Kirsten Allstaff

Kirsten Allstaff is one of the founders and directors of The Online Academy of Irish Music. She is an acclaimed flute and tin- whistle player and has played music throughout Ireland, Europe, North America and Asia with various Irish dance shows and groups; Gaelforce Dance, Celtic Legends, Rhythm of the Dance, The Fiddlecase and Clare based band Los Paddys De Los Pampas.

In 2014, Kirsten released her solo album ‘Gallowglass’.  With master instrumentalists John Joe Kelly on Bodhrán and Eoin O’Neill on Bouzouki amongst many others.  This album is a blend of traditional tunes from her two homelands of Ireland and Scotland.  

Originally from Scotland, Kirsten began playing music at an early age.  Her father, a singer who also played the accordion and the guitar gave her lots of encouragement.  Her mothers side of the family are from Ireland so she always had an affinity to Irish music and culture.  When the family emigrated to Canada when she was 12 years old, she became involved in the traditional music in Ontario.  Here she lived, and played throughout her teenage years.  At the age of eighteen she moved back to her homeland of Scotland.

Upon graduating from the University of Glasgow with an M.A.Honours degree in Celtic Civilisations and Scottish History, she went on to study traditional Irish music at Ballyfermot College, Dublin. Shorty after it's completion she began teaching and lecturing on The Northern Rhythms Program of Music in Falcarragh, Co. Donegal. In 2002, she graduated with a First-Class Honours Masters Degree in Traditional Irish Music Performance from the University of Limerick and subsequently began tutoring flute and whistle at The Irish World Academy of Music and Dance. She was involved in early online lecturing initiatives at IWAMD and wrote / facilitated the very first online module to be offered to the B.A. students of IWAMD titled 'Traveller Music Studies'.

Courses Kirsten Allstaff Teaches:

Tin Whistle Basics

This course is aimed at the absolute beginner whistle player. By the end of the course, the learner will have a repertoire of seventeen popular Irish session tunes, the ability to play cuts, taps and rolls as well as a deeper understanding of the Irish music tradition. Tin whistle Basics is an excellent starting point for any aspiring Irish musician.  Your tutor Kirsten Allstaff will guide you every step of the way. First, you will learn how to hold the instrument, proper hand [.. Read More]

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Tin Whistle Foundations

The course 'Tin Whistle Foundations' is a continuation from Kirsten's last course 'Whistle Basics'. In it she explores simple tin- whistle embellishments such as the cut, tap, roll and the slide. Emphasis is placed on breathing, phrasing, variation and rhythm throughout the thirteen taught tunes. Jigs, Slides, Reels, Hornpipes, Barndances and an O'Carolan composition are all featured. In the videos, Kirsten teaches each tune slowly, phrase by phrase and recommends that students learn with her this way, by ear. The sheet notation for each tune is also included as a learning supplement for the tutorials. By the end of the [.. Read More]

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Flute Foundations

This course is aimed at the flautist who already knows how to play the flute but who wants to improve on the basic foundations of their playing. These foundations include ornamentation, tone, intonation and breath. Tunes taught will be picked from the repertoire of common session tunes enabling the learning flautist to go to a local session and join in with confidence knowing that he/she will have tunes in common with other musicians. Each lesson will focus on a specific element of flute playing and appropriate exercises will be given. The taught technique will then be applied to the weeks [.. Read More]

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Flute Progressions

This course has been designed to follow on from Kirsten's previous course titled 'Flute Foundations'. The aim of the course is to take flute players whom have already mastered the basics of tone production, ornamentation and intonation up to the next level of playing. The 'building blocks' that were introduced in 'Flute Foundations' will be expanded upon. Focus will be placed on more advanced ornamentation: the crann, the short roll and the bounce. Phrasing and breathing will also feature as will the use of the G# key. It is not a prerequisite to have a keyed flute for this course; [.. Read More]

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Irish Flute Skills

Irish Flute Skills is Kirsten's third OAIM flute course. The lessons are designed to follow on from her previous courses Flute Foundations and Flute Progressions. She continues to explore ways of articulating, phrasing and ornamenting popular session tunes and presents exercises to aid tone, embouchure and breath control. Each video lesson is accompanied by downloadable notation and MP3’s. Throughout the course, Kirsten teaches thirteen tunes including Reels: The Kilmaley Reel, The Peaceful Green Groves, Jim O’Donogues, Lady Ann Montogomery’s and The Mullinavat, Jigs: The Holly Bush, Garret Barry’s, and The Rookery, Waltz: ’The Munster Cloak’, Barndance: Pearl O’Shaughnessy’s and Slides: [.. Read More]

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Easy Tin Whistle Session Tunes

Due to popular demand, Easy Tin Whistle Session Tunes has been created as a companion and follow-on course to our most popular course here on OAIM: Tin Whistle Basics. Easy Tin Whistle Session Tunes consists of 15 easy and popular Irish Session tunes, 8 reels and 7 jigs, that you can easily master with little effort under the expert guidance of master whistler, Kirsten Allstaff. [.. Read More]

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Foreign Courses Kirsten Allstaff Teaches:

Tin Whistle-Grundkurs

Dieser Kurs richtet sich an Anfänger auf der Tin Whistle. Die ersten sechs Lektionen sind kostenlos, darauf folgen die elf Hauptlektionen, die abonniert werden können. Wichtige Grundlagen, zum Beispiel, wie man die Flöte hält, die richtige Hand- und Fingerstellung und eine gute Grundtechnik, werden in den ersten Lektionen vermittelt. Während des ganzen Kurses werden Tonleitern, Verzierungen und die Artikulation schrittweise und mit entsprechenden Übungen erarbeitet. Der Grundkurs rüstet angehende Whistler und Whistlerinnen mit den erforderlichen Grundlagen für die lange und abenteuerliche Reise durch die traditionelle irische Whistlemusik aus. Am Ende des Kurses verfügen die Teilnehmenden über ein Repertoire von siebzehn [.. Read More]

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