Ballyfermot College of Further Education BCFE

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Music – Irish Traditional Music Performance Diploma (HND) Level 6 Higher

Course Code PTH

NFQ Level 6*

Duration 2 Years

Award 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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This programme is suitable for all traditional musicians and singers who wish to develop their practical skills and musicianship. The course is practical in nature with an emphasis on performance and developing musical skills. In second year, students record, engineer and produce their own CD, using college facilities.

The programme, in partnership with Na Piobairí Uilleann, also offers a musical instrument making strand for students who wish to develop their skills in this area. In September 2020 the Harp and Mandolin/Mandola was added to the Uilleann Pipes, whistle and Flute on the instrument making strand.

All instrument making classes are taught in Na Píobairí Uilleann’s PipeCraft Training Centre in Clonshaugh. As well as workshop time with an expert instrument maker students have access to the instrument making workshop on a regular basis to further develop their skills.

The course aims to enable students to deepen their understanding of Irish traditional music and to equip students with the skills and academic qualifications for a successful career in music.

Course Content

Year 1

  • Music Industry
  • Professional Development
  • The Evolution of the Instrument
  • Applied Music Theory Performance
  • Instrumental Technique
  • Marketing and Promotion
  • Recording Technology or Application of Machine Tools (Instrument Making strand)

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 or Work Experience (Instrument Making strand)

Programme 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

Entry Requirements


  • 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 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 many career opportunities for graduates and many of our former students are now 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 Piobairí Uilleann.
  • Graduates may also choose to continue performing on the traditional music circuit.

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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