The bodhrán, a relatively new addition to Irish instruments, adds an interesting and fun intensity to the lively and enduring genre of traditional Irish music. Use of the bodhran is ever evolving, along with the methods and techniques for incorporating the drum into the music.
My teaching philosophy is to provide a path forward for students to learn at their own pace, and to enhance their own ability to explore the limits of the instrument and its potential. Assessing students’ musical and technical levels allows me to direct their learning appropriately, which may include anything from the basic
aspects of technique and rhythm to advanced methods of stick and tone control. Regardless of their playing level, it is critical that students learn to recognize and embrace the spirit of the music.
"Rick Holt has taught bodhrán several times at the O’Flaherty Irish Music Retreat, and he ranks as one of the best according to surveys of our bodhrán students. Besides being an accomplished performer, he is very good at teaching the drum at all levels. He exhibits a very positive manner in his classes that is very encouraging to his students, and when asked who they’d like to see return, Rick is always among the names mentioned." - Ken Fleming, Director - O'Flaherty Irish Music Retreat
“Great teacher. Very helpful and encouraging!” - O'Flaherty Student
"Rick is a great instructor. He is incredibly knowledgeable, yet able to teach in a way that is easy to understand and learn. Exceptional technique, experience, and patience." - Danielle A.
"There is no question that Rick has the experience, knowledge and background to be an excellent instructor. Additionally he has the exceptional ability to explain things in terms that even I can fully understand. The best!"- Don S.
"Rick taught me the basic strokes to playing the bohdran. His attentive methodology enabled me to learn quickly. I was able to mimic his stroke and cadence. He provided constructed feedback when he noticed that my technique started to unravel. He spoke authoritatively about the history of and the construction of the bodhran. I highly recommend Rick as an instructor to anyone who wants to learn to play this instrument." - Kate G.
“Rick was great.” - O'Flaherty student
Education & Experiences
Troy University, Troy AL
Received Bachelor's degree in Music Education with primary focus on percussion. Obtained my teaching Certificate in the state of Georgia, however continued performing while teaching privately and holding workshops.
Studied jazz drumming privately with University of North Texas jazz professor.
Served on the board of the Traditional Irish Music Education Society - Established to encourage students, teachers and performers in their learning and playing of traditional Irish music through educational programs and performance events.
Craicaenn Bodhràn Summer School, Inis Oirr, Ireland - studied bodhràn with top tutors from Ireland and other regions of the world.
North Texas School of Irish Music
Located in the Dallas area and served as a staff member teaching private bodhràn lessons and coaching the Festival Band, which was comprised of advanced students arranging tunes and prepping for live performances.
2008, 09, 22
O'Flaherty Irish Music Youth Camp
Established in the Dallas area by TIMES for youth ages 10 - 17. Served as bodhràn instructor
O'Flaherty Irish Music Retreat - Midlothian, TX
Bodhràn class instructor, workshop presenter
North Texas Irish Festival Bodhràn workshop
Bodhràn workshop presenter as part of North Texas Irish Festival events
2008 - Present
5 Second Rule
Member of eclectic Celtic band "5 Second Rule"
Although there are a number of bodhran teaching methods, I have found it effective to focus on the following points with students at every level--beginner through advanced.
How to hold the drum
How to hold the stick
How to position the arm
How to position the wrist
How / where to strike the drum
Back Side Hand Focus
Traditional / double ended sticking
Single ended sticking
Back side hand positions
Stick (tipper) types, why and when to use each
Following the Tune
The various roles of the bodhràn
Recognizing patterns within a tune
Exploring the whole drum
To play or not to play
Jig, reel, polka, slipjig, hornpipe, slide, march and others
Common / traditional sticking patterns
Alternate and variations with sticking patterns
Practicing & Performance
How to practice
Tools for practicing
Microphones - recording and performing