Calling all adults who have tried to learn to play Irish traditional music and feel like they haven’t (yet) been successful!

I’m interested in your experiences and insights.


So one of the things I love about playing Irish traditional music is the way it opens up a whole community of people at various stages of learning.

I also know a lot of adults who have gotten really, really frustrated while trying to learn to play an instrument associated with Irish traditional music.  I hear about how teachers don’t know how to communicate what they know, how maybe you can only learn when you’re a child or if you grow up in the tradition.

As an educator, this pains me – I want this wonderful world to open up to everyone who loves the music.

I’m also a full-time student and taking a research class where I needed to create a survey.  So I thought about all this and thought, we need to listen to adults who have been frustrated and find out what YOU have to say.

So, if this describes you, please click here to take the survey and share your thoughts.

A note: this isn’t for philosophical “the tradition is so huge that you can never be perfectly successful” kinds of frustration (even though I agree with that).  This is for “I wanted to learn this, but I couldn’t get the skills and the world remained closed to me” kind of frustration – you know, when you might give up entirely.  (And yes, if you’ve “given up,” I want to hear from you too!)

A disclaimer: this hasn’t been approved by an institutional review board and isn’t for an official, academic publication.  This is me as a blogger and someone who’s interested in learning from others.  In that spirit, though, I will share results on this blog (just give me some time to do the analysis and write it up).  Who knows?  This survey might generate a few insights that will help with a learning breakthrough and a way out of the frustration.

Questions about the project?  Write a comment below!  I’ll respond as quickly as I’m able.

And here’s the official introduction to the survey:

This survey is for adults who have attempted to learn to play an instrument associated with Irish traditional music and feel they were not successful.

By conducting this research, we hope to learn about the factors that influenced your learning experience. The hope is that this greater understanding might help in bringing about a better experience, and better results, in the future.

We anticipate that the survey will take 10-15 minutes to complete. Your responses will remain anonymous.

Thank you for your participation!