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Afterthoughts from Ronan Browne: A Lesson in Humility

Proitze MühleOver the last week since I wrote Listening and Learning with Ronan Browne, memories have been seeping back in through the defenses of time; I’ll return to that trip to the Proitze Mühle in 1995 for a further thought, this time about de-blinkering.

After the listening class, one of the participants came up to me, introduced himself and informed me that he was available to accompany me on guitar at the recital that night; I answered, as kindly as I could, that I was fine and, being self-accompanying, I wouldn’t need any backing. He asked was I sure, saying that he had accompanied the guest piper on other years and that it was a nice thing to do. I realised it would be right to say “yes, of course” so we arranged to meet later and run over a few tunes in preparation.


Listening and Learning with Ronan Browne

Ronan BrowneIn every generation there are those who feel the urge to carry forward the essence of the culture, land and peoples that they are born into and amongst. Ireland’s Ronan Browne is such a person. A renowned piper, musician, composer, teacher, writer and historian, Ronan is not only making efforts to record and promote the traditional music of Ireland but, as the article below exposes, is also discovering and teaching new ways to hear and appreciate the beauty that lies at the core of Irish traditional music, language and culture. The grandson of the renowned Irish singer Delia Murphy, Ronan lives in Conamara with his wife and two children. For more information, kindly view the Ronan Browne links at the bottom of this page.

In the following article, Ronan Browne writes about the evolution and aims of his music appreciation and listening courses. We are very honoured and most grateful to Ronan for taking the time to pen this inspiring article for The Gandharva Loka Bloggo raibh maith agat a Rónáin.

Learn to Listen – Listen to Learn

Written by Ronan Browne with photographs by Lieve Boussau


Essentially Learn to Listen – Listen to Learn is a “music appreciation/listening class” (using sound recordings, pictures and videos) where the students teach themselves how to interpret any piece of music they come across. Instead of lecturing the participants as to what they are listening to, they tell me, learning quickly to think on their own.

I have been running the course in varying lengths from 45 minutes up to 3 days – the longer you do it, the more fun you have…!