It has been said that there are only 3 tunes in Irish fiddle music. And the thousands of tunes fiddlers play are variations of these tunes.
That joke, of course, goes to the point that Irish music shares familiar patterns of notes joined together in ways that make them unique from each other.
A great deal of academic research has been done about how we hear and learn music. The most important thing to know is that as we hear more and more music, we slowly move from hearing individual notes to hearing groups of notes. Songs become a combination of familiar patterns joined together by some connecting notes.
A person well-steeped in Irish music can hear a tune for the first time and recognize 6 or 7 patterns and quickly play back the song.
Someone unfamiliar with Irish music will hear hundreds of notes and hundreds of intervals between them. Learning that tune will be harder for that person.
But once they get that song into their head, they will also have added to their internal library of patterns that they can draw upon in future tunes.
Pattern learning happens very naturally for kids surrounded by music growing up. In fact, learning can happen before the first violin lesson. By simply listening to music, your child is learning patterns.
Because there are so many great ways to listen to music you enjoy (e.g. CDs, Pandora, Spotify)…
Step #1 for growing a violinist: play the music you enjoy at home.