McDonnell's Traditional Irish Music Slow Session

January – December 2024

Slow & Steady Session class at the Lake School of Celtic Music,
Song and Dance 2024

We have made available MP3 recordings of our slow & steady session tunes that correspond with our Lake School Sheet Music with Chords Booklet 2024.  To download the booklet click on the title. Lake School 2024 Tune Booklet version 3. To listen to and download the recorded tunes we currently have made available click HERE

McDonnell’s House Party at Dukes Commercial Hotel at the 2024 Lake School, Koroit Victoria (Photos by Greg Leibel)

Scrolling down the page you will find that we have included: 1) A free, no strings attached, download of our Lake School Slow Session Booklet that we put together that contains the music and chords to 61 common session tunes along with recordings of us playing the tunes at slow and intermediate tempos and 2 ) Online Slow sessions that allow you to play along with us at some of our previously recorded Melbourne Slow & Steady Pub sessions. They include examples of both our beginner and intermediate sessions and 3) Photographs of our Melbourne sessions over the last 20+ years. We hope that Irish/Celtic traditional players in Australia and around the world find the information, music and recordings on our website useful. 
Download Free Copy of the Lake School
Slow & Steady Session Tune Booklet
For our Slow & Steady Session classes and House Parties at the Lake School, we have compiled 61 common session tunes for beginners that include chords. Many of these tunes can be heard by downloading mp3 files available elsewhere on this site. Click on the title to download the Lake School 2024 Tune Booklet FINAL VERSION 24DEC2023 ver2. We made this booklet available free in order to keep the tradition of playing Irish/Celtic music in sessions alive for you need to know some tunes before you can join a session.  Please feel free to share it with your family, students and musical friends. We hope you find it a useful resource.  Enjoy the music!
  Photos of another 2024 Lake School McDonnell’s House Party
 at Commercial Hotel, Koroit, Victoria 
To learn more about The Lake School of Celtic, Music, Song and Dance click here or go to their website:
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McDonnell’s Slow & steady Sessions Online



McDonnell’s Slow & Steady Session at Clifton Hill Hotel 2012

Many beginner Irish traditional players would like to participate in slow & steady sessions but there are none available close to where they live. In an effort to fill this gap we have made available recordings of some of our previous slow and steady sessions so musicians can play along. We have provided heaps of resources on our website to help you learn the tunes. If you have always wanted to join an Irish session please check out our sessions by clicking on On-Line Slow & Steady Sessions.

Memories of 15 Years of McDonnell’s Slow & Steady Sessions in Melbourne  (click to see more photos)

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Tablet accordion app

Practice and play a musical instrument on your tablet and smart phone.

Just when you thought that the new smart phones and tablets had reached their pinnacle of usefulness along comes some pretty impressive applications that allow you to play many Celtic musical instruments including bagpipes, accordions, guitars, drums, flutes, whistles and even concertinas on our portable electronic devices.  I suggest that you look at Michael Eskin’s website on Traditional Music Instrument Apps which demonstrates the current state of the art in smart phone and tablet musical instruments.  They are only going to get better in the future. The current apps are very limited and are typically a far cry from the real instruments we love playing, but in a strange way they feel familiar in the hand and to the ear.  Because they are really inexpensive (the app not the tablet or phone) compared to the real thing, they allow players to try different instruments or carry a practice one to the park, school or work in order to play tunes any time you feel the urge, especially when you wear headphones.  I suspect we will see more smart phone and tablet bands as well as more events using these instruments at folk festivals in the future.  Maybe it will stimulate our kids to play musical instruments and not just games. If you want to impress your family, friends or fellow commuters, I highly recommend mastering a few tunes on your smart phone or tablet instrument and share the fun.

My Ireland Vol 1 book cover

Tony O’Rourke, an excellent Melbourne banjo player, has published a book entitled ‘My Ireland Vol.1’ that includes a collection of 101 Irish tunes with sheet music and guitar chords.  Tony sent me this note which I would like to share with you: ‘The title of the book is “My Ireland Vol.1”. It contains 101 Irish tunes and comes with a CD in MP3 format of each tune played through twice at a moderate tempo. I recorded each tune on my new Clareen Banjo and there is overdubbed guitar accompaniment. The playing of the tunes adheres strictly to the sheet music as I wanted this to be a reference book rather than a concert, and the sheet music contains guitar chords.  The books are for sale for $20 + $5 postage. To get more information or purchase the book send an email by clicking on Tony O’Rourke   Click here to download example of sheet music Christmas Eve & Coalminer’s Reel MP3 of Coalminer’s Reel

TONY O’Rourke also has his own YOUTUBE CHANNEL – Check it out (

He has uploaded a number of really good videos of him playing some lovely Irish tunes on the banjo and guitar. Great for musicians interested in learning new tunes.


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