The courses came about when a number of stars of the Irish music scene gathered in the cultural hub of County Clare in the west of Ireland recently and set about imparting their tremendous knowledge and skills in a series of video lessons. The result is an exceptional Traditional Irish Music Hub packed with free online courses created exclusively for Alison and taught by arguably some of the most gifted musicians in Ireland today.
The classes are the brainchild of Alison CEO Mike Feerick, who contacted singer and fiddle player Doireann Ní Ghlacáin through the Irish language TV station TG4 where she presents live traditional music shows. Doireann, who teaches the fiddle lessons on the course, organised the recordings, filmed by fellow musician Liam O’Brien. A native Irish speaker, Doireann’s grandfather was the composer Seán Ó Riada who is widely hailed as instigating the 20th-century revival of the traditional Irish music scene.
Doireann said: “It’s been a pleasure to get some of the best artists I know together to make these courses. They’re all experienced teachers as well as working musicians and generous with their time and expertise. We all learnt our craft from those before us, and it’s our responsibility and a privilege to pass what we know on to the next generation.”
The set includes free online certified courses at Beginner, Beginner 2 and Intermediate Levels in fiddle, Irish traditional guitar, bodhrán, flute, tin whistle, concertina, button accordion and voice.
Most of the tutors have been all-Ireland champions as soloists or in groups and many are multi-award-winning. The tutors include:
Sean-nós singing - Nell Ní Chróinín, all-Ireland champion, winner of the singing prize in the TG4 Musician of the Year, youngest ever winner of the national ‘Corn Uí Riada’ competition. Since 2016, Nell has been the lead vocalist with well-known group Danú
Bodhrán - Dermot Sheedy, Fleadh Cheoil winner and drummer with top band Hermitage Green
Flute and tin whistle - Brian O’Loughlin, Fleadh Cheoil winner and member of the triple all-Ireland winning Shandrum Ceili Band
Concertina - Conor O’Loughlin, Fleadh Cheoil winner, former winner of the prestigious Siansa Gael Linn competition with the group Dúchas and member of The Conifers
Button Accordion - Conor Connolly, all-Ireland champion and 2019 Young Irish Musician of the Year
Fiddle - Doireann Ní Ghlacáin, recording artist, presenter of Irish television station TG4’s live music and member of the famous Glackin and Ó Riada families
Guitar - Michael McCague, singer/songwriter and member of At the Racket, At First Light and Téada.
Not only will students of the course gain the skills to start or continue mastering these enriching instruments, they can also get a certificate to confirm their achievement by completing the course assessments.
For Mike Feerick, Alison CEO, having the courses published has been a labour of love. He said: “We are delighted to make lessons on how to play Irish Traditional music across a wide variety of instruments accessible for free to anyone anywhere across the globe. Irish music is a powerful part of Irish culture and in our experience as a country of emigrants, we have brought our music to the four corners of the world. If you are going to learn how to play a musical instrument, it is wonderful to be able to learn for free from the very best experts, and that is what this new series of free courses from Alison provides.”