So getting started at anything new can be a daunting task; here at the Irish Whistle Shop we aim to make it as painless a process as possible. Getting started with the irish whistle is perhaps one of the easiest, yet most rewarding (in our humble opinion), of instruments. You can start playing tunes in an afternoon, but still spend of lifetime of practice learning to play with more skill, subtlety, and depth.
So what do you need? Time, effort, and an irish whistle. You can buy a Generation tin whistle for a little more than the cost of a cup of coffee, and you might want to start that way. If you're a little more sure of yourself, you might start with a more expensive whistle—keeping in mind that just getting a more expensive whistle might not be the best thing for you.
For example, do you like the sound of a chiffy whistle, or one with a more pure sound? Do you like the resonate sound of a wood whistle, or the brighter sound of a nickel or aluminum whistle? How loud would you like your whistle to be? Do you want to be heard over the flutes, fiddles and concertina players at your local session, or are you hoping to keep from annoying your roommates? Are you going to be playing in doors mostly, or outside (at Renaissance festivals, for example).
If you don't know the aswers to these questions, then the best thing is to try out lots of different whistles and see which one works the best for you. How do you do that? Look for a local session in your area; if you're patient and considerate, the players there might let you try their whistles, and/or make suggestions for you. First hand knowledge is the best way.
What if there's no sessions in your area, or you're too shy to go, not knowing anyone (or anything). That's why we're here! Buy a whistle, try it for awhile, keep it and/or sell it back to us and pick up another. Another wonderful quality of the irish whistle is their affordabliity; who could afford to buy several violins or concert flutes just to try them? But there are many whistles available for less than $100, and even several professional quality, top of the line whistle available for less than or around $200.
Then, if you can't go to a local session to learn (again, too shy or they're not available), we recommend using either Fordham University's Introduction to the Tin Whistle course, or pick up a copy of Bill Och's Tinwhistle tudor (make sure to get the cd with the book). Either of these will provide you the basic skills to start learning the irish whistle on your own, and then there are lots of other ways to pick up tunes (thesession.com, various tunebooks, whistle this, or even just using youtube).
Good luck, and happy whistling!
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