When the Riley School of Irish Music started in January of 1996,
the students received sheet music to help learn the tunes.
We initially thought that the students would learn a tune a week
from the sheet music. Because learning the tunes was
slower than expected, the school adopted a new method of teaching.
Instead of sheet music, students receive a
recording of the tunes that will be taught during the quarter.
With this method, the students have become successful in learning
one tune per week and at the same time are not becoming dependent on
the sheet music to learn the tunes. Instead, the students are
developing their ears.
We also encourage students to bring some kind of
recording device to class. This can be anything from a
small dictating machine, to a portable tape recorder
or a mini-disk recorder. Instructors will give you tunes
to record and listen to at home as you practice.
We strongly recommend you train your ear by listening
to the music. It's much easier to learn to play a tune
if you already have it in your head. So spend at least
some of your practice time just listening to a tune over and over,
until you can sing/whistle the notes along with the recording.