FolkWorld #76 11/2021
© Dà

School of Dàimh

Dàimh launch series of Home Schoolin’ tuition videos.


Artist Video Dàimh @ FROG


The School of Dàimh is the legendary Highland band’s bi-annual weekend of tuition held in Arisaig. After the pandemic led to postponement of the School of Dàimh, the band have moved their signature ‘lessons in session progression’ format on-line with a series of YouTube videos.

“The thing that makes the School of Dàimh different is our approach to learning the tunes and accompaniment at the same time on all instruments. That way the workshops build like a session with everyone playing together.” Explains fiddler Gabe McVarish. “We found that many people can be confident on their instrument but not confident enough in a session setting so we developed a style of teaching that focuses on learning and playing together rather than dividing up classes into the specific instrument groups.”

Clearly indexed videos give participants the chance to skip or re-watch sections at their leisure, meaning people can learn in their time, at their own pace.

“We had to find a way to re-produce it in a video setting, so we came up with a format where one of us plays the tune through with accompaniment, then we split and the tune is taught by the melody player followed by the chord ideas by Ross or Yogi on guitar. At the end of each half hour video are two ‘session’ sections where you can play the tune with all of us with or without the chords, giving accompanists a chance to try some variations and ideas that have been discussed during the video.”

The series of videos add up to form complete sets of tunes which can be played with band in full in the last of the videos that will be released. There’s even a song to learn from Ellen MacDonald.

“These videos mean you can have all the fun of hanging out with the Dàimh boys without having to actually spend the time with them in real life” Ellen was keen to point out. The videos are free to watch on the band’s YouTube channel, all they ask in return is that you like and subscribe.

Ross Martin

Gabe McVarish

Angus MacKenzie

Photo Credits: (1ff) Dàimh (unknown/website).

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