Bodhrán Learning Modules

The Bodhrán (pronounced “Bow-rawn”) is an ancient hand-held Irish drum. Easy to learn, this versatile instrument has gained enormous popularity over thepast decade.

Renowned instructor Kevin Kelly believes everyone has rhythm in them. Through years of running corporate and private workshops and teaching countless students he has discovered the physical, mental and stress-relieving benefits of percussion.

Kevin Kelly has been teaching the Bodhrán for nearly two decades and he has developed BodhránWorld Modules. There are four 45 minute lessons in each module. Modules are a Step-by-Step approach when learning the Bodhrán. They are designed to be straight forward informative and FUN. There’s lots of Rhythm Patterns, Jigs, Reels, Slip-Jigs and much much more.

Modules also look at playing technique, posture, volume control, triplet techniques, gaps and many more techniques.

Once you have successfully completed Modules 1-5 you will be sent a Framed Certificate from BodhránWorld signed by Kevin Kelly.

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Here are some basic tips for beginners:

  • Holding the Tipper (stick)The most effective way to hold the stick is just like a pencil. Hold it in the middle, gripping it between your thumb and forefinger and resting it on your middle finger. Remember that the stick never moves  it is your wrist that does all the work. The movement itself is a bit like flicking your hands when you have water on them. Remember to keep your wrists completely loose and relax your arm.

  • PostureLooking good is as important as sounding good. Relax and get comfortable. I call this technique the Four Point Position. There is an imaginary line between your shoulder-blade, the top of the drum, your knee and your big toe. Remember to keep your back and the drum straight.

  • Sometimes you see players leaning forward with their ear close to the drum skin. It could be said that this is not the most comfortable or visually attractive and it makes it hard to communicate with the other musicians
  • Downward beatsNow we are sitting or standing comfortably imagine the drum like a clock. Holding the stick like I described earlier, strike the drum with a downward action between 15 minutes past and half-past. Follow this movement through and repeat until you have a clear beat occurring. Hold the drum using the bar at the back and this will produce a nice “THUD” sound.

  • Upward beatsQuite simply reverse the previous exercise with the stick hitting the drum in the upward direction. Repeat this upward action speeding up and slowing down.

  • Basic ReelWell done so far. Combine exercises 3 and 4. This time slowly hit the drum starting with the downward beat followed by the upward beat.

Try and follow this pattern:DOWN-UP-DOWN-UP (REPEAT)1-2-3-4R-E-E-L
Dont worry if you sound a bit like a cement mixer starting at the beginning. Concentrate on the beats being evenly spaced. Repeat until you are happy with the sound you are making