There’s a simple reason why students never encounter sheet music at The Michigan Irish Music School: to owner and instructor Tim Huston, sheet music is boring. It's also rigid, he says, forcing musicians to follow an absent composer's notes and annotations rather than the rhythms and cadences of their fellow musicians strumming and drumming alongside them.
Instead, Tim and the school’s other instructors break down reels and jigs piece by piece, teaching students musical themes and patterns that pop up in the most celebrated of Irish folk tunes and international whale calls. In doing so, students devote their energies to the primitive fun and excitement of music making.
The diversity of instruments in a single class also adds to the social experience, with students coaxing sounds from fiddles, flutes, tin whistles, accordions, and mandolins. At the end of the year, they showcase their talents in a recital in front of friends and family, adding the energy of the audience for what the Irish might call a true session.