Learn to ListeN

        Listen to Learn


Comments from Course Attendees

“We learned to understand the music better, interpret the layers,

discuss the story behind the music, and have a laugh”

“The concept of listening in pairs was very successful –

we began to think for ourselves,

not always relying on the tutor”

“A listening class, although equally a class that looks at

music history, personalities,

notation and funny anecdotes”

“There was a wide range of music examples,

many of them drawn from sources

not accessible to ordinary people”

Music Appreciation with Piper Ronan Browne

Listening to both modern and archive/field recordings, gain an insight into Irish music, history, personalities and styles, both ‘regional’ and individual.

Recordings are interpreted by way of group discussions

in an easy-going relaxed atmosphere.

Brief Description

Essentially this is “music appreciation” where the participants learn the mystical skill of how to really hear, connect with, understand and interpret probably any music they come across.

Instead of being lectured to, we work together, thereby gaining the essential skill of being able to think on one’s own.

The course has been running very successfully for many years.  Venues have included the Willie Clancy Summer School, festivals, workshops and piping meetings worldwide and universities. 

It can be tailored to different circumstances (small or large groups), levels of knowledge (introduction or in-depth analysis) and lengths (3 hrs–5 days).

And now, we are going online in 2020.


Format & How it Works

I play a recording.  In pairs, the course attendees discuss for a few minutes what they just heard.

— Working on their own at the beginning of each new piece requires attendees to think for themselves and to commit to those thoughts. By working in pairs, they bring each other along, and don’t get stuck.

We open to the floor, and people report their observations.

Opening to the floor allows everyone’s ideas to be shared. 

At this point I join the discussion to agree/disagree, adding any information which has been missed along the way.

— This can often lead to related examples or new directions.

With each subsequent piece, attendees’ powers of perception improve.


CONTACT:  Ronan Browne   listen&learn@ronanbrowne.com    +353 91 558 994

All photographs by the wonderful Lieve Boussauw

Learning Outcomes

After attending, participants will be able to:

  1.   Recognise styles, both personal and ‘regional’

  1.   Engage with recordings (& live music) with a deeper level of understanding

  1.   Claim a greater sense of Irish cultural identity

  1.   Possess the language, skills & experience needed to seek out and appreciate more of our living traditions

Background & Genesis of the Course

To get an idea of how it all happened, take a quick peek at an Listening and Learning with Ronan Browne originally written for a wonderful online world music shop in New Zealand called Gandharva Loka

Remembering that first listening class in Germany reminded me of something important which happened that day and I wrote a short follow-up called A Lesson in Humility