Today, I debuted my Irish tin whistle!
My tin whistle, also called a penny whistle.
I've been wanting to learn for a while, so I bought one at O'Brien's in St. John's on last year's East Coast Tour. I looked at it nervously for a few months. I'd studied recorder as a kid (who didn't?), but this was different. People play this thing for real.
So I finally searched out some youtube videos, learned the fingering, and started to play a few songs - privately, in a the sanctity of my music room.
This week, we were rehearsing "I Heard the Voice of Jesus Say" and I realized it was in G, a key that fits my D whistle (tin whistles are each tuned to a particular key). We decided to work up a little intro for me, and this morning, I made my tin whistle debut. Now, at just a few bars, this wasn't a momentous occasion for anyone other than me, but here's my point:
Gerald often talks to his songwriting students about
"getting back to primary learning."
He teaches adults who are often lifelong singers or instrumentalists, who must now revert back to the beginning when it comes to learning songwriting. I feel that way about learning the tin whistle.
All the things I know how to do as a singer
- breath control, phrasing, dynamics, song interpretation, memorization -
must be relearned in terms of the whistle.
It's challenging and humbling, but I think as an artist, it's critical. It's not only important that we keep pushing ourselves creatively, but it's a great reminder that there is so much diversity and wonder in the world of music. A thousand lifetimes would never be enough to learn and master it all, and isn't that part of why we love it so much?