How I Got Musically UNSTUCK!

by MichelleStewart on August 1, 2011

Practicing my fiddle

Hey everyone,

I’m here at my mum’s place on the Bras d’Or Lakes in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia and it’s just been a cracker of a day. I’m into my second week of teaching bodhran at the Gaelic College and I was so inspired after an awesome day of lessons and ‘a-ha’ moments that I found some time to get my fiddle out to practice tonight.

I have to tell you though, I’m not great on fiddle yet, but I’m getting better with instruction from my amazing teacher, Dara MacDonald. When I’m in Scotland Dara gets up at 6 a.m. Nova Scotia time to give me a Skype fiddle lesson at 10 a.m. Scotland time. I’m really grateful she does because she then goes off to teach a full day of school followed by more Skype lessons at night.

I am writing this to tell any of you who are thinking about learning a musical instrument, whether it’s bodhran, fiddle or whatever you’re passionate about, and you’ve been looking for a teacher in your area, that there’s never been a better time to learn. You don’t need to have someone in person, locally, to teach you anymore so there’s NO EXECUSES.

I can personally vouch for Skype or video lessons. It’s an amazing gift to give to yourself. I turned 40 this year and this is one of the things that I’m giving to myself. I’ve always wanted to play the fiddle, and for years I’ve just been transferring over pipe tunes I knew and hit a plateau where I taught myself all I could. I definitely needed help if I wanted to get better. I know I probably won’t ever get to the point of recording a fiddle cd or anything like that, but I just get so much joy out of playing it and I love the music.

I admit, I don’t really get alot of time to practice, but it fills me up. So, if you’re like me, and there’s something you’ve always wanted to learn, I want to tell you that you are NEVER TOO OLD and it’s NEVER TOO LATE to learn.

Life is too short to not do the things you want to do.

~ Michelle

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Video Library

by MichelleStewart on October 27, 2011

I’m in the process of gathering some of my students’ favorite bodhran videos for you to listen to and learn from as well as playing along with. So, no more excuses for not knowing what to practice during your 10 Minutes A Day Practice Challenge.

I’ll be posting more videos here on a regular basis so please send me the link to any of your own favourites in the comment section below.

You know I love to hear from you so feel free to leave a comment about any of the videos or how you’re doing in your bodhran journey.

Drum On!

~ Michelle

Donnchadh Gough

Moving Hearts – Live In Dublin – The Lark on MUZU.TV.
Moving Hearts – Live In Dublin – The Lark

The History of the Bodhran 1973-1982

John Joe Kelly

Steafan Hannigan

Lucy Randall

Johnny ‘Ringo’ McDonagh

Jim Sutherland

Jim Higgins

Cormac Byrne plays bodhran at Craiceann in Inisheer 2010

Beoga – Eamon Murray

Mance Grady bodhran solo from 2007 CCCF

Robbie Walsh

Tommy Hayes demonstrates his Bodhran Technique with and without beater.

This video is one that inspired many to learn bodhran so it’s only appropriate to post it here.

Some truly amazing bodhran playing by Martin O’Neill.

In this soaring demonstration, deaf percussionist Evelyn Glennie illustrates how listening to music involves much more than simply letting sound waves hit your eardrums.

Rocky Road to Dublin – Kelly Family + Chieftains

Billie Jean on the bodhran by Tad Sargent

Documentary featuring Seamus O’Kane and Rolf Wagels

Cormac Byrne

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I Officially Have Bodhran ‘Tipper Envy’ – Part 1

by MichelleStewart on August 13, 2012

(August 2012) Back in Scotland after three weeks home in Cape Breton. I had the most amazing week with my bodhran students at the Gaelic College.

We had a bit of a BodhranExpert Platinum members reunion with drummers flying and driving in from Ireland, California, Ontario, Manitoba, New Hampshire, South Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania as well as locals from the Maritimes.

Lots of photos still to come from that, but I am really excited to share this incredible tipper collection with you. I have huge ‘tipper envy’ for my friend Lauraileen O’Connor’s bodhran tipper collection.


Tipper Collection (1st Half)

The tippers in the photo are numbered so you can see who made it below. Most names are hyperlinked to take you directly to the maker’s site.

1. Valentin at Craiceann (Aislin Ceoil on FB)
2. Don’t remember who made it but it was made for Craiceann 2011
3. Allan Collison at Craiceann
4. Allen Kirkpatrick of Bethesda Woodworks
5. Christian Hedwitshak
6. Ben March
7. Neil Lyons
8. Falconwood Tippers Robbie Walsh edition
9. Falconwood Tippers
10. Christian Hedwitshak
11. Belgarth???
12. Falconwood Tippers
13. Allen Kirkpatrick of BethesdaWoodworks
14. ChristianHedwitshak
15. Christian Hedwitshak
16. ???
17. Falconwood Tippers
18. Glenn Stout
19. Falconwood Tippers
20. ChristianHedwitshak
21. ChristianHedwitshak
22. ChristianHedwitshak
23. Brian’s Bodhran Beaters (made from the wood of table damage in a fire – still has a burn mark on it!)

I was lucky enough to get a brief try with most of these and realized it’s time to invest in a few new beaters myself. This is only HALF OF THE COLLECTION. Click here to see the 2nd Half.

Can you do me a favour? Could you please leave a comment if you have any of these and share what you think of them so others can benefit from your first hand experience.

Also feel free to add any information you might have about the unknown make and contact info for any of the names not linked to a maker’s website or Facebook page.

Lastly don’t forget you can click  the Facebook ‘Recommend’ button below to share this collection with any of your friends.

Keep Calm and Drum On!

~ Michelle


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I Officially Have Bodhran Tipper Envy – Part 2

by MichelleStewart on August 31, 2012

(Aug 2012) Check out the other half of my friend Lauraileen’s bodhran tipper collection that she brought to the Gaelic College this year. It was certainly fun playing around with them.

I wish I could have seen my own face when I tried number 10. It’s not just incredibly cool to look at either. It sounds like nothing else I’ve ever tried before so I’ll definitely be ordering myself one of those funky little numbers. In fact, I think I’ll start making up my bodhran tipper Christmas wish list and conveniently leave it where my husband is sure to see it.


Tipper Collection 2nd Half

1. Albert Alfonso
2.Brian’s Beaters T-Rod
3.From the music store in Doolin, Co. Clare, Ireland
4.Brian’s Beaters
5.Albert Alfonso
6.Albert Alfonso
7.David Robson Woolly Top at Craiceann
8.Falconwood Tippers
9.Brian’s Beaters T-Rod
10.David Robson Acrylic Top Clicker at Craiceann
11.Falconwood Tippers
12.Allen Kirkpatrick of Bethesda Woodworks
13.Brendan White Clicker
14.Brendan White
15.Allan Collison at Craiceann
16.Christian Hedwitshak Snakewood
17.Cormac Byrne  Bodhrod – Blayne Chastain uses this on his online Bodhran course 

If you haven’t seen the first half of the collection yet click here.

AND, as always, I love it when you share info about your tippers, where you got them and your own tipper stories. It’s a great help to everyone else who is thinking about investing in some new tippers too.

The posts left under Part 1 (1st Half Of the Collection) were super so thanks to everyone who took the time to contribute there.

Please leave a comment below to add your two cents on tippers and feel free to click the Facebook ‘recommend’ or Twitter ‘tweet this’ buttons to share this post with your bodhran playing friends.

Keep calm and drum on.

~ Michelle



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Bodhran Tippers Of The World-Part 1

by MichelleStewart on April 3, 2013

A few months ago I asked the bodhran community to send me photos of their tipper collections, big or small.

The goal was simply to share our mutual passion for bodhran and possibly even enlighten others about tippers from around the world.

I figured I’d get a good response, but I didn’t anticipate quite so many entries so I’ve had to break the album down into parts to showcase the collections best.

So, here it is, Part 1 of the ‘Tippers Of The World’ album.  If you’ve sent me your photo, but don’t see it here yet don’t worry. It will be featured in an upcoming release.

Enjoy the wealth of information shared here, but please don’t feel like you need to rush out and buy twenty new tippers. Many of the larger collections have grown over the years, but all you need is one really good tipper to get started.

With that said, if you’re looking for a new tipper I suspect these collections and accompanying descriptions will be extremely helpful.

Drum On!

~ Michelle

                                    Part 1

Savage, Minnesota, USA

Below from left are my 2 JJ Speed tippers Crüe first in white maple and the second kingwood. They are the 2 that I use almost exclusively for practice and playing. The third is a Merlin’s Key made of ebony. Fourth is an ebony Shorty for single ended play with the top butt nestled in the center of my palm. The are all made by Brian of Brian’s Bodhran beaters. The 5th one you see you might want to go ask Cameron as I dare not speak his name. :)

Brian McGill – Savage, Minnesota, USA

A few months later (tipper collection grown since sending in first pic) Below from left to right

  1. Bell n Ball: Maple
  2. Shorty: Ebony
  3. Merlin’s Key: Ebony
  4. JJs Speed: Maple
  5. Gordon’s Spike: Maple
  6. JJs Speed: Kingwood

Then next 4 are my own design that I have been working with Brian LeTourneau on, so he is making modifications as I ask. He has called this design the ‘mcgill’

  • 1: Burmese Teak mcgill
  • 2: Lignum Vitae mcgill
  • 3: Red Teak mcgill
  • 4: Maple (this was the original and Brian inserted a metal slug in the end for balance. I think a little too forward balanced myself)

The last one on the right I don’t know the name of, nor do I know the wood. I cannot even remember where I picked it up. ~ Brian


Mariposa, California, USA

From left to right, they are (in the order I obtained them):

  1. The generic tipper that came with my first bodhran, a Pakistani special
  2. A no-name-brand knob tipper I purchased from a folk music store (it was the only kind they had in stock)
  3. A Hedwitschak SW3
  4. A homemade bamboo rod tipper
  5. A Hedwitschak NEF3.

The NEF3 is my favorite because of its balance, punch, and versatility. It is a dream to play with. The homemade rod tipper also plays very well, despite its stocky appearance; I believe I got the idea for it from your YouTube videos. I was initially very fond of the SW3 tipper, but have since found that it is somewhat too light for my playing style — if I ordered from the same SW line today, I would go for the SW6 or SW7. And, believe it or not, the el Cheapo Pakistani tipper gets a fair share of use, too; it’s actually pretty nimble. Kind regards,

Chris Coyle – Mariposa, California, USA

Derbyshire, UK, now Oklahoma City, USA

Michelle – here’s my tipper photo. I have a few ‘firewood’ ones that I absolutely never use so I didn’t include those. Tipper listing left to right:

Hotrods 1-6 self made:

  1. Bamboo skewers – Niell Lyons style (great on the SOK bodhran)
  2. “Fat Lad” hotrod – Thick centre oak dowel with 3/16th inch hardwood dowels (designed specifically for my Belgarth – packs a real punch)
  3. “Slim Jim” – thin centre oak dowel with hardwood dowels (slightly longer- good swishy/clicky sound)
  4. 3/16th Hardwood dowels double ended. (Newly made – not played it yet)
  5. 3/16th Hardwood dowels – single ended. (Good all round ‘clicky’ hotrod)
  6. ‘Half’n'Half’ hotrod – bamboo skewers with four 3/16th dowels.
  7. Snakewood – (Eoin Leonard – Belgarth) – My favourite tipper
  8. Snakewood – (Falconwood Tippers)
  9. Ebony drumstick style (Falconwood Tippers) – custom-made, a cross between the Robbie Walsh and Colm Phelan Signature models.
  10. Hammer brass insert tipper in cocobolo wood (Whistle and Drum) – great for slow reels, hornpipes, marches where you need to give a real punch.
  11. Paint brush – rich two-tone sound (brushy and pop)
  12. Ebony tipper (eBay purchase) Hand turned by a chap in N.Ireland. Weighty tipper, sounds great on my Vignoles 18″.
  13. Felt covered ball tipper
  14. Pear-drop tipper. Came with my first non-tunable Waltons, but has a nice balance. Much better than most starter tippers.
  15. Bell/ball tipper. Came with my used Vignoles. Nice weight and balance.
  16. “Bow-hran Stick” (Fiddle bow tipper with grip from Bone Dry Music)
  17. “Bow-hran Stick” (Fiddle bow tipper without grip from Bone Dry Music)
  18. Carrot – I’m right out of radishes ;-)
  19. Wood stick. Used for left-hand accompanying beats.

Dave Cooper - Derbyshire, UK, now Oklahoma City, USA


Newfoundland, Canada

From left to right top row:

  1. Tipper hand carved by Glenn Stout
  2. Tipper with ridge in middle made by Cas Smith
  3. Brush tipper from Michelle Stewart
  4. Tipper with center groove made by Bill Alexander
  5. Snake wood tipper
  6. Ebony tipper from Brians Bodhrans center groove is offset
  7. Bottom Row: Cocbollo tipper from Davey Drums
  8. Center groove offset tipper from Davey drums
  9. Center ridge
  10. The remainder are from a pkg of tippers bought on ebay

My favorite is the brush tipper as I can use this as a brush only or by changing the angle slightly I can have a tipper w/o brush and can alternate during a tune w/o changing tippers. I like the tippers with center or offset grooves for playing fast jigs and reels as I can get a good grip on the tipper. The tipper from Cas is nice and light and great for triplets. The ebony is good for 2am when everyone is loud so the drum has to be loud also ! Its a very heavy tipper though so does tend to fatigue the wrist after a bit. Glenn Stout tipper is small and light for soft playing I have added some fabric to some of the tippers to soften the tone.

Dean Bailey – Newfoundland, Canada


North Carolina, USA

I didn’t like the tipper that came with the Bodhran. There aren’t any stores locally, here in Shelby, NC, that sell them, so I had to order one, all the way from Belfast. It’s a no. 7 from Walton’s. If it weren’t for the rubber band, I’d forever be chasing after it. Thanks for the tip. :)

Deb Kinney-Soltis – North Carolina, USA

Hong Kong

Hello Michelle, here is my tipper collection.

Left to right:

  1. Glenluce Bodhran Whacks.  16 pieces of cane 23.5cm long, taped handle and adjustable ring
  2. Glenluce Bodhran Brush, Double.  Beater/tipper with brush ends. Can be cut to desired length
  3. Glenluce Cocuswood Beater.  21cm long bodhran tipper
  4. Glenluce Rosewood Beater.  Straight 23cm long bodhran tipper, around 10mm thick
  5. Ball ended 23cm long bodhran tipper.
  6. Glenluce Leather ended beater.  Bodhran tipper made from Rosewood with leather covered ends
Fung Ever – Hong Kong

Michigan, now Colorado, USA

Not a very exciting collection but I’m new to the Bodhran. I made them all except the one on the right. Although I’m new to the bodhran I have played drums for over 50 years. Much easier to carry around just one drum. :)

Gary J. Simpson – Michigan, now Colorado, USA



Hi Michelle

My name is Georges VASSEUR, I live in France and I like celtic music very well. In 2012, I was for 10 days in Irland where I bought a Waltons bodhran and I’ve learned to play with it.

Later I bought a secondhand bodhran “Brendan White” and I play with it almost every day for 20 minutes. Now I’ve begun to make myself tippers and it’s very funny. I send here a photo from my tippers with them I play.


Georges VASSEUR – France

1 & 2.  Made in France (Jura)
3 & 4. Buy in France (Tiar Sonerien)
5. Brendan White
6. Buy in France
7. Buy in France
8 to 21. Made in France by myself, Georges Vasseur (8 for a giant)
8 to 19. Black-wood (acacia in French)
20. I don’t know

Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Family Tipper Collection:

Most of my tippers are made from cocoa bolo wood.

Here they are left to right:

  1. Fashioned by Jim Hunter out of Ottawa, Ontario. This was my first child. She has brass ends which gives me a nice weighty hit. I mainly use it for jigs
  2. Next one over with the mother-of-pearl is also a Jim Hunter tipper again a jig tipper
  3. The next two are from the same wood type. These ones are made from Dr. Ray Thomas (Dr. T) He made most of my tippers (I play with Ray at our sessions). They’re again both jig tippers,
  4. Made by Dr. T
  5. The next two really skinny lads are my speed demon reel tippers. The string bean one was actually made for John Joe Kelly by Jim Hunter and was my second child. John Joe has one of these. I got the second one made.
  6. Ray made the one with the bell end.
  7. The next two are split tippers, both made by the good Doctor. The darker of the two is split on one end.
  8. The other is double ended split these are for marches
  9. 10. & 11. The last three are my brushes for the softer side, or if play to jazz (which happens more often than you think). All my brushes where made again by the good Doctor. The bristles are from a push broom. The rubber on the end change the sound and protect the bristles when traveling.

All my Hunter tippers come with a mother-of-pearl inlay.

Well that’s the kids, hope this helps. Take care Michelle.

Greg Clark – Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Lyon, France

From left to right :

  1. Dayly tipper
  2. Made during a masterclass with Francis McIlduf (At First Light) at the Irish festival Celticimes’2011 (France). There’s 3 different types of scotch-tape on this one, it is a technical masterpiece… 2/ an attempt to copy it later, it is cleaner, but can’t play with it…
  3. Great mahogany tipper made by Brendan White, fantastic irish bodhran maker in Holland, customized with a piece of leather, for a gong-drum sound. I got this one with my first real bodhran (from Brendan), loosing this one would break my heart
  4. A split one, from Brendan too, on a great afternoon of heavy sun in Lorient Interceltic Festival in summer’2012, when Brendan told us why he began to make bodhrans…
  5. Dayly tipper#1, made from snakewood by a french flute maker, Louis Jourdan. One end is covered with a felt pad. Amazing sound.
  6. Another one from Louis, a bit heavy for top end play
  7. Standard drummer brush, great sound, hard on the wrist.
  8. Tipper from another french flute maker “La flûte en chantier”. A bit too short
  9. Standard painter brush. Too heavy, I keep it because it is blue. And, you never know when you need a last minute paint up
  10. Not on the picture. Can’t find it. this one is (was?) made of light-yellow boxwood, lathen by a wood-plate maker that I met quite by chance at a rock festival. We talked about bodhrans and he tried to make one for the first time… and it was a crack one !
Blandine Moraweck – Lyon, France

To view Part 4 Click Here

To view Part 5 Click Here 

If you have any of the tippers featured in the collections or want to share insight that might be useful to your fellow drummers please leave a comment below.

Stay tuned. Lots more great collections coming soon . . .


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Every Bodhran Player Will Want One!

by MichelleStewart on June 28, 2011

I just had to share this special gift that one of my very talented Platinum students made for me because I think every bodhran player is going to want one.

Anna Karin Liljestrand has been inundated with orders from BodhranExpert Platinum Members all around the world for bodhran necklaces, bracelets and even rings. These aren’t just for women either, they look really cool on guys too. Some drummers are hanging them as an ornament from their car mirror or using them as a unique handbag charm. The possilities are limitless, but each piece is one of a kind and the bodhran community as a whole seems to appreciate hand made craftsmanship.

If you would like your own customized bodhran piece you can contact Anna directly by email at:, look her up on Facebook: or go to her website

I think it’s great when people discover their passion and get to share it with the world. I hope Anna’s story of combining her creative interests inspires some of you to do the same.

~ Drum On,



Email Anna a photo of your bodhran and she can make a necklace, bracelet or ring that looks just like your drum.


My bodhran necklace made by Anna Karin Liljestrand

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Buying A Bodhran – Part 1 (Bodhran Makers Of The World)

by MichelleStewart on April 8, 2011

Great Bodhrans Are Made From Passion

Whether you are looking to purchase your very first bodhran or planning to upgrade to a better quality one, this section is here to help. This decision is made even more difficult by the fact that there are so many superb makers out there now (See the list below). My husband, Mark, and I are simply too busy with other projects to keep making our Cape Breton Bodhrans, but I can tell you from first hand experience that making an instrument is done out of passion and not for love of the almighty dollar. A great deal of time, effort and care goes into making a bodhran so please keep that in mind when looking to buy one.

I would always suggest you deal directly with a maker, or one of their reps in your country, as most shops that sell instruments get them in at cost price, making more than the actual maker. With the exception of a few really great shops, most music store employees usually don’t know that much about bodhrans. The dead give away is when they have them hanging in the front window, baking in the direct sunlight. In fact, you probably already know more about bodhrans than they do.

Do Your Homework

The more time you spend researching the best maker and drum for you the better you will feel about your final decision.

Don’t be afraid to email makers to ask some questions, but remember to sift through their websites first as many of your questions are most likely already answered there.

The Better The Instrument – The Better YOU Sound,

But It’s Ok To Start Out On The Cheap

If you are just looking for something to get you started and don’t want to pay alot of money I’m sure you already know you will simply get what you pay for. There’s nothing wrong with starting out on an inexpensive drum and then upgrading once you’ve decided to stay with it. My very first drum was a very cheap one made in Pakistan and it served me well in my early stages. Once you try a great drum though you will instantly hear how much better you actually sound.

Why It’s Good To Get A Second, Third And Fourth Opinion

I hesitate to recommend one maker over another as the choice is such an individual one. I’m sure many people would just like for me to say ‘This is the one drum I recommend’ and make the decision for them, but going by only one person’s opinion wouldn’t really be in their best interest. I also don’t think any one person should have that much power.

Leave A Comment To Help One Another

Collecting information from lots of different sources is the best way to find the drum just for you. I know that people like helping people so please leave a comment to exchange information about bodhrans, where you got yours, what size is it, etc. and your overall experiences in the comments section below.  This will help everyone become more educated about bodhrans and makers around the world.

~ Michelle


Rob Forkner – Metloef Irish Drums - Texas

Brent Cuyler – Finnegan Hill Percussion – Columbus, Ohio

Albert Alfonso – Texas, USA

Mance Grady – Rhode Island

Cooperman – Bellow Falls, Vermont

Mike Quinlan – Chicago

John McPrange



David Settles – Calgary, Alberta

Chip Mulvaney Mulvaney’s Handcrafted Instruments – Winnipeg, Manitoba

Robin Shackleton – Sylvan Temple Drums – Vancouver Island, British Columbia

C. J. Dixon – Ontario

Fred Graham – Ardglen Bodhrans

Neil O’Grady – Newfoundland

Shaw Percussion – Ontario

Bridget Drums – Ontario



Christian Hedwitschak – Hedwitschak Drums – Bavaria

David Roman Drums – Berlin



Dragon Drums – North Wales

Mark Harmsworth -DD Percussion – North Wales



Paraic McNeela – Dublin

Malachy Kearns – Co. Galway

Michael Vignoles – Galway

Ben March Bodhrans – Co. Clare

Eamon Maguire

Niall Carey – NiCa Percussion – Tipperary



Seamus O’Kane - Derry

Paul McAuley - Ballycastle



Eoin Leonard – Belgarth Bodhrans – Orkney (Currently only making on hobby basis)

John Wilson – Skye Bodhrans – Portree

Doug Lanchbery – Auchencairn

Adam Brown – RandABrown



Harold Hougaard



Eckermann Drums



Brendan White - The Netherlands



Renegade Rhythms – Marc ‘Mog’ Moggy - Norfolk, England

Diarmaid O’Kane (son of Seamus O’Kane) – Essex



Beagan Irish Drums

Clive Quinn

John McKnowall – Kyogle, New South Wales



Olaika Bodhran



Victor Barral

Mariano La Duela –


Currently Taking A Break From Bodhran Making

Ralf Siepmann

Davy Stuart – New Zealand

Darius Bartlett – France

EastCoast DrumCraft – PEI, Canada

Del Eckels – Dels Drum - California


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Summer Bodhran Courses 2010 – Gaelic College

by MichelleStewart on February 10, 2010

dsc01339 I’m really excited to be heading back home to Cape Breton this summer for five weeks of teaching bodhran at the Gaelic College. It’s ideal for me as my Mum only lives ten minutes over the mountain. My five year old son also gets to spend summer with Nanny and his huge Cape Breton family (I have 42 first cousins . . . not many by Cape Breton standards).

I am only doing five weeks at the Gaelic College this summer as my son, Cameron, starts his second year of Primary in August. I’ll be teaching bodhran from July 5th – August 13th, 2010. Classes run Monday to Friday, but you can also see me perform in concert, along with all the other world class instructors, every Wednesday night through the summer in the Great Hall Of The Clans. Visit the Gaelic College home page or go directly to their Summer School page

Many people who come to the Gaelic College for summer courses make a family holiday of it. Cape Breton is absolutely amazing in the summer. I may be biased, but feel free to check it out for yourself at Destination Cape Breton or Nova Scotia’s Official Tourism Site


Courses offered include: Bagpipes, Bodhran, Weaving, Gaelic Language and Song, Pipe Band Drumming, Cape Breton Fiddle, Cape Breton Stepdancing, Celtic Harp, Highland Dance, Piano Accompaniment and Scottish Small Pipes. Some weeks are just for youths, some for youths and adults combined (great for families) and some just for adults.

Whether you are a beginner or advanced player the bodhran classes cater to all levels. You can take bodhran as an elective or a major. Don’t worry if you don’t have your own drum as I always have extras on hand. I can give you advice about purchasing a drum and you will have a better idea of what you’re looking for after trying different makes.

I’ll be sharing my techniques for playing with dynamic control, loads of new rhythms, changing tones, bodhran etiquette and the art of performance. I will also show many different playing styles and follow the bodhran through its history. I will give you insight on how you can continue to teach yourself after the course.

dsc01053This is a high energy class that will leave a permanent smile on your face. Check out some bodhran class photos from previous years at my Facebook page Feel free to join me there and on my other sites like Twitter and Youtube. I have to admit that I’m a bit slow to reply to comments as I have been completely overwhelmed with amazing feedback from all of you, but please keep the comments and questions coming. I really do appreciate it and it inspires me to share everything I know about bodhran with you.

Email me if you have any questons.and I hope to see you in the summer.

Michelle Stewart

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BBC Virtual Session

by MichelleStewart on October 28, 2009

BBC Radio 2 has a great site for learning and playing along to tunes.

When you visit this page click on “Welcome to the Virtual Session. Click here to join in:”

The Virtual Session box will then open. Click the flashing red arrow in the bottom right corner. You will then see sets of tunes you can play along with and download music for.

This great resource has everything from reels, jigs, slip jigs, hornpipes, polkas, waltzes and even a barndance.

I really like this site and hope you do too.


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I have just uploaded the rest of the 6/8 Jig Section of the bodhran solo covered in the video below and thought you might like the visual aid.

Just click on the link above to get the pdf and print off  the THREE PAGES to play along with the video.

Here’s a quick guide to using the notation.

Down Arrow = Down Stroke

Up Arrow = Up Stroke

Larger Arrow = Accent (Heavier Beat)

Dash (-) = Rest

Higher the arrows on the lines = the higher the pitch.

H = High Pitch – Push In / Shorten Distance Between Back Hand And Tipper / Roll Thumb Over
M = Medium Pitch – Gentle Hand Pressure In Middle / Medium Distance Between Back Hand / Tipper
L  = Low Pitch – Hand Just Touching But Without Pressure / Furthest Distance From Back Hand / Tipper

When you see a part surrounded by double bars and double dots ll:          :ll   these are repeat signs so play that part twice.

Foot would tap on first beat after each bar line     l   and first beat after each comma.  The commas don’t have any note value.

This should all make sense once you print off the pdf.



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Free Online Metronomes

March 30, 2009

I’ve checked out some free online metronomes and added a few links for you below. They didn’t seem to be able to subdivide the note like I show you in my video, but it depends on whether you want that function or not. This is VERY useful for beginners though. Some also give the option [...]

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Using A Metronome As A Practice Tool

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Join Me At The Gaelic College This Summer

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• Find yourself stuck in a bodhran rut? • Use the same rhythms over and over? • At a plateau and reached the point where you feel you have taught yourself all you can? Well why not take a summer holiday like no other, on the beautiful island of Cape Breton at the Gaelic College [...]

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Bodhran Lesson: Secret To Playing With Dynamics Part 1

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This video explains the Basic Strokes required to play with control.  A must see for those wanting to learn how to play softly .

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Hello world!

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Welcome to BodhranExpert.  I am so excited to give you lots of great bodhran tips and advice. Please be patient while I build my new site and be sure to check back soon. Michelle Stewart

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