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Know the Score - Read Music the Trad Way (Online)

In this course, Dr Liz Doherty will help you learn how to read and write down Irish traditional music using a simple, 4-step system and a suite of resources designed especially for the traditional musician.


Know the Score: Read & Write Irish Traditional Music (Online Course)

Are you a traditional musician? Are you ready to add sight-reading to your skill set? Then look no further! Our comprehensive new course is designed to empower you with the essential skills you need to read and understand music notation fluently.


Course Overview

In this course, traditional musician and education expert, Dr. Liz Doherty, takes you on a transformative journey through the fundamentals of music notation. Whether you're a performer, a student or a teacher, this course is designed for all traditional musicians on any melody instrument.

- Demystify music notation and learn everything you need to know to get you reading and playing tunes fast.

- Use our simple 4-step system to help you master sight-reading quickly and easily.

- Read tunes fluently, straight off the page.

- Learn how to write down tunes for yourself.


Why Choose This Course?

- Tailored for Traditional Musicians

- Designed and developed BY a traditional musician FOR traditional musicians

- Expert guidance from an experienced musician and music educator

- Engage in practical exercises to get you reading and playing right away!

- Certified by the Royal Irish Academy of Music


Who Is It For?

This course is perfect for:

- Traditional musicians on any instrument eager to understand and master music notation.

- Any traditional musician who would love to be able to read to read notated tunes confidently and fluently.

- Traditional music teachers keen to add this skill to their teaching toolkit.

- Traditional musicians or teachers wishing to earn a professional development certification.


Course Format

10 hours taught live online + 10 hours self-directed work (online resources provided).

Alternative option (Live in-person course)

Join us at Scoil Samhraidh Willie Clancy, 8th - 12th July 2024 for a 1-week music reading boot camp (this is a shorter version of the online course; writing down element is not included).

For more information about the Live (in-person) course, please go to: Know the Score - Read Irish Traditional Music (Bookable from 4th of March 2024)

Online Course Content

- Based on a 4-step system designed to get you reading quickly and easily:

      > Step 1: Understand the form and structure of dance tunes.

      > Step 2: Read and play the rhythms.

      > Step 3: Master the pitches.

      > Step 4: Put it all together – read and play fluently.

- Focus on one tune type (Polka) to master all the basics. Other tune types are introduced later on.

- Read and play from the outset.

- Practice your sight-reading using hundreds of newly composed exercises and tunes.

- Check your reading accuracy with our audio playbacks.

- Download our cheatsheets.

- Follow our tips and exercises to help you master the writing down of tunes yourself.

- Participants will demonstrate their proficiency in a short sequence of exercises at the end of the week.

(This short course is designed and delivered by I Teach Trad and is certified by RIAM. Participants who complete the course will be awarded a CPD certificate.)


Participation Fee: (includes all digital resources)

Ireland and EU: €225  /  NI/UK: £210   /    USA: $260    (see below how to book for NI/UK/USA)


Course Schedule 2024: March 5th – April 9th (All below times are Irish Time)

March 5th:   7:00-9:00 pm Live online [2 hours]

March 12th:  7:00-8:0 pm Live online [1 hour]

March 19th:   7:00-8:00 pm Live online [1 hour]

March 26th:   7:00-9:00 pm Live online [2 hours]

April 2nd:       7:00-9:00 pm Live online [2 hours]

April 9th:       7:00-9:00 pm Live online [2 hours]

Plus 10 hours of self-directed learning (digital examples to practice with).

Can’t make the live sessions? Don’t worry. Recordings of each of the lessons will be available, so you can catch up on demand.


NI/UK and/or USA-based participants:

To book this course in GBP (£210), please follow this link:  NI/UK-based participants

To book this course in USD ($260), please follow this link: USA-based participants


For more information go to


Participants must be 18+

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


Dr. Liz Doherty

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.


“Every traditional musician should take this course.” – Mairead Ní Mhaonaigh, Altan

“The best week and course I have ever done!” – Antonia Hayes, Principal, Crubany NS, Cavan 

“A brilliant course!” – Irene O’Meara 


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