Details on the 2019 Northeast Tionól

Classes | Workshops | Reedmaking | Schedule

Registration for the tionól entitles you to all classes, workshops, lectures, and concerts. The schedule allows you to take two classes and one workshop over the course of the weekend. There are two concerts featuring instructors: one on Friday night and one on Saturday night. The Piper’s Chair concert on Sunday night is for attendees; there will be a sign-up sheet available on Sunday for those who want to perform.

Note: If you’ve come to the tionól in previous years, a few things have changed:

  1. Instead of having all the instructors perform at a (long) concert Saturday night, we’re  having two concerts: one Friday night and one Saturday night.
  2. We are now holding all the classes on Saturday. You’ll have one instructor for the Saturday morning class and switch to another instructor for the Saturday afternoon class to expose you to a variety of teaching and playing styles. We’re leaving Sunday morning as free time for you to relax or practice what you learned on Saturday and the workshops will take place Sunday afternoon.
  3. For reedmaking, Jim Wenham will give a two-day structured workshop on Saturday and Sunday mornings (limited to 10 people; pre-registration required), taking participants through reedmaking from start to finish. NOTE: The two-day workshop is now full. There will also be drop-in reed clinics in the afternoon on Saturday and Sunday (no pre-registration required). 


Classes, which take place on Saturday, are group lessons; generally the instructor teaches everyone a tune (along with ornamentation and techniques in the context of the tune) and answers questions from students. You’ll need to choose your skill level when you register; here’s a rough guide:

Beginner: Either no prior experience or some experience with the basics of the instrument and able to play a few tunes at a slow pace with little or no ornamentation.

Intermediate: Should be able to play a variety of tunes (jigs, reels, hornpipes), have a reasonable repertory of tunes and be able to play at a reasonable dance tempo.

Advanced: Proficient on the instrument, interested in expanding technique, studying nuances of style and ornamentation.

For pipes, there are typically several levels of “intermediate,” because most of our attendees fall into that category. If you feel you’re at the low end of intermediate (e.g., playing a few years but have a limited repertoire and skill), choose “lower intermediate.” If you’ve been playing a while but don’t yet consider yourself advanced, choose “upper intermediate.”


Two classes: one on Saturday morning and one on Saturday afternoon. You’ll have one instructor in the morning and a different instructor in the afternoon.

Basic/beginner: Traditional class; usually not more than 8 people.

Intermediate: Traditional class, up to 10 students.

Advanced: Traditional class, up to 10 students


Fiddle classes are taught at intermediate and advanced levels and are not appropriate for beginners. Each group of fiddle students will have a turn with each of the instructors.


Subject-based workshops allow students to focus on the things they want to work on most. All the workshops will take place on Sunday afternoon. While some workshops may be most useful to upper intermediate or advanced students, all students are welcome to attend.

With some exceptions, workshops will be capped at 10 participants to ensure more one-on-one interaction and a higher-quality experience for everyone.


THIS WORKSHOP IS FULL! Joey Abarta: Regulator Basics, Theory, and Execution.

Attendee led discussion of uilleann pipe accompaniment and styles followed by a “hands on” workshop explaining harmony and rhythm. Joey will be covering basic to advanced techniques, from tuning to playing.

THIS WORKSHOP IS FULL! Sheila Friel:  Music of Donegal: Highlands, Mazurkas, Waltzes, and Dances 

In this workshop we will explore Donegal tunes from some lesser-played genres – at least among pipers! We’ll learn the tunes and walk through their structures to understand how they correspond to the physical movements of the dancers. Open to players of all melody instruments.

Tim Hill:  The Music of Ed Reavy

This Ed Reavy tune workshop for pipers will focus on taking selected compositions — both tunes from him that sit comfortably on the pipes, and ones that might not — and making them work. Tim will also identify common themes in Reavy’s compositions and talk briefly about his connection to Reavy’s music.

Patrick Hutchinson: The Music of Charlie Lennon

Featuring select tunes from Lennon’s repertoire, this workshop will examine how to make them sit—and sing—on the pipes. Intended primarily for intermediate to advanced pipers.

THIS WORKSHOP IS FULL! Mick O’Brien:  Exploring the Music of Goodman

Exploring the Music of Goodman: In this hands-on workshop, open to players of all instruments, we will begin by looking at a couple of Canon Goodman’s tunes as they appear in the manuscript and listening to how musicians have interpreted them over the years.  With these interpretations as models, we will then look at some other Goodman tunes that are as yet unrecorded, and figure out how to take them from page to instrument: Should we play them as written?  How much ornamentation or variation should we use, and where should it fall?  How much do we dare to alter the tunes? If we change a tune, is it still “in the tradition” (Does it matter?)

Fiachra O’Regan: An Approach to Playing Slow Airs

While it is difficult (if at all possible) to learn a slow air properly in an afternoon workshop, I will explain and demonstrate my methods for interpreting a slow air.  We will discuss phrasing, voicing, emotion, and the use of regulators.

THIS WORKSHOP IS FULL! Michael Stribling:  Catching the “Lift” 

We will break down and evaluate how the phrasing structure, and value that you give to certain notes, can control the “lift”, swing or feel of a dance tune, adding punctuation and rhythm to your piping and musical toolbox.


Brian Conway:  Bowing and Phrasing

This fiddle workshop will explore the relationship between phrasing and bowing, and the role those elements play in musical expression. By way of illustration, we will slow down and dissect a tune as played by Michael Coleman.

Eileen O’Brien: Music of North Tipperary

Opening with a brief multi-media background lecture, this workshop will concentrate on the compositions of Paddy O’Brien and Sean Ryan. Open to all instruments.


Reedmaking Workshop: 10-12 AM Saturday and Sunday. THIS WORKSHOP IS FULL. Limited to 10 participants; advance registration required (sign up via our online registration form). This two-day workshop will take participants through the process of making a reed from start to finish.

Drop-in Reedmaking, Adjusting, and Repair. Saturday and Sunday afternoons; these are participatory and open to all, no need to sign up, just drop in.



3:30 pm: Check-in/Registration begins in Pub

6:00-7:00 pm: Supper

7:30-8:00 pm: Orientation Meeting in Pub

8:00-9:00 pm: Friday night concert

9:00-10:30 pm: Slow Session in Tea Room

9:00 pm-??? Sessions, visiting, etc.


8:00-9:30 am: Breakfast

9:00-10:00 am: Registration in Dining Room

10:00 am-12:00 pm: Piping/Fiddling CLASSES

10:00 am-12:00 pm: Reedmaking Workshop (pre-registration required)

12:15 pm: Group Photo outside Dining Room!

12:30-1:30 pm: Lunch

2:30-4:30 pm: Piping/Fiddling CLASSES

2:30-4:30 pm: Drop-in Reed Clinic (all welcome, no advance registration required)

4:30-6:00 pm: Free time

6:00-7:00 pm: Supper

7:30-10:00 pm: Saturday night concert

10:00 pm-??? Sessions, etc…


8:00-9:30 am: Breakfast

9:30-11:00 am Pack up and check-out for those leaving Sunday (by 11 am)

9:30-11:00 Reedmaking Workshop, continued from Saturday (pre-registration required)

12:30-1:30 pm: Lunch

1:00-1:30 pm: Tionól Organizational Meeting in the Tea Room

3:00-4:30 pm: Piping/Fiddling WORKSHOPS

3:00-4:30 pm: Drop-in Reed Clinic (all welcome, no advance registration required)

4:30-6:00 pm: Free time

6:00-7:00 pm: Supper

7:30-9:30 pm: Piper’s Chair

9:30 pm -??? Sessions, etc.


8:00-9:30 am: Farewell Breakfast

10:00-11:00 am: Check-out by 11 am

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