Donegal woman leads revolution in the teaching of traditional music

New system to support traditional music teachers

Donegal woman leads revolution in the teaching of traditional music

Buncrana fiddler, academic and traditional music teacher Dr Liz Doherty

A revolutionary new system to support traditional music teachers has been launched by Buncrana fiddler, academic and traditional music teacher Dr Liz Doherty.

I Teach Trad combines a specialised system with a customised set of resources for planning, organising and delivering traditional music teaching.

“There is no curriculum or syllabus for teaching or learning traditional Irish music,” says Liz, who’s from Buncrana and has taught in this field for over 30 years.

“It’s a problem common to folk music globally. Everybody is left to figure it out for themselves – what to teach, and how to teach it.

This is why I designed a set of tools and supports to help these teachers do their job more easily and effectively.”

Dr Doherty will offer a range of online courses, online and face-to-face training workshops and mentoring for individuals.

“We want to offer quality support for teachers in an affordable, accessible and flexible manner and this is the perfect mix.

"Teachers are out there doing amazing work – but it can be tough. I want to help make their jobs a whole lot easier. “

Liz has created her own framework, which “lays out a clear structure and system for planning, organising and delivering your teaching. I also developed a toolkit of specialist resources, and skills, and secret weapons designed to make my teaching better for me – and for my students.”

Her new system has already come in for high praise from key figures in the trad music scene. Fintan Vallely, PhD, musician, writer and teacher has described I Teach Trad as a “formidable expression of teaching logic and system.”

Dr Ryan Molloy, Associate Professor, National University of Ireland, Maynooth says it’s “the right programme, created at the right time, by the right person.”

Liz says the programme can be accessed not just by Irish traditional music teachers but by folk music teachers the world over.

The course is available to buy online; it can be followed at your own pace and in your own time. Training for groups of teachers can also be booked on the website, as can one-to-one mentoring.

Liz’s credentials are impeccable, as a performer, teacher, academic and a consultant in the field of Irish traditional music.

She’s been a lecturer in Irish traditional music at University College, Cork and at Ulster University and was awarded a National Teaching Fellow in 2019 for her work in traditional music teaching and learning.

She’s a published author and has played a leading role in organisations such Culture Ireland, the Arts Council/An Chomhairle Ealaín, the Irish Traditional Music Archive and recently co-produced the television series Fleadh 2020 for TG4.

As a fiddle player she’s recorded as a solo artist and with bands, performed on TV and radio and at Irish and international festivals, such as the Celtic Colours International Festival in Canada and the Tonder Folk Festival in Denmark.

As a fiddle teacher she runs the online Fiddleclinic.ie and runs Scoil Trad with her husband, Jim Woods, in Buncrana.

She’s taught at hundreds of festivals and summer camps at home and abroad including Milwaukee Irish Festival, Australia’s National Folk Festival, the Toucan Irish Festival in France and Scoil Samhraidh Willie Clancy in Ireland.

Find out more about I Teach Trad here or e-mail liz@iteachtrad.com.

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