TrailJams Tune Explorer Session

TrailJams Tune Explorer Sessions. Discover, Learn, Share, Enjoy. Illustration copyright 2023 Jonathan Lay.

Are you wishing for an Irish tune session in the Portland, Oregon area that is slower than the regular TrailJams session and that includes some tune teaching and learning? Tune Explorer Sessions are weekly slow & learning sessions for musicians who are just starting to build repertoire and skill, or are building proficiency on an instrument.

This session is focused on playing traditional Irish tunes on melody instruments (not rhythm instruments or percussion).

Maybe you are . . .

  • A beginner with only a few tunes in hand
  • Exploring a second (or third, or fourth!) instrument and aren’t comfortable playing it yet at a zippier session
  • Wanting to learn tunes in a group to be sure the version you learn is the one that is played locally


  • Where: Waverly Church of Christ, 3300 SE Woodward St Portland, OR 97202 – map
  • When: Saturdays, 1-3 p.m. starting September 16, 2023. (15 weeks total)
  • Who: Sessions are organized and led by fiddler Karen Dale
  • What: learn traditional Irish tunes and how to play them in a “session” setting
  • Cost: Your donation of $10 (cash) per session is requested
  • You: have a basic ability to play your instrument and a desire to learn traditional Irish tunes and how to play in an Irish session. You do not need to be able to read sheet music. You do not need to be a “master” of your instrument, but these sessions will generally not teach you how to play your instrument.

What to bring:

  • Face mask — (optional) You are welcome to wear face masks anytime at the session.
  • Music stand — (optional) for sheet music or notes. (Ability to read sheet music is not required for these sessions. A goal of the sessions is to learn to play the tunes without using sheet music.)
  • Audio recorder — (optional) to capture part of the lesson to play along with later. A smartphone will work just fine. The session leader will tell you when it is OK to record.

Health & Accessibility

  • The room can be ventilated with two fans in front of open windows. You are welcome to wear face masks anytime at the session. Please do not come to the session if don’t feel well.
  • The class will be held downstairs in the Fellowship Hall, accessible by the NE corner stair. There is an ADA-compliant lift available.


Tunes Taught & Played in the Tune Explorer Sessions

*Soundslice: If there is a Soundslice link for a tune, it will take you to interactive sheet music with embedded audio. Soundslice is a great learning tool because it lets you change tempo, loop on sections, and see where you are in the sheet music as the tune is playing.

Soundslice, looping two measures of "The Lilting Banshee," with tempo slowed to 75 percent.
Soundslice, looping two measures of “The Lilting Banshee,” with tempo slowed to 75 percent.

Slow Session Tunes

These are tunes that will be played during the slow session. Click on the tune name to go to the TrailJams page with sheet music, slow play-along tracks and more.





Slip Jigs


Airs & Waltzes

  • Fanny Power (Planxty, G, Turlough O’Carolan)
  • Inisheer Waltz (G, air, by Thomas Wash circa 1980)

Get on the Tune Explorer email list

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