Catch Up with Making Music with The Unwanted: the Roscommon Teaching Residency

Brian Farrell

Image: Brian Farrell

Making Music with The Unwanted: the Roscommon Teaching Residency kicked off in January with 15 Roscommon locals returning to their love of music!

Benefitting from the combined musical backgrounds of The Unwanted members Cathy Jordan (guitar, bodhrán), Seamie O’Dowd (guitar), and Rick Epping (harmonica), the tuition programme will offer participants the opportunity to experience an array of musical styles and techniques.

Let's hear from the participants on how they are getting on so far:

"I'm very happy to be part of the group - not easy, but good fun!" John, harmonica

"I just want to say what a huge privilege it is to have this wonderful opportunity to begin again to play music after such a long time.

Yes, it's challenging to get the rythym and find the notes but it's the best fun I have had for years. Rick is so patient and willing to share his vast knowledge and skills with us.

Thanks for all you are doing to make this successful for us all."

– Eithne, harmonica

"I have enjoyed the lessons so far with Rick. The harmonica is not that easy of an instrument but it's a lovely instrument and it's a nice challenge. I am delighted to get on the course." Breda, harmonica

"When I heard about this programme I got very excited as I haven’t played my guitar in years and in reality was not a very accomplished player. Having the opportunity to get lessons from a fabulous musician like Seamie O’Dowd is a dream. After only 2 lessons he has taught me so much. As I said I am not very accomplished on the guitar and never played traditional Irish music on a guitar before so it is a new experience for me as I find the tunes to be too fast for me at the moment so have to work on that which is not a bad thing. I have learned to play the traditional Irish flute 2 years ago and have generated a love of Irish music from playing it especially Carolan tunes. I do find it difficult to transition the tunes to the guitar but I am loving the process as Seamie and the The Unwanted are some of the nicest, patient teachers I have ever encountered. I have learned so much in just 2 lessons that it will take me months to get to grips with but it will be a pure pleasure to become accomplished in even half of what I am being taught.

My goal is to get back into playing my guitar as it was my first instrument to play and to be able to join in with the guitar at sessions with my friends.

I would like to thank the Roscommon Teaching Residency for this opportunity and am extremely thankful for you accepting me on the course as I know places were limited."

– Martin M, guitar

"I feel very fortunate I got a place on the course ‘Making Music with The Unwanted: The Roscommon Teaching Residency’ as my husband Martin and I love doing things together and this appealed to us greatly. Martin is learning new techniques on his guitar with Seamie O’Dowd, and I am learning to play the bodhran with Cathy Jordan, and a song in Irish, and putting them together with bodhran ‘frills’ (triplets). We come out of our lessons thrilled with what we are learning, and as the week progresses we deflate a bit as it takes work and dedication to master techniques, but hey, if it was easy we’d all be musicians : ) We’re really enjoying it, and looking forward to the first Coffee Session next week where we’ll meet the other participants." Hilda, bodhrán

Making Music with The Unwanted: the Roscommon Teaching Residency is presented by Music Network and Roscommon County Council Arts Office. Music Network is funded by the Arts Council of Ireland. This initiative is supported by the Roscommon County Council Creative Ireland Programme and the Bank of Ireland Begin Together Arts Fund in partnership with Business to Arts.