Waltons New School of Music - Introducing Bodhrán Course, Dublin

Introducing Bodhrán

Group Course for Beginners

Next course starts 18 January 2018.

Waltons New School of Music also offers one-hour Bodhrán Taster classes for visitors to Ireland.
See Irish Music for Visitors for more information.


Course Description

The bodhrán, a wood and goatskin drum beaten with a wooden stick, is the heartbeat of traditional Irish music. Designed for absolute beginners, Waltons New School of Music's Introducing Bodhrán course has taught hundreds of people how to play this great Irish instrument, and by the end of the course you will have the confidence to play a variety of Irish traditional rhythms and accompany other instruments, both solo and in sessions. (See Trad Slow Sessions for more information on educational sessions held at the school.)

The course includes the following elements:

  • Holding the bodhrán
  • Holding the beater
  • Basic strokes and variations
  • Reel and jig patterns
  • Other traditional rhythms (polkas, hornpipes, slip jigs, etc.)
  • Left-hand technique and varying the pitch of your bodhrán
  • Bodhrán care and maintenance

Participating students will need to have a bodhrán and beater to bring to class and to practice with at home. These are available from Waltons music shops and can also be purchased together with the course (see Course + Instrument Package below).

Have you enrolled in this course?
See our Introduction Handout for tips on how to get the most from it.

What happens after the course has finished?

Two weeks before the end of each Introducing… course, you will be given options for continuing your tuition at the school. Although a continuation ‘Improvers’ course cannot generally be scheduled on the same day/time as the Introducing course, one can be arranged if enough students would like to continue and your teacher has timetable availability. Students can also continue their tuition with either private (one-to-one) or small group lessons with other class members (see Private, Partner & Small Group Lessons). We are happy to discuss these options with you.

A demonstration of some techniques covered in the course:

Introducing Bodhrán is one of our group courses for beginners. Private (one-to-one), partner, small group and one-off 'intensive'  bodhrán lessons are also available for students at all levels, from beginner to advanced. Go to Departments & Faculty – Traditional & Folk Instruments or Departments & Faculty – Drums & Percussion for more information.

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 Course + Instrument Package

In association with Waltons music shops, the New School also offers a discounted Course + Instrument Package that provides students entering this course who don’t already have instruments with everything they’ll need. The package includes the course plus a high-quality Waltons 18-inch Tuneable Bodhrán and Beater (regular price €155.00) and a McBrides Deluxe 18-inch Bodhrán Cover (regular price €39.95), available to pick up from the school office on the day of your first class, for a reduced ‘package’ price (see below).

You should purchase this Course + Instrument Package at least one week before the first class in order to ensure availability of your instrument and cover before the course begins. All instruments are subject to availability.

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 Comments from Students

'I liked the relaxed atmosphere and encouragement. Really enjoyed and looked forward to attending each week.'
– E. Burke

'Great people, great teacher, great fun.'
– D. Duggan

'Great teacher!
– C. Fagan

'I found the course great, as I had never played before and was not at all familiar with the instrument. We were eased into playing comfortably.'
– D. Flynn

'Fantastic course – really helped me to gain confidence in playing.'
– L. Larkin

'Highly enjoyable course. Would definitely recommend.'
– J. Ryan

'Great teacher, full of knowledge, who made the classes fun and incorporated extra teaching tools to go above and beyond.'
– T. Stephenson

Have you taken – or are you taking – this course? We would appreciate it if you could take a few moments to give us your feedback in a brief online questionnaire about it.

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 John Sweeney, Teacher

John comes from a musical family and has been studying and playing guitar and bass, as well as a range of Irish traditional instruments, for over thirty years. He works in many different styles, including blues, rock, jazz, traditional and flamenco, and he has performed and recorded with a number of Irish groups, gigging extensively throughout Ireland, Canada, the UK, the US and Spain. He began teaching in 1988 at the Scarborough School of Guitar in Toronto, Canada, where he also studied composition and flatpick technique. He has studied flamenco guitar with Miguel Escudero Lopez in Seville, Spain and traditional music at St. Enda’s Folk Park & Museum, and he continues to develop techniques in a range of guitar styles. John has taught guitar, bodhrán and tin whistle at the New School since 2003, and he teaches our Irish Music Tasters and outreach guitar courses for our In-School Music Programme.

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 2017-2018 Second Term Course Schedule

10 weeks, 18 January – 22 March 2018
Thursdays 7 – 8 pm


Course Alone: €170
Course + Instrument & Cover: €340 (package savings: €24.95)

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Enrolment for this course requires a completed Enrolment Form and full payment of the course fee or course + instrument fee. Places are limited to eight, and are available on a first-come, first-served basis, based on the date of enrolment. Most of our group courses are fully booked well in advance of their start dates, so early enrolment is recommended.

Purchasing this course or course + instrument as a gift? Please complete a Gift Certificate Booking Form.

Located in Dublin city centre, Waltons New School of Music is a comprehensive music centre, combining music tuition of the highest standard with innovative approaches to music education. The New School offers tuition in the broadest range of instruments and subjects of any music school in Ireland, for students of all ages, levels and abilities.

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© 2017 Waltons New School of Music
  • 69 South Great George's Street Dublin 2 Ireland 
  • Phone: +353 1 478 1884
  • Fax: +353 1 475 1346
  • Email: info@newschool.ie
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