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Traditional • Folk
World Instruments Tuition

at Waltons New School of Music

‘There is only one way of becoming a traditional player or singer, and that is by listening to genuine material performed in a traditional manner.’
– Brendán Breathnach

‘I’m not interested in heritage – this stuff is alive.’
– Martin Carthy

Tuition Offered

Instruments Taught

The New School offers a diverse programme of Irish traditional, folk and world instruments tuition for beginner, intermediate and advanced students in the following:

  • African Percussion
  • Afro-Cuban Percussion
  • Banjo (Irish/Tenor Banjo, Bluegrass/5-String Banjo)
  • Bodhrán
  • Concertina
  • Fiddle (Irish, Bluegrass)
  • Irish/Wooden Flute
  • Guitar (Trad, Folk, Blues, Flamenco)
  • Gypsy Violin
  • Harmonica (Diatonic, Chromatic)
  • Irish Harp
  • Low Whistle
  • Mandolin
  • Sean-nós Singing
  • Tin Whistle
  • Traditional/Folk Singing
  • Uilleann Pipes
  • Ukulele

Traditional and folk instrument tuition can also include preparation for Junior Cert. Music and Leaving Cert. Music practicals, and instrumental study at the school counts as the ‘personal skill’ challenge area for Gaisce – The President’s Award.

Tuition Options

Our options for traditional, folk and world instruments tuition include:

  • Weekly private (one-to-one) lessons, 30, 45 or 60 minutes in length.
  • Small group lessons, designed for students at the same level of proficiency who enrol together, and available as 30- 45- or 60-minute ‘partner’ lessons, as well as 60-minute lessons for 3 or 4 students.
  • Single 1- or 2-hour Intensive Lessons.
  • Seven group courses for beginners: Introducing 5-String Banjo, Introducing Bodhrán, Introducing Harmonica, Introducing Irish Fiddle, Introducing Tin Whistle, Introducing Ukulele and Introducing World Drumming (see Group Courses for Beginners tab).
  • Three group guitar courses for intermediate students: Acoustic Blues Guitar Basics, Flamenco Guitar Basics and Trad Guitar Basics (see Intermediate Courses tab).

See Tuition Options for more information on private, partner and small group lessons, and Enrolment • Fees for tuition fees and enrolment forms.

Group Courses for Beginners

Introducing Tin WhistleWe offer the following instrumental courses for absolute beginners (as well as a summer version of Introducing Tin Whistle):

‘I can’t speak too highly of Waltons New School of Music and of Paddy Kiernan’s tuition for the banjo. I love what I am learning and go away from each lesson more motivated to learn.’ [Introducing 5-String Banjo]
– M. O’Keeffe

‘Great teacher, full of knowledge, who made the classes fun and incorporated extra teaching tools to go above and beyond.’ [Introducing Bodhrán]
– T. Stephenson

‘This is a well-designed course where progress is nearly guaranteed (as long as you practice enough). Michael McInerney knows what he is talking about, and he definitely has the skills to bring you to the next level.’ [Introducing Harmonica]
– J. Steegmueller

‘The course was great. The 10 weeks flew by, and I can’t believe how much we learnt in that time.’ [Introducing Irish Fiddle]
– D. Robertson

‘The classes are the highlight of my week. I tried other instruments but always gave up, never found one that I could enjoy as much as I do the tin whistle. So much of it is thanks to Harry, who is a brilliant, expert teacher, finding the perfect pace to develop and always encouraging the group.’ [Introducing Tin Whistle]
– A. Boda

‘Fantastic course and great teacher. Learned far more than I expected to in 10 weeks!’ [Introducing Ukulele]
– R. O’Sullivan

‘I had been looking for a course like this and am so glad I found it. Exceeded my expectations.’ [Introducing World Drumming]
– E. Donohue

Intermediate Courses

Trad Guitar BasicsOur ‘Basics’ courses for guitar provide thorough introductions to the styles for players with some previous experience:

‘I learned more from this 10-week course than from trying to teach myself acoustic blues for over 10 years!’ [Acoustic Blues Guitar Basics]
– D. Farrelly

‘Fantastic course for anyone interested in this beautiful instrument.’  [Flamenco Guitar Basics]
– R. McKenna

‘Good atmosphere, enthusiastic and supportive teacher, and small class size. This course helped me take another important step towards becoming a better guitar player.’ [Trad Guitar Basics]
– F. MacCárthaigh

Irish Music Tasters

Irish Music TastersDesigned for absolute beginners of all ages and running since 1999, our Irish Music Tasters for individuals and groups are brief immersions in the world of Irish traditional music and have introduced hundreds of people from all over the world to its beautiful melodies and infectious rhythms. We offer the following options for both individuals and groups:

  • Bodhrán Taster (1 hour)
  • Tin Whistle Taster (1 hour)
  • Introduction to Irish Music (a talk/demonstration, 1 hour)
  • Combined Bodhrán + Tin Whistle Taster (2 hours)
  • Bodhrán Taster + Introduction (2 hours)
  • Tin Whistle Taster + Introduction (2 hours)
  • Combined Taster + Introduction (3 hours)

See Irish Music Tasters for more information.

Trad Slow Sessions

Trad Slow SessionsOur Trad Slow Sessions are traditional Irish music sessions in all ways except one: the tempo. We play the session tunes at a slower than normal pace (usually less than half the speed), so that beginning and intermediate players can more easily learn the tunes and join in the session. More experienced players who wish to refine their techniques at a slower pace are also very welcome. Trad Slow Sessions, open to both New School and external students/players, take place once a month on Friday evenings.

See Trad Slow Sessions for more information.

Traditional • Folk • World Instruments Faculty

  • David Burns • bodhrán, Irish Music Tasters, bodhrán outreach courses
  • Aoife Desmond • Irish fiddle, Introducing Irish Fiddle, Irish Music Tasters, Sounds Irish outreach workshop
  • Sarah Flynn • concertina, Irish fiddle, Irish Music Tasters
  • Éamonn Galldubh • uilleann pipes, flute, tin whistle, low whistle, bodhrán, Irish Music Tasters,
    bodhrán & tin whistle outreach courses
  • Patrick Kiernan • 5-string/bluegrass banjo, 4-string/tenor banjo, mandolin, Introducing 5-String Banjo, Irish Music Tasters
  • Miguel Angel Lejarza • flamenco guitar, Flamenco Guitar Basics
  • Harry Long • tin whistle, low whistle, Introducing Tin Whistle, Irish Music Tasters
  • Brian Lynch • African percussion, Afro-Cuban percussion, Introducing World Drumming
  • Cathy McEvoy • bluegrass fiddle, Irish fiddle, Irish Music Tasters
  • Michael McInerney • harmonica, acoustic blues & fingerstyle guitar, Introducing Harmonica, Acoustic Blues Guitar Basics, Irish Music Tasters
  • Ian McTigue • Sounds Irish & Drumming Around the World outreach workshops
  • Junshi Murakami • Irish harp, Irish Music Tasters
  • Gary Norman • ukulele, Introducing Ukulele, ukulele outreach courses
  • Lucie O’Flynn • Irish fiddle, Irish Music Tasters, Irish fiddle outreach courses
  • Meadhbh O’Rourke • tin whistle, Irish Music Tasters, tin whistle outreach courses
  • Oleg Ponomarev • Gypsy violin
  • John Sweeney bodhrán, tin whistle, trad guitar, Introducing, Bodhrán, Trad Guitar Basics, Irish Music Tasters, bodhrán & tin whistle outreach courses
  • Carmel Whelan • sean-nós singing, flute, tin whistle, Irish Music Tasters

New School Stage System

Traditional, folk and world instruments tuition at the New School is designed to work within our Stage System, a comprehensive methodology for assessing student progress, from absolute beginner to a professional qualification (diploma).

New School Stages, ten in all, are roughly equivalent to the ‘grades’ of graded music exams offered by widely recognised exam boards (ABRSM, RIAM, Trinity Guildhall, Rockschool, etc.) and progress from beginner to performing or teaching diploma level. Stages and their grade equivalents are:

  • Stage 1 (1 term of lessons or an Introducing group course for beginners, equivalent to Preliminary Grade)
  • Stage 2 (1 year of lessons, equivalent to Grade 1)
  • Stage 3 (equivalent to Grade 2 or an intermediate group course)
  • Stage 4 (equivalent to Grade 3)
  • Stage 5 (equivalent to Grade 4)
  • Stage 6 (equivalent to Grade 5)
  • Stage 7 (equivalent to Grade 6)
  • Stage 8 (equivalent to Grade 7)
  • Stage 9 (equivalent to Grade 8)
  • Stage 10 (equivalent to a Performing or Teaching Diploma)

Students who successfully complete a stage can be issued with a certificate of completion. Please let the school office know if you would like this certificate.

See About Our Stage System for more information.

Tuition Fees

Tuition fees for private, partner and small group lessons are listed in the Enrolment • Fees section of our website and depend on the length of lessons as well as the duration (number of terms) of enrolment:

Group course fees are listed on individual group course pages.

Enrolment • Booking

Enrolment for tuition at Waltons New School of Music requires a completed enrolment form and, except for those students using payment plans, full payment of tuition fees.

Intensive Lesson and Irish Music Taster booking requires a completed booking form and deposit.

Private, Partner and Small Group Lessons • Ensembles


Group Courses


Intensive Lessons


Irish Music Tasters


Gift Certificates


Your Feedback

Have you studied – or are you studying – a traditional, folk or world music instrument at the New School? We would appreciate it if you could take a few moments to give us your feedback in a brief online questionnaire about your experience here.


Other Information

Martin A. Walton Memorial Scholarships

Scholarships • PrizesTaking place in late May / early June each year, the New School’s annual Martin A. Walton Memorial Scholarship Competition awards full-year tuition scholarships in three categories:

  • Young Student of the Year (students aged 18 and under)
  • Mature Student of the Year (students aged 19 and over)
  • Most Promising Beginner (students who began studying their chosen instruments within the same academic year)

New School Ensemble Prize

This prize is awarded for the best performance in our scholarship competition by an instrumental, vocal or mixed ensemble made up of two or more students, as well as for progress over the previous school year.

New School Songwriting • Composition Prize

This prize is awarded for the most creative original composition or song for solo instrument, voice or ensemble, performed by the composer or songwriter alone or with ensemble for our scholarship competition.

See Scholarships • Prizes for more information.

Friday Casual Concerts

Our Friday Casual Concerts are a great opportunity for students to perform in public, in a relaxed and supportive setting, before friends, family and other students. These brief concerts take place once a month on Friday evenings at 7 pm in the school and allow individual students and ensembles to show off their skills and learn how to cope with nerves. They are also highly recommended for students preparing for grade exams.

End-of-Year Concert

End-of-Year Student ConcertOur End-of-Year Student Concert takes place in the National Concert Hall’s John Field Room each June and showcases some of our best students and ensembles, of all ages and in all music genres, as well as scholarship and prize winners in our Scholarship Competition. Performers are selected by their teachers and the school administration.

See School Concerts for more information.

Student Benefits

Currently-enrolled students (and parents of students) are entitled to several useful benefits, including:

See Student Benefits for more information.

Outreach Workshops

Drumming Around the World WorkshopOur Drumming Around the World workshop combines dynamic live demonstrations with a variety of fun activities, offering participants an enjoyable and positive introduction to music and rhythm in a multicultural context, as well as ‘hands-on’ experience with a wide range of percussion instruments.

Based on our popular Irish Music Tasters, which have been running since 1999 and taught hundreds of people from all over the world about Irish traditional music, our Irish Music Taster workshops provide engaging introductions to the beautiful melodies and infectious rhythms of Irish traditional music. We offer Bodhrán TastersTin Whistle Tasters, a fascinating one-hour Introduction to Irish Music and Combined Bodhrán or Tin Whistle Tasters and  Introduction. See Irish Music Tasters for more information.

Our Sounds Irish workshop is designed to open participants’ ears to the rich tapestry that is our music, our history, and our heritage. The workshop features dynamic live demonstrations and allows participants to develop their musical awareness through the hands-on exploration (using both bodhráns and fiddles) of the forms, rhythms and instruments of Irish traditional music.

See Outreach Workshops for general information on the workshops we offer.

Outreach Courses

Our Outreach Programme includes several curricular and extra-curricular music courses to primary schools, post-primary schools and youth centres. We offer Bodhrán, Irish Fiddle, Tin Whistle and Songwriting courses as part of the programme. See Outreach Courses for more information.

Music at Work Programme

Music at Work is a unique programme that provides convenient and affordable music courses in Dublin-area workplaces. We offer Bodhrán, Irish Fiddle, Tin Whistle and Songwriting courses as part of the programme. See Music at Work Programme for more information.

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