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Teach Irish Traditional Music & Song (Foundation Certificate)

8-week online course with one live (online) introductory session. The remaining content is on-demand access (self-paced learning) and a final live (online) viva assessment. Booking options for NI/UK/USA-based participants see below.


The course will start with an Introductory session ONLINE (via ZOOM) on Sunday 7th April  (5:00 - 6:30 PM - Irish Time). The link to the meeting will be provided by the course tutor via email beforehand.


In collaboration with, the RIAM are delighted to offer this short course for Irish Traditional Music/Song teachers and performers.


Do you want to become a CERTIFIED traditional music/song teacher?

This is a must-do course for Irish traditional music/song teachers looking to improve their teaching skills and commit to their professional development. 

It is designed for existing teachers and for those musicians/singers who are considering teaching traditional music/song in the future. 

This foundation course provides teachers with a framework for planning and delivering traditional music lessons, for learners of any age, on any instrument (incl. voice), and at any stage of their learning journey. The framework enables teachers to offer students a well-rounded music learning experience, one that is not simply tune-led. It helps teachers re-think and re-imagine how they teach traditional music/song in order to help them meet the needs of today’s learners.  

Teachers will be introduced to new tools and strategies for planning and delivering traditional music/song lessons. And they will engage in reflective practice. 


This short course is for:

  • Existing traditional music/song teachers who want to refresh and improve their teaching skills.
  • Traditional musicians/singers who are planning to teach.
  • Traditional music teachers of any instrument.
  • Traditional music/song teachers working in any setting (schools, in the community, festivals and events, online and in-person, synchronous and asynchronous).
  • Traditional music/song teachers based anywhere in the world (the course is fully online).


Course Schedule:  Sunday, 7th April 2024 - Sunday, 26th May

Week 1 (7th April) - Introductory session (5:00 - 6:30 PM - Irish Time)          

Weeks 1-7 (7th April – 26th May):  - 20 hours contact time / 20 hours self-directed work. A course workbook (in digital and printable formats) will be made available

Week 8 (26th May – 2nd June): - Individual online viva assessments (will be scheduled).



NI/UK and/or USA-based participants:

To book this course in GBP (£315), please follow this link:  NI/UK-based participants

To book this course in USD ($390), please follow this link: USA-based participants

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course traditional music teachers will be able to: 

  • use the traditional music teaching framework to plan programmes of learning and individual lessons
  • write effective lessons plans 
  • teach traditional music better, using new tools and strategies 
  • understand their role as a teacher
  • articulate their personal teaching philosophy 
  • understand the lifelong learning journey of the traditional musician, and to situate each student on this continuum of development
  • practice self-reflection in order to continue to learn and grow as an educator


Participants need to be 18+

Participants should have some previous experience as traditional music/song teachers, or experienced musicians/singers who are planning to teach. 

Participants must have appropriate devices and internet provision to access the course.


Dr. Liz Doherty is a traditional musician and educator from Co. Donegal. She is founder and Director of I Teach Trad, a new platform specialising in professional development and training for traditional music teachers (

She has over 25 years of experience as a traditional music educator, holding lecturing posts at UCC (1994-2001) and at Ulster University (2007-2020). During this time she played a pioneering role in developing traditional music as a viable discipline in higher education nationally and internationally. She was awarded a National Teaching Fellowship from Advance HE in 2019 and was voted ‘Inspirational Teacher of the Year’ in 2017. 

Liz graduated from UCC with a BMus (1991) and from the University of Limerick with a PhD (1996), the topic of which was the fiddle music of Cape Breton Island, Canada. Her publications include The Cape Breton Fiddle Companion (2015), Crosbhealach an Cheoil/The Crossroads Conference (1996, 2013, with Fintan Vallely et al), and the website,, which helps traditional musicians prevent performance-related injuries. As a fiddle player she has toured and/or recorded with bands such as Fiddlesticks, Nomos, Bumblebees, String Sisters and Riverdance-The Show. She has also performed with Mícheál Ó Súilleabháin and the RTÉ National Symphony and Concert Orchestras and is featured on over 20 CDs, including her two solo recordings, Last Orders and Quare Imagination

Liz has previously worked with The Arts Council, where she established the Deis scheme, and is currently a member of Culture Ireland’s Expert Advisory Committee. She has directed festivals and events including NAFCo 2012, and more recently, has been music producer on programmes such as Fleadh (TG4), FleadhFest 2021 (Power Pictures) and Samhlú (Fibín Media), winner of the Prix circom Award, 2021.


"Mind blown!! I feel totally re-energised - and my toolkit is a lot heavier now! Every traditional music teacher should do this course!" – Noreen M., Co. Louth


"Before working with Liz, I rarely had a lesson plan in mind for 1:1 lessons and was struggling to pull all the bits and pieces together that come with teaching Irish traditional fiddling into a clear trajectory for my students. I still don't get it perfectly every time, but now I have a wealth of tools, resources + a community of fellow trad teachers to lean into.

It’s easy for us as teachers to get stuck in a rut of teaching tune after tune, and falling into a predictable habit of structuring our lessons in the same way. But what happens when we go several steps deeper and ask ourselves “why am I teaching this tune” and “what else can I teach about traditional music that this tune will help me explain”? If those possibilities have piqued your interest… you’re going to get a ton of value in taking this course and taking your teaching to a whole new level!" – Hannah H., USA


"The Teach Traditional Music & Song course was exactly what I was looking for - a course that takes seriously the pedagogy of teaching traditional music. The course invites a thorough rethinking of your teaching practice, and guides you through a framework for enhancing your approach to teaching. The course is also packed full of tools, resources and strategies for improving your lessons or classes. Liz Doherty is a thoroughly engaging and knowledgeable course leader, and the course is also a great opportunity to connect with other trad teachers. I'd thoroughly recommend this course to other teachers of traditional music." - Bradon S., U.K.


 “This course has invigorated my teaching, helped clarify my purpose, expanded my toolkit, and will inform my professional practice for years to come.” – Laura C., USA

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