Cork College of FET Tramore Road Campus


Cork College of FET Tramore Road Campus


Cork College of FET Tramore Road Campus


Irish Traditional Music

Take the first step!


The Irish Traditional Music course at Tramore Road is a one-year level 5 programme based in the heart of Cork City. This dynamic course affords students the opportunity to enhance their knowledge and understanding of traditional music while placing a strong emphasis on practical musicianship, complemented by opportunities to perform, manage events, and learn about the music industry.

A central element of this course is the opportunity to undertake practical work experience, helping students establish themselves within the performance community by building links with musicians in the industry. As well as ensemble performance classes, students will be afforded weekly one-to-one instrumental tuition from experienced performers. Regular guest workshops will be presented by some of the finest exponents of traditional Irish music as well as industry practitioners, providing students with a comprehensive understanding of performance and music business. Whether students seek to utilize this course as a pathway to higher education or to establish themselves as accomplished musicians, they will acquire hands-on experience and a comprehensive understanding of Irish music, performance practice, music theory and the workings of the music industry that will stand to them throughout their careers.

Tramore Road Campus has a long-established history of music education and is a vibrant hub of performing arts with the department supplying top quality professional performers and sound engineers to the music industry for over thirty years.


  • Leaving Certificate or equivalent.
  • Successful candidates will be selected on the basis of aptitude/audition.


One year full-time.


  • Student Services: €250
  • QQI exam fees: €50*
  • Facilities / Class Materials: €50
  • Guest Speakers / Workshops: €50
    Total: €400

Please note that only debit cards/visa/mastercard payments are acceptable for payment. The College cannot accept cash/cheque.

* Note: Students with medical cards are exempt from paying the QQI exam fee.


  • QQI Level 5 in Music (5M2011).


The following subjects may be offered:

Irish Music - 5N1454

This module provides students with both a thorough introduction and an experiential immersion in the music of Ireland, and aims to encompass all its richness and variety. The module will engage with the music of Ireland from the medieval period to the present day. The music of Ireland will be examined in its historical context and will be situated within the wider international context. The music’s historical, social, cultural and political dimensions will be discussed. Learning through performance practice is a key element of the delivery of this component and students will have regular opportunity to perform and arrange music throughout the year.

Ethnomusicology – 5N1443

“Ethnomusicology is the study of why, and how, human beings are musical” (Timothy Rice)

Ethnomusicologists place special emphasis on learning through relationships with musical communities and their personal involvement in music-making. This immersive experience, often humbling and enlightening, informs our understanding, interpretations, and analyses, which are built upon the perspectives of those we study alongside. In the realm of applied ethnomusicology, we also contribute as advocates, leveraging our expertise to effect positive societal change.

This module aims to introduce students to the field of Ethnomusicology. It involves analyzing the field’s historical development, exploring contemporary ethnomusicological perspectives, and addressing current issues. The course may delve into specific music traditions within this context, emphasizing that music reflects cultural systems and values. Beyond introducing diverse musical genres, it encourages students to adopt varied perspectives when thinking about music.

Music Theory and Practice - 5N1849

This module will equipe the learner with and understanding of the fundamentals of music theory backed up through practical musicianship.

Music Industry Studies - 5N1458

This module equips students with the knowledge needed to chart their career paths and engage with industry professionals in an informed manner. It imparts an understanding of the diverse agreements that musicians may encounter throughout their music careers. Participants will gain insights into industry structures and learn to decipher essential terms related to management, recording, publishing, and live performances.

Moreover, musicians will grasp the profound impact that these agreements can have on their careers. Armed with this understanding, they will make informed decisions and effectively communicate with professional advisors.

Music Performance - 5N1301

This module explores the practical and social contexts of music making. Learners will develop their understanding of Irish traditional performance practice through practical musicianship. Regular guest workshops from some of the finest exponents in Irish traditional music along with weekly one-to-one instrumental lessons provide students with an individually tailored learning experience.

Communications - 5N0690

This module aims to help the learner to acquire communication skills relevant to personal development and participation in the music industry.

Work Experience - 5N1356

This module aims to provide the learner with the personal knowledge, skills and capacity to participate in a music making community. Students undertake a period of supervised work experience by performing and playing in sessions, learning from other musicians and building connection within the industry.


For full details on progression opportunities see these links:

Excellent progressions opportunities including:

  • Cork College of FET, Tramore Road Campus: Music, Management and Sound II.
  • Candidates can also look upon this course as an excellent foundation course for a Bachelor of Arts-Music Degree (CK 104) in the College of Arts, Celtic Studies and Social Science at University College Cork.
  • Music Degree courses in Ireland and abroad.
  • For students not wishing to use this course as a pathway to higher education, the course offers a grounding in all aspects of performance, traditional Irish music, music theory and industry studies that will help students begin or further their careers in the field.


The course will offer significant career opportunities for our graduates. Providing them with the skills to work successfully in areas such as performance, music production, music management, arts administration, festival programming, teaching, field recording and sound engineering.


“Well, what can I say! Doing the level five course on Irish Traditional Music is one of the best decisions of my life. Being in the midst of musicians every day, learning tunes, individual tuition, workshops, going to gigs, playing in gigs, playing in class-what’s not to love!

We also have fun and craic while learning in a supportive and encouraging environment. It’s well worth the weekly travel from Kerry. I’d recommend the course to anybody who wants to improve their performance and learn more about our tradition of music. Just brilliant!”

– Helen Forde



“I applied for this course, then withdrew my application as I thought that my performance wasn’t of a high enough standard. However, after the taster event I decided to go for it! I am so glad I did. I have met the nicest people who are all interested in improving their playing. Conor is extremely patient with us, and very generous with his time and information. It is great to learn new skills like Music Theory and all modules are extremely interesting, like Irish Music and Ethnomusicology. I would advise anybody thinking about the course to go for it. Enjoy it”

– Deirdre Carroll



This course has given me a real educational experience in music and brought together many bits of information that I had encountered over the years. I particularly enjoy the background information that I am acquiring in Irish Music and in Ethnomusicology. It is inspiring to see the work done by music collectors and musicians in the past. As I go out interviewing musicians for the Ethnomusicology project, I am experiencing the raw passion that exists for our traditional music throughout the country.

 I really like how the course prepares me not just for dealing with music, but also with the people who are touched by it at all levels. I now know how to integrate with session musicians, talk their language and appreciate their knowledge and expertise.

 When I enrolled on the course, I had little formal music training and no idea what I was getting into. I was a bit daunted at the prospect of struggling with the unknown. However, I found the Tramore Road Campus environment to be very supportive, with a positive attitude that encourages me every day. The staff at TRC do their best to support the students and all the teaching that I have received has been excellent.

– John Vaughan


Conor Arkins, Course Director