family life

I Have A Tin Whistle

And, I’m not afraid to use it. This concerns my family. I’d like to think this is because they fear I might run off with some kind of Celtic women (of a certain age) group and end up skipping across the stage while playing like a virtuoso and letting my hair float wild in the wind.

This, sadly, is not the case.

They just don’t want me to start playing out on the porch lest I disgrace us. I say, if neighbors who are otherwise delightful people can smoke medical marijuana on their porches – thereby making our house smell like a Fleetwood Mac concert on open-window days – there’s nothing wrong with me playing a couple dozen verses of “Go Tell Aunt Rhody.”

Another problem with the fam is that the tin whistle is a lot harder to play than it looks. I mean, it’s a whistle. It only has six finger holes. I don’t have much skill to show for it, but I have more than a dozen years of combined voice, violin and piano training. I hadn’t expected this kind of complication.

But, if you get too enthusiastic, for example, the whistle squeaks in a way that makes the dog whine and bedroom doors slam. Yet, ironically, the highest notes – the ones that you think would squeak – actually require more air. There’s even a little + sign in the music notations to remind you to add some gusto.

There’s also the need to learn which notes on the scale correspond to which finger patterns, as well. I’ve learned to read music for piano and violin. (Truth is, I’ve memorized the left hand part of every piano piece I’ve ever played…) My mid-life brain is saying, however, “Not this time, chick.”

So, I’m frantically concentrating on the little diagrams beneath the notes that tell me where my fingers should be and listening to a CD on the side to get the timing right. This requires a lot – a lot – of repetition.

Such behavior will probably limit how far I can go with this instrument – and whether my children will let me see any future grandchildren they might produce. This kind of thing suggests I might be the kind of nonny who gifts things like drum kits.

Yes. Setting some limits on playing time and place are OK, I’m thinking. The tin whistle was just a bucket list thing after all. It was inspired by a magical St. Patrick’s Day concert attended so long ago my husband and I were just dating and I was wearing Levi’s that fit without the aid of stretch denim.

When I can play every song in my little book by the finger diagrams, I will fill justified in checking it off and moving on. Unless, of course, Riverdance comes calling.

21 thoughts on “I Have A Tin Whistle”

  1. Nora, we must be kindred spirits. I love trying new things, and I love Celtic Woman . (How DOES that one woman play the fiddle and dance without that flying blonde hair getting all tangled in the bow??!) I play guitar (sometimes Celtic harp) and sing on my porch on nice days, and my neighbors are used to it. My most recent new “instrument” is a toe tambourine, that plays as I tap my toe, which I would be doing anyway. If you’re ever near Louisville, shoot me a text. Maybe we can do a couple of duets. 😏🎶

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Where do you live? You don’t have to answer here, you can email me at xxxxxxxxxxxxx. If it’s near Kentucky, Michigan, Florida, Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, Utah, or southern California, there’s a chance we could meet. 😏


  2. I’ve never laughed so hard. I can picture it now.
    What a hoot. I needed that good laugh today.
    Love you sweet girl.


    Liked by 1 person

  3. Nora, this was a delightful post from beginning to end. I’ll confess I had to look up some tin whistle music on youtube to get a full grasp of the sound potential of this instrument.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Every now and then I yearn to something that basically I probably can’t do – I know for sure that my “tin whistle muscle” doesn’t exist. The dude checking my lung capacity said as much recently. But I can always live vigariously through someone else…Love you are doing this, too bad about the family 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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