Home Reviews - CD ROM Reviews Pete Ryan - Bodhran Tutor
Pete Ryan - Bodhran Tutor

Bodhrán CD Rom Workshop - Pete Ryan

One CD ROM in a plastic sleeve, no jewel case - no accompanying written material

Purchased from from £16.99 (€25 / $30 approx)

Published 2002 -ISBN: Music Workshop : Ref: FB901 :

This review assumes that players are right-handed - left handed players should reverse any references.

Pete Ryan - Bodhran Tutor

Funky Seagull Says... "While we are proud of our use of the latest technology we still feel that it's the skill of our instructors that sets us apart from other music workshops. Our instructors talk to you not at you. Each title is taught as if you were picking a few tunes on the front porch. After all, that's how American folk music has been passed on for generations."


The Package

A single CD ROM in a windowed paper sleeve inside a poorly photocopied folded liner (above). This was inside a plastic pocket, stapled at the top. The CD ROM is on-body printed. The package feels cheap.

Lesson Delivery Method

The autorun file opens a basic HTML page. clicking on the text link will open realplayer. This is a collection of 7 Real video files which can be opened from a menu in the player.

Using the workshop.

  • Introduction 8:37
  • Basic technique 10:41
  • Basic Rhythms 6.23
  • Ornamentation 21:37
  • A closer look at Basic Techniques 5.00
  • Play Along Session 17.57
  • Interview with Pete Ryan 50:04

The workshop is delivered by Pete Ryan from London. His style is very relaxed and chatty but too casual and unfocused in my opinion. The workshops are delivered to camera and are a mixture of explanation, demonstration, anecdotes, side roads and iteration. The workshop is very 'relaxed' in its delivery

Pete is clearly a competent player and explains himself well but there is little apparent preparation or structure to the presentation past the identification of major road markings. The bits between the road markings seem a little haphazard and there are a number of awkward pauses which could have been edited out. The conversational style means that to work on a specific area of ones playing, one needs to re-hear all the stories and anecdotes again and again or use the forward button. This I feel is counter productive to an instructional medium but it is common to all video and audio based tutors I have encountered..

The interview with Pete is interesting, a nice bloke who enjoys what he does. Pete talks about his own take on Irish music the bodhran and myriad other things. At 50 minutes, I found it a long interview and I'm afraid that I didn't make it to the end.

The play-along section is a relaxed collection of jigs then reels and hornpipes where Pete is accompanied by a banjo player. As a special 'treat' Funky seagull added some old tyme music featuring that neo-ancient Irish instrument, the Bouzouki :) and other banjo/guitar type instruments. There were a couple of minutes discussion at the start over what tune they might play, a few in-jokes and when they did finally get going, Whiskey in the Jar brought a tear to my eye, it is a treat.

User Friendliness

I have to say that this was not a user-focused workshop for me. The style of delivery does not work for me because of the ratio of relevant informative content to that of 'other'. Some consideration of the structure of the workshop and more focus in the text would have made this much more usable to a learner.

I am not pre-disposed to Realplayer so I was disappointed that this was the only format available.

What do I think?

Well I have to say that for me, this falls short of the mark of a useful workshop, fun yes but of limited teaching potential. It's proper title could be "an afternoon's craic with ....".

I did enjoy elements, but it's amateur, ill prepared, unedited, poorly presented on screen and mega-cheaply packaged. It feels like some one met someone in a pub and they said, 'lets make a video'. I have not seen any of Funky Seagull's other CD ROMS so I can't say if this homemade look is a feature.

In my opinion, it's not worth anywhere near the price asked in terms of content, substance or effort. I'd avoid it.

Am I Glad I bought it?

No, I wasted my money

Would I recommend it?

No, not at all

Paul Marshall - January 2004

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