Top 10 reasons to play Celtic Harp –

Top 10 reasons to play Celtic Harp –

Learn to play Celtic Harp with Leeann Flynn, StringSong Music

The Celtic harp is one of the most relaxing and endearing instruments both for player and the listener. When  listening to this particular harp it is easy to understand how the gentle sounds of the instrument help people to feel peace and calm. The harp is both inspiring and interesting to people everywhere and it is a gift to others when someone shares its beautiful sounds. Celtic harp music has a rich history and touches each person deeply… it is music for joy, sadness, love and rest.

Here are some more reasons to play Celtic Harp…

  1. 1. The sound and feeling from the harp gives the player a great sense of inner peace
  2. 2. Accompanying someone as they sing is easy
  3. 3. There is a wide variety of sheet music available for instrumental playing
  4. 4. You can play just about any style of music on the harp
  5. 5. Composing your own music on the harp is very pleasurable
  6. 6. It has been said that the sound of the harp’s strings being plucked can help to relieve physical aches and pain
  7. 7. Harpers have been known to help babies and people who suffering an illness to fall asleep as they listen to harp’s gentle sounds
  8. 8. Learning the harp engages the left and right hemispheres of the brain and strengthens body – brain connections
  9. 9. The satisfaction of being able to carry on ancient tradition which brings with it echoes from another time
  10. 10. Playing the harp is a highly physical activity and helps the player maintain cardio vascular health, as the harpers arms are always raised as they play which ensures healthy blood flows.

Leeann playing and accompanying herself as she sings ‘A woman’s Heart’ at the Art n All That Jazz’ Art exhibition.

If you are interested in making an inquiry about Booking Leeann for Music  Lessons in the Lower Clarence Valley or via Skype (Singing, Bass, Banjo, Celtic Harp & Autoharp, Flute, Guitar, Keyboard, Mandolin & Ukulele)  or Performances please use Leeann’s Contact Form.

StringSong Music – Leeann Flynn
Lower Clarence Valley – Ashby, Chatsworth Island, Gulmarrad, Harwood, Iluka, Maclean, Woombah, Yamba

Learning the Ukulele – How to enrich your Brain…

Norwegian Wood performed by Leeann Flynn on the Ukulele

The Ukulele is an instrument that appeals to all ages and is fun to play as your first instrument or yet another to tuck under your arm and minstrel your way down the road of life. When choosing your ukulele the first thing to consider is what size you want. Ukuleles more commonly come in four sizes: Soprano, Concert, Tenor and Baritone. Each size brings with it sounds that are unique to the particular size. As with string instruments in general, smaller sizes are sweeter and higher as opposed to the larger sizes being deeper and lower. Each instrument has it’s own rich sound and is worth experimenting with to know what suits you.

Music and its effects on the brain are well documented; enhancing long and short term memory, growth of new neural pathways and even pain relief. Playing the ukulele relieves stress and helps you let go of your everyday worries; giving your chattering mind a break.

Some more reasons to play the Ukulele:

It sounds beautiful

Increases co-ordination and fine motor skills

Enhances body –brain connections

Mental Agility

Develops skills of co-processing

Enhances well-being

Lifts the spirit

A great sense of unity with the instrument occurs and a sense of being in your own centred space

Promotes Social Engagement –

Playing with and for others gives pleasure to the player and the listener.

A very portable instrument

It easy, portable, sounds sweet.

If you are interested in making an inquiry about Booking Leeann for Ukulele Lessons in the Lower Clarence Valley or via Skype (Singing, Bass, Banjo, Celtic Harp & Autoharp, Flute, Guitar, Keyboard, Mandolin & Ukulele)  or Performances please use Leeann’s Contact Form.

StringSong Music – Leeann Flynn
Lower Clarence Valley – Ashby, Chatsworth Island, Gulmarrad, Harwood, Iluka, Maclean, Woombah, Yamba

Banjo: a very friendly instrument to learn to play

The Banjo playing garden gnome…

I first became inspired to play banjo after seeing Billy Connolly and Ralph McTell playing together, Ralph was playing his guitar tenderly and Billy was of course playing banjo. After that I was hooked. Billy has been a great example to me of someone who has a desire to play and who has doggedly worked to master his skills, and make it all look like so much fun.

Learning The Banjo

Here is a snippet of Billy talking about his experiences as a beginner banjo player.

Billy Connolly ~ Cripple Creek

Here is Billy’s rendition of this well known Bluegrass piece. A great example of claw hammer style playing.

The banjo can be a four, five, or six-stringed instrument with a resonator also known as the head or body (looks like a drum –which be plastic or animal hide). The banjo is believed to have been developed by early African Americans who brought it with them from West Africa in the 17th century.

4 String banjo is well known in Celtic, Jazz, Ragtime and Dixieland music. Here is a link to learn more about 4 String Banjo and its features.

5 String has become more associated with Bluegrass, Old Time, Mountain, Folk & Country music. This is a great site for learning more about buying your next 5 String Banjo.

6 String banjo, sometimes referred to as a Banjo Guitar or Banjitar has been around for about 100 years and plays much the same as a guitar lending itself well to blues, country, Dixieland, ragtime and modern music. Here is a link to learn more about what to look for when buying a 6 String Banjo.

The banjo is such a wonderfully versatile instrument. In more recent times it has become well known in Bluegrass:

Earl Scruggs And Friends – Foggy Mountain Breakdown

however, any style of music can be played on the banjo. Historically speaking it grew out of the African American folk culture and today it has strong associations with: Old time, folk, traditional Irish, country, modern rock and pop, Dixieland, Jazz & Gospel and even classical music.

Here are some examples of how versatile and enjoyable it is to play Banjo:

Mumford & Sons – Little Lion Man (Live from Red Rocks)

Modern Irish pop

Taylor Swift – Mean (Live from New York City)

Country Pop – an example of a 6 string banjo

Pete SeegerDown By The Riverside

African American Spirituals & folk

Anaconda – Vintage Bluegrass Hoedown – Style Nicki Minaj Cover feat. Robyn Adele Anderson

Great example of styles old and new blended together

Dixie Chicks bluegrass melody

Great 5 string with fiddle

Tenor Banjo Dixieland Bill Bailey

Great example of this style

John Bullard – Telemann Aria I, Partita No. 5 (Classical Banjo: The Perfect Southern Art)

Fabulous, so much early banjo was written for classical players.

92-year old banjo player blazes through a Jazz medley on his Vega plectrum.

Banjo is an instrument for any age and any style…

Dirty Old Town – Leeann Flynn on Banjo Lessons StringSong Music

If you are interested in making an inquiry about Booking Leeann for Music  Lessons in the Lower Clarence Valley or via Skype (Singing, Bass, Banjo, Celtic Harp & Autoharp, Flute, Guitar, Keyboard, Mandolin & Ukulele)  or Performances please use Leeann’s Contact Form.

StringSong Music – Leeann Flynn
Lower Clarence Valley – Ashby, Chatsworth Island, Gulmarrad, Harwood, Iluka, Maclean, Woombah, Yamba

Why Learning a Musical instrument is Beneficial…

If you were thinking that playing a musical instrument was something that only children gain benefit from, then you are only seeing a small part of how music can impact and improve everyone’s quality of life regardless of their age. Playing guitar, bass, banjo, ukulele, mandolin, keyboard, flute, harp & autoharp and using my voice has helped me to stretch and learn more about myself both as a learner and producer of music. I know first hand the benefits that come from playing and mastering the skills for playing an instrument.   

Here are some of the benefits I have personally experienced and researched:

  1. 1. The pleasure received from the instrument – playing music whether it be using your voice or any other physical instrument is a pleasurable experience which is different from merely listening to recorded music. Much has been written about the effect notes have on our physiology. String and wind instruments have a physical resonate through the body and have been scientifically shown to reduce stress levels, blood pressure and increase cardio vascular functioning
  2. 2. The joy of music can be shared with others – musical sounds provide a sense of well-being for the player and the listener
  3. 3. Developing skills of persistence – practicing, pondering and playing music helps the player to become more focused on skill development and mastery
  4. 4. Sense of self belief and confidence – learning music helps us understand our limitations and how we can overcome difficulty
  5. 5. Personal Achievement –  pushing boundaries of self expression and mastery helps us to understand what can be achieved through perseverance
  6. 6. Physical well-being, Pain relief  & reduction of blood pressure (W. A. Mozart, J. Strauss, and ABBA) Studies have shown the music of these artists to be of enormous help when played or listened to.
  7. Playing an instrument can distract us from pain and induce pain relief
  • 7. Stress relief – playing helps us to connect with ourselves and disconnect from our worries
  • 8. Co-processing – when we are playing an instrument  we are always doing more than one thing;
  • * reading the music (or remembering a piece),
  • * physically playing notes (left and right hand) –
  • * vocalist shape and use different parts of the left & right brain to create notes and sounds proficiently
  • * keeping time
  • * being aware of our surroundings, audience etc.
  • 9. Strengthens right –left brain connections – physical and mental co-ordination. Musicians are always integrating body-brain functioning and fine motor skills requiring deep level thinking
  1. 10. Communication development – playing and listening to music means being able express emotion and technical skill, playing with others means being able to listen and share thoughts about performance and expression of ideas
  2. 11. Long term and short memory gains – strengthening neurological pathways, requiring students to be tolerant of repetitive activity and creating new neural pathways as this happens
  3. 12. Self expression – connects us with our creativity and individual ability to express ourselves and use of higher level thinking and feeling
  4. 13. Connecting with others– Music helps us to connect with others without words with sounds and silences and develops Team building skills
  5. 14. Empathy  – helps us to be aware of deep feelings within ourselves and others and helps us identify with others.  
  6. 15. Inspiration  – the joy of music can be an inspiration for the creator as well as the listener
  7. 16. Versatility of being able to play solo and with others
  8. 17. Patience – allowing yourself and others to make progress at their own pace
  9. 18. Time Management – planning, practicing, organising thinking
  10. 19. Listening & Focusing – hearing yourself and others and reflecting on what is heard for self-improvement.
  11. 20. Community Engagement – connection with others around us, linking with people from all walks of life

A little slice of heaven…

Iluka/Woombah – is the name of the new place we now call home… Well we’ve now been here for a few months and loving the wonderful weather, the lovely people and the wonders of nature that surround us…

Iluka Nature Reserve Walking Track

The other day I was out in the garden in our new home updating pics for my little ‘www home’ here and these guys happened along…

Kangaroos & Guitar in my little parkland garden…

I certainly do miss all of my friends in the Macedon Ranges and I am hoping that people will be just as happy to come along and play music and enjoy our company as they were in Gisborne. Students are always welcome to make contact with me, Skype lessons are also available for past students or for those who cannot travel to access classes face to face.