returning to face-to-face classes will be reassessed at the end of term.
All recorded classes will be released on Mondays and hosted on this website, linked from the Student Area. You will be provided with a log-in that will allow you to watch each recording as often as you like, pausing and replaying. For the Zoom classes, you will receive an e-mail link a few days before the class. The Zoom classes will all take place at 7pm or 8pm on a Monday or Tuesday.
For accordion, concertina and tin whistle, classes will be provided at four levels. Level 1 is for complete beginners; it would be best if the student could have a little extra instruction early on from someone who can play the instrument, to get a better understanding of how to hold and look after the instrument. Level 2 is for junior students who have been playing for at least year or two, so they will have a few tunes learned off. Level 3 is for intermediate students, roughly at Grade 4 in terms of the LCM exam structure. Level 4 is for advanced students, LCM Grade 6 and above.
For banjo, fiddle, flute, harp and uilleann pipes, the complexity of the instrument means that it is very difficult for complete beginners to learn with internet-based lessons. For the time being, we can only offer these instruments at Levels 2, 3 and 4. As restrictions ease, we hope to be able to bring back beginner classes at some point.
We also offer adult tin whistle classes, aimed at Level 1 or 2. Students who have moved beyond that level are welcome to join the adult session multi-instrument classes, open to anyone who can play jigs and reels.
Finally, we offer junior singing classes (Level 1/2) and advanced singing (Level 3/4).
All our classes are provided by experienced tutors, most of whom have been with the Pipers Club for years. Class sizes are kept small to ensure individual attention in the Zoom lessons and, when circumstasnces permit, face-to-face.
The Club facilitates access to the London College of Music examination system, enabling students to gain formal qualifications which can count towards third-level entrance points.