Waltons New School of Music - Introducing Bodhrán Course, Dublin

Introducing Bodhrán

Group Course for Beginners

Next course starts 27 April 2017.

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 Dark Mahogany, Ebony or Walnut Bodhrán and Beater (regular price €155.00; please indicate bodhrán colour choice on your enrolment form) 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

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

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

'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

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

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

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

'Great teacher!
– C. Fagan

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. Each term all feedback questionnaires are entered in a draw for a €50 gift token, which can be used either towards additional tuition at the school or for instruments, sheet music or accessories at Waltons Music shops.

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 Kevin O'Hare, Teacher

Kevin O'HareKevin lives in Dublin, where he has been involved with traditional Irish music for over 25 years. In that time he has played with many well-known artists throughout Ireland and Europe. His main instruments are bodhrán, DADGAD guitar, standard guitar and mandolin; recently he has started fiddle, bass and banjo. In his travels Kevin has picked up various styles of playing the bodhrán, which range from the common Kerry style (holding the tipper mid-way), the rarely seen Limerick style (holding the tipper towards the top of the stick), knuckles (playing with the hand) and the ‘upside down method’ seen in Co. Clare (as the name suggests, holding the tipper at the bottom). This flexible approach allows students to explore and learn in the style with which they feel most comfortable. Kevin has taught at the New School since 2007.

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 2016-2017 Third Term Course Schedule

10 weeks, 27 April – 29 June 2017
Thursdays 7.30 – 8.30 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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