Looking for the right instrument for you to learn can be exhausting – especially if you seem to be interested in a lot of them. You have to consider what you love most about playing instruments and work your way from there.
One instrument that is slowly gaining popularity in recent years is the Irish bodhran. This frame drum originated from the mid-19th century and is believed to have evolved from the tambourine. It creates a beautiful rhythm that’s reminiscent of traditional sounds but is versatile enough to be incorporated into modern music.
While the bodhran is an interesting instrument to learn, most people are intimidated by the seemingly complicated way this Irish drum is played. They want to make sure that they’re making the right choice so as not to waste the money and effort spent in learning how to play it.
In this article, we’ll give you the pointers that you should consider to help you determine if the bodhran is the right instrument for you.
You Love to Create Rhythm
Drums are used to create interesting rhythms that simply captivate the audience. And since the bodhran is a type of drum, you must be someone who prefers creating rhythms instead of melodies and harmonies.
But this doesn’t mean that if you prefer making melodies, the bodhran isn’t automatically meant for you. If you have an ear that’s sensitive enough for identifying changes in each note, then you’ll love learning how to play this instrument.
Or, if you love producing the accompanying rhythm to the existing melody, you can’t go wrong with learning how to play the bodhran.
You Are Patient
When you’re learning how to play an instrument – any instrument for that matter – you are required to have a lot of patience. Whether it’s as simple as the piano or as complex as the violin, patience must always accompany you in your studies.
While the bodhran is relatively easy to learn, some of its hand movements can be quite tricky. And since these hand movements and placements help you control the instrument’s pitch and timber, it’s obviously an important part of learning how to play it.
With that in mind, you have to be more patient when you’re learning how to play the bodhran. But if you ever feel like giving up, remember that no one becomes a professional player for any instrument overnight. It takes a lot of years of practice and hard work before they perfect their skill, so not getting it right on your first try isn’t something to beat yourself up for.
You Have Dexterous Hands
If you’ve seen someone play this traditional Irish drum, you’ll instantly notice how fast their hands move. Particularly, their wrist seems so lightweight and swift while they play that watching them perform leaves you in awe.
Since the bodhran is a type of drum, it is normally played using a beater called the spin or tipper. And depending on how you want your rhythm to sound, you have to beat it in a certain way to produce what you want to hear.
For example, if you’re playing the bodhran for dance or celebratory music, you have to hit it hard to produce that booming sound. But if you’re planning to play it to accompany a soulful love song, you may want to beat it softly to produce a mellow sound that gives much emphasis on the lyrics.
Also, there are different ways to play a bodhran. The most famous way to play it is Kerry Style, but Top-End and Bottom-End styles are also quite popular. Some musicians also prefer playing the bodhran with their bare hands, and there’s nothing wrong with that – as long as you produce the rhythm that you’ve imagined.
From this, you can see that playing the bodhran requires you to have skillful hands to produce the perfect rhythm. But even if you’re not as skillful yet, you can certainly develop this in time – as long as you are patient enough to practice.
You’re a Minimalist
The bodhran has a minimalist aesthetic to it that’s not showy at all. Although some bodhran players have their drums painted to reflect their personality, not everyone does it.
This traditional Irish drum simply has a wooden frame with goatskin stretched across one side while the other side of the drum remains open-ended. In newer models, synthetic skin is used for the head as a more sustainable option. And that’s it – there’s nothing flashy about this instrument at all.
Thus, if you prefer an instrument that’s simple yet fun to play, then the bodhran is perfect for you.
You Want an Instrument You Can Take Anywhere
From what we’ve mentioned above, you can see that the bodhran is a very simple drum. What’s also interesting is that its size also varies – ranging from a diameter of 10 inches to 26 inches and with a thickness of 3½ inches to 8 inches.
With that in mind, you can see that some of its smaller models are quite portable. And since the bodhran is lightweight, you won’t have to worry about it being a burden to carry.
So if you love to travel, then we believe that the bodhran can be your perfect companion. This can certainly keep you entertained during long travels, and it could also be used to entertain your friends and family whenever you go on trips.
You Are Genuinely Interested in the Bodhran
But out of all the pointers we’ve discussed above, the most important one is the fact that you’re genuinely interested in learning how to play the bodhran.
When you’re truly interested in learning something, there’s no obstacle that you can’t overcome. This interest will fuel you to learn with so much patience that you wouldn’t feel discouraged by any setback you encounter.
Also, this interest will keep you going when you feel like you’re in a slump. There will be days when you will feel lazy and unmotivated, and that’s normal. When you really want to learn something, this feeling will go away on its own after some time. And when it does, you will feel more motivated than ever.
Thus, as long as you are truly interested in the bodhran and in learning how to play it, then we can guarantee that it is the right instrument for you.