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Irish Traditional Music Performance and TRAINEESHIP in Instrument Making, Repair and Maintenance Level 6

Course Code PTH

NFQ Level 6*

Duration 2 Years

Award Year 1: Pearson BTEC Higher National Certificate in Music (General)

Award Year 2: Pearson BTEC Higher National Diploma in Music (Artist Development)

* The Higher National Diploma is recognised by the QQI as being comparable to the Higher Certificate at NFQ Level 6

2-year traditional music performance course for musicians and singers with instrumental-making option. Students compose, record and produce their own CD

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Why choose Irish Traditional Music?

Students can complete either:

  1. Stream 1: HND in Traditional Irish Music, or
  2. Stream 2: HND Traineeship in Traditional Irish Music

Stream 1 Irish Traditional Music Performance

This programme is suitable for all traditional musicians and singers who wish to develop their practical skills and musicianship. The course places an emphasis on performance, developing musical skills, musical instrument making and music technology, deepening your understanding of Irish traditional music. In second year, you have the opportunity to record, engineer and produce their own CD, using college facilities.

Stream 2 Traineeship in Instrument Making, Repair and Maintenance

The programme, in conjuction with Na Piobairí Uilleann, also offers a traineeship in musical instrument making for students who wish to develop their skills in this area.

Instruments being made include the harp, mandolin/ mandola, the uilleann pipes, whistle and flute.

Those students completing the traineeship will be facilitated in completing 14 weeks relevant work placement

What will you study?

Year 1

  • Music Industry
  • Professional Development
  • The Evolution of the Instrument
  • Applied Music Theory
  • Performance
  • Instrumental Technique
  • Marketing and Promotion for Musicians Recording Technology (Performance Strand) OR
  • Mechanical Workshop Practices (Instrument Making Strand)

End of Year 1 Certification Higher National Certificate in Music (General)

Year 2

  • Creative Research Project
  • Creative Portfolio
  • Developing as an Artist
  • Advanced Performance Skills
  • Live Arrangement Skills
  • Regional Styles in Irish Traditional Music
  • Advanced Music Production (Performance Strand) OR
  • Work-based Learning (Instrument Making strand)

End of Year 2 Certification Higher National Diploma in Music (Artist Development)

Course Features

  • Expert tuition in all aspects of Irish Traditional Music and music performance
  • Workshops and guest lectures from leading exponents of the tradition.
  • Performance opportunities
  • Musical Instrument Making
  • Access to on campus recording studios
  • Strong links to the music industry
  • CD Production

What do you need to apply?

In addition to the Entry Requirements, for this course applicants will also be required to complete an audition.

Year 1 Higher National Certificate

Year 2 Higher National Diploma

  • Students who have successfully completed year 1 and have achieved a Higher National Certificate in Music (General), can progress automatically to year 2.
  • Applicants with an equivalent Higher National Certificate and subject to module compatibility may also apply directly to Year 2, Higher National Diploma in Music (Artist Development).

Progression Opportunities

  • Graduates who achieve a Merit/Distinction may apply for entry to the BA (Hons) in Media Production Management programme in BCFE.
  • Graduates of this course may also apply through the CAO and/ or the Higher Education Links Scheme for entry to higher and advanced certificate and degree programmes at national Institutes of Technology, Technological Universities and Universities, where graduates may gain exemption of one or two years from music degree courses in Ireland, (applicants should confirm linked awards and eligibility requirements with the relevant Higher Education Institution).
  • Graduates may also gain exemption of one or two years from other Music degree courses in the UK.

Career Opportunities

  • The course offers significant career opportunities for Our graduates are working successfully in areas such as performance, music production, music management, arts administration, festival programming, teaching, field recording and sound engineering.
  • Our instrument makers have the opportunity to supply instruments to the industry either through direct sales or through organisations such as Na Píobairí Uilleann.

Students' Work


During my two years of study here, I found myself emerged in all things music and I really loved every minute of it. I came out at the end a more confident and knowledgeable musician. I started playing the bouzouki during my time on this course and it was a solid foundation I needed for the music career that lay ahead of me. For that I thank all the lecturers at BCFE on the Ceoltóir course for their continued support.
Daoirí Farrell: Multi award winning singer and performer
Higher National Diploma in Music – Irish Traditional Music Performance, (PTH, 2007-2009)

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On successful completion of Year 1 of a two-year Higher National Diploma (HND) a Higher National Certificate (HNC) will be claimed for each 1st Year HND student. It will be included as part of the overall HND award on successful completion of Year 2.