Anyone going to Noel's class at Gavin's in NY? I'll be a first time attendee...any suggestions, etc. Thanks.
Posted 22 July 2015 - 06:25 AM
I've been to nearly a dozen Noel Hill Midwest camps and several Irish Arts Weeks in East Durham where you will be.
Noel's classes can be intense but as long as you stay calm and realize he is giving you a year's worth of work in one week, then that can be part of the fun. Noel will play the tunes you are learning at varying speeds with and without ornamentation. So a recording device is a must and even better if it has a feature to slow down the recording while preserving pitch. A looping application to play a selected piece of the tune over and over is also helpful.
The experienced class works by ear. The less experienced and beginners get music notation. (At least in past camps) Noel encourages everyone to leave the dots behind and get the music in your head and fingers as soon as possible. Generally he gives each class two tunes a day to work on; one in the morning and one in the afternoon. Most folks are falling behind by the second and third day. Although Noel can seem serious and expect a lot of his students he respects and accepts the fact that you can only do your best in a short time and that a "long winter of practice" will sort things out. So try and not feel overwhelmed.
East Durham has its own discrete charm Plenty of "watering holes" including the bar at Gavin's if that is your thing. The Blackthorn Inn on Rt 145 usually has fireworks open to the public on Tuesday nights. It also has a pool and a swimming hole in the nearby creek (several places to wade and swim in Catskill Creek just East of the main drag, Rt 145.) O'Neil's, just into Cairo near the junction of 145 and 32, for a big breakfast. Jimmy O'Conners near Windham for a steak. Don't miss The Yellow Deli in Oak Hill for a great salad or alternative fare. The Catskills are all around and gorgeous for a hike or drive. Katerskill Falls is about 15 miles away and a two mile hike from the parking area.
Have fun! And remember to "pull the RH 'b' note!!!"
Edited by Greg Jowaisas, 22 July 2015 - 06:30 AM.
Posted 23 July 2015 - 06:35 AM
Hello Susan, I went to this camp three years ago, when I had been playing only a few months. Despite my inexperience, I came away with a lot that I have been able to fold into my playing over time. Great players don't necessarily make fine teachers, but Noel is excellent. There is a reason why many people come back year after year.
One thing that is different about Noel's approach is that he assigns the players to a class (beginner, intermediate, more experienced) and then teaches that class separately twice each day. This is not how things done at events like Swannanoa, Augusta, or Irish Arts Week, where people assign themselves to the level they believe they are on. I much prefer Noel's approach. It allows him to teach to the level of each group, and because the classes are necessarily relatively short, it allows lots of time for woodshedding.
Greg is right about the need for a recording device that has playback speed control and a looping feature. I like Amazing Slow Downer ($50.00 or so). You can get it for PC or Apple machines, including iPad if you have one.
I will be attending again this year, after a three year hiatus. See you there.
Posted 16 March 2017 - 02:22 AM
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