Workshops and Master Classes

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IrishFest Atlanta 2014

Workshop and MasterClass details below.


Classes with Master Traditional Artists: $50

Workshops with Regional Artists: Included with the price of General Admission

Cultural Enrichment Opportunities:  Included with General Admission

Classes with Master Traditional Artists

James Kelly

Intermediate Irish Fiddle

10:40 am – 12:00 pm  Master Traditional Artist offering.  This Intermediate Irish fiddle class for all ages will work on good bowing, ornamentation, and ear training.  You will learn or brush up on a few tunes at a relaxed pace as we tackle the elements of Irish fiddling at an intermediate level.  (Class limit 20.)

James Kelly

Advanced Irish Fiddle

9:00 – 10:20 am  Master Traditional Artist offering.  This Advanced Irish fiddle class for all ages will work on ear training and distinctively Irish ornamentation through the acquisition of less familiar tunes at a brisk pace. (Class limit 20.)

Billy McComiskey with Shannon Dunne and Mike Simpson

Playing for Dances

9:00 – 10:20 am   The great bands who play the big céilís have major fan bases, recording contracts and regular gigs.  Learn from the masters to manage the magic on the dance floor.

Billy McComiskey with Mike Simpson

Tunes Intensive

10:40 am – 12:00 pm   An extraordinary opportunity to learn tunes on the fly, style and ornamentation, and a bit of history behind the music from the Irish Echo’s 2011 Irish Musician of the Year.  This year teaming up with Atlanta’s very own keeper of the tunes.

Dáithí Sproule

Irish Guitar Accompaniment

9:00 – 10:20 am   This Master Traditional Artist offering will lay a foundation for the subtle, improvisational art of accompanying Irish tunes and songs.  Learn the characteristic strumming patterns and rhythms, plus insight into the modal harmonies of Irish music.

Dáithí Sproule

Songs in English and Irish

10:40 am – 12:00 pm   Master Traditional Artist offering.  A rare opportunity to expand your repertoire of traditional songs in English and Irish. 

Shannon Dunne

Sean-nos Dance

10:40 am – 12:00 pm   Literally meaning “old style” in Irish, sean-nos dance is an exciting, improvised battering style dance, characterized by a loose, playful upper body, close to the floor steps and a strong musicality.  Up until recently, sean-nós dance has been kept alive in the remote areas of Connemara Gaeltacht, passed along through family/community lines.

Students will learn key elements of Connemara dancing, and traditional 8 bar phrases and steps. Students will learn how to understand the tunes themselves, and how to highlight using steps thus gaining confidence in their improvisations!

Shannon Dunne

Set Dancing Demonstration

1:00 am – 2:30 pm   The lively music of Ireland was made for dancing, and moving to the music simply enhances the enjoyment of it.  Set dancing is a traditional social dance form in practice for over 150 years in rural communities in Ireland.  It is very much alive and well today – in Ireland, across the United States and around the globe.


Workshops:Classes provided by well established music teachers.  With the exception of specified workshops*, most classes are intended for players learning the characteristics of Irish style who already have the basic skills required to play their instruments.  Participants should bring their own instruments to play and also an audio recording device to capture instructor examples for future reference.
Student age brackets:  Unless otherwise specified, most activities will be appropriate for learners grade 5 (age 11) through adults.  “Claddagh Kids” will feature a variety of activities for younger school aged children (K – 5.)
*Novice level music classes include Irish Whistle, Bodhrán, and the Tunes Starter for (Almost) Any Instrument.

  • Whistles will be offered for sale in class, and also at the Irish Traditions Atlanta table (along with instructor products like CDs and books.)
  • There will be a limited number of bodhráns available for purchase from the instructor, but also plenty of handy-sized pizza boxes for beginning bodhrán students or those who forgot their instruments.
  • Not sure where to start?  Bring whatever instrument you can play (or once knew how to play) and take the Tunes Starter for (Almost!) Any Instrument.


Enrichment Classes:  Irish music teachers and other invited specialists are offering “enrichment classes” that are designed to help provide cultural context for the music.   The options include  Ireland inspired fine art to developing music learning skills, and Irish literature to group dance basics.
Workshops by Regional Artists
Tim Hogan Bodhrán Workshop
Survey course of Irish music and dance rhythms played on the bodhrán (Irish frame drum).  Session etiquette for percussionists and instrument care will also be outlined.  Class includes an overview of the principal dance tune forms such as jigs and reels, hornpipes, slip jigs and slides. This class is for all levels.   [No instrument yet, or did you forget yours?  Tim has a few bodhráns to borrow or purchase.  Or practice with the provided pizza boxes.]
Barbara Joyce Claddagh Kids (K-5)
Children (K – Grade 5) will learn Irish dances, taste the food, explore the language and enjoy a bit of the arts and culture of the Emerald Isle.
Katherine Irwin Thomas Irish Fiddle (Adv Beg)
This class will work on traditional Irish tunes for fiddle (violin), violinists new to Irish fiddle are welcome. (Class limit: 30)
Jessica Sherwood Irish Flute (Novice, Beginning Whistle)
Novice level music class, whistles available for purchase.
Moira Nelligan Tunes Starter for (Almost!) Any Instrument
 This class is for adults or teens a full octave D scale on their instrument and who would like to learn 2 or 3 simple, sweet Celtic tunes and have fun doing so!
Among the instruments welcomed are: violin, cello, whistle, flute, kazoo, guitar, mandolin, concertina, accordion, tuba.
Mary Ujda  Céilí Dancing
 Dancers of all ages will quickly gain a working knowledge of the basic céilí dance steps as we learn some of the fun progressive dances from the Irish social dance tradition.  All experience levels are welcome, dance partner NOT required!


Cultural Enrichment Offerings
Martin Dowling Traditional Irish Music & Irish Society:  Historical Perspective
Fiddler and historian, Dr. Dowling will chat on topics from his field work with Northern Irish musicians in 2004 and 2005, and discuss his recently published book, Traditional Music and Irish Society: Historical Perspectives.
Clan na nGael Atlanta Gaelic Athletic Association.  Interactive Irish sports exposition.
Debbie Van Tuyll &  Carl Purdy The Myth, Magic and Music of Ireland
    “In a darkened hall where a turf fire glows, fairies, leprechauns, giants, heros, and even a few treacherous princes will come to life in a multi-media event designed to transport the audience back to ancient Ireland when myth, magic, and music were a part of the fabric of everyday life.”      Miotas Draiocht Ceol, which is Irish for Myth, Magic and Music, is the creation of Augusta musician Carl Purdy and writer/photographer Debbie van Tuyll. Their program will recreate the intimacy of an evening around a peat fire with an Irish seanchaí (a traditional storyteller).  Van Tuyll and Purdy are both professors at Georgia Regents University.  Sponsors of the program include the Porter Fleming Foundation, the GRU Office of Sponsored Research, the GRU Department of Communications, and the GRU Department of Music.
Film The Sligo Fiddle Masters
The story of 3 of the greatest fiddle players ever to grace the traditional Irish music stage.  Michael Coleman the father of Irish fiddle playing James Morrison the professor and Paddy Killoran the entrepreneur together their recordings set the standard for the time and left a rich musical legacy for future generations.



Payment for Workshops and MasterClasses will be accepted at IrishFest Atlanta. However, the MasterClasses will be kept to a limited number of participants.

Advanced Online Payment 

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Advanced Check Payment

MasterClasses can also be purchased in advance via Check payment mailed to Irish Traditions Atlanta. However, all check payments must be received by Irish Traditions Atlanta no later than 10/24/2014 and space within MasterClasses is not guaranteed.

Irish Traditions Atlanta
227 Sandy Springs Place NE #28395
Atlanta, GA 30328

For each MasterClass/Workshop, please specify the name of the attendee when mailing your check payment to Irish Traditions Atlanta.


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