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Piano Lesson 30: Raise a Pint for St. Patrick’s Day Songs!

By Gaili Schoen February 28, 2024 Hobbies

Welcome to Lesson 30! Today we continue learning Irish Songs for St. Paddy’s Day or any time of the year. The Irish have a tradition of beautiful melodic music that speaks to both the pain and pleasures, the misery and the magic in life. While last lesson we started playing Molly Malone, a boisterous drinking song from the famously fun pubs of the Emerald Isle, today we will add The Moreen, a more subdued piece, to your Irish repertoire.

[NOTE: If you are just joining us for the first time, you can find my previous Sixty and Me Free Piano Lessons on my Author page. You can join our lessons any time and move at your own pace!]

30.1 Introducing The Moreen, and a Review of Piano Posture

We’re turning to p.78 of our Upper Hands Piano book 1 to play The Moreen this week. The Moreen is an Irish “Air” which like the Italian term, “Aria,” means that it has a singable melodic tune.

In my video I also review proper piano posture (try saying that 3 times fast!) because it is so vitally important to maintain good posture while you play the piano. Your fingers are gently curved, wrists are flat, shoulders are relaxed, and your back is straight. Make sure you don’t curve your back or hyper-extend your neck. Also remember to sit on the front half of your bench, with your feet flat on the floor.

Note: If you are more advanced and you use your damper pedal, your right heel should always stay in contact with the floor.

Your elbows should be slightly in front of the midline of your body. If your elbows are somewhere behind the midline of your body, you need to move your bench back. We need lots of elbow room as we play the piano!

If you find that you are needing to constantly get closer to the sheet music, you may need what we call “middle-distance” or “computer” glasses. Contact your optometrist to get the correct glasses for that 20-30-inch distance. (It would be helpful to have measured the distance from your eyes to your sheet music when you talk to your optometrist.)

30.1 Demonstration of The Moreen

The Moreen’s beautiful tune was used for a song called The Minstrel Boy. You might have seen Colm Meany sing The Minstrel Boy in a Star Trek episode, and it was featured in the film Black Hawk Down, and has been recorded by many vocalists.

I am demonstrating the original Air, The Moreen, from the beginning, taking the 1st ending to the “ending” repeat sign :||, then repeating to the “beginning” repeat sign ||: on the first line, then taking the 2nd ending to the end of the song. The Moreen is easier to play than Molly Malone, just be sure to count “1 & 2” or “3 & 4” for the dotted quarter notes.

Passion Practice

  1. Play Exercise #1 in B-flat and F, with hands together, playing the 5 notes of each position before playing the exercise. Play each exercise once forte (loudly), and once piano (softly) with your eyes open, then closed, if possible.
  2. p.78-79 – Listen to my video 30.2 and work up to playing The Moreen along with me, if you’d like.
  3. Chord Calisthenics #5, Appendix viii – Play each set of minor and diminished triads, in B-flat and F, alternating hands. Also review these chords in the previous keys.
  4. Keep reviewing the other Irish songs you’ve learned, to play for St. Paddy’s: The Irish Washerwoman (you can print it from this page if you haven’t already), The Three Sailor Boys, p.24, and Molly Malone on p.69-70.

Let’s Have a Conversation:

How is your piano playing going? What have been your struggles? Your triumphs? Are you noticing your progress and celebrating each time you complete a page in our book? It’s always good to go back to earlier pages to review old songs (don’t feel bad if you don’t remember playing them!) After a few times through, can you see that they are easier to play than the pieces you are currently playing? You are playing many more notes now, with more complex rhythms. Good for you!

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The Author

Gaili Schoen is a passionate piano teacher and learning science researcher. She has written a piano instruction series called Upper Hands Piano: A Method for Adults 50+ to Spark the Mind, Heart and Soul. Learn more at Follow her blog for free monthly sheet music and practice tips:

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