Belfast TradFest - Belfast Summer School of Traditional Music
27th July - 2nd August 2019


Enrol & Book

Belfast Summer School of Traditional Music

The team of international tutors is made up of master performers with proven track records as teachers and educationalists. The primary means of teaching and learning is ‘by ear’ with an emphasis in the less experienced classes of assisting pupils to develop oral/aural skills in addition to instrumental competency and developing core repertoire. There is a maximum of 15 students per class.


'Whistle and Sing' - Learn songs, airs and tunes in this beginner’s class for all ages.

'Whistle and Sing' - Learn songs, airs and tunes in this beginner’s class for all ages.


Whistle and Sing

Classes take place Monday 29th July - Friday 2nd August 2019 10:00am - 1:00pm at Ulster University Belfast Campus.

Ages 5+

No Experience necessary

You will need your own Tin Whistle (make sure it’s in the key of D). 

Learn Songs, Airs and tunes in this beginner’s class for all ages.

After a short introduction to the basics of the whistle the aim of the class is to learn a new tune every day.  The technique we will use is by ear and tablature (diagrams) so prior musical knowledge is not needed although notes will be given as an optional reference.

Niamh McCallan and Siobhan Murtagh will be taking the 'Whistle and Sing' class again this year at Belfast Trad Fest. Their musical journeys have followed similar paths, both starting off playing Tin Whistle aged 8 at a class in St Enda's GAA club, Glengormley. Progressing to be among the first members of the Glengormley School of Traditional Music, mastering instruments like the Button Accordion and the Flute and they have been heavily involved in the traditional music scene in Glengormley/Newtownabbey since. They have also been Musical Directors and leaders of the first Summer Scheme. A few years ago, after qualifying as teachers, their careers took them outside of Ireland. Niamh now teaches in an International School in Doha and Siobhan is teaching in a High School in Luton. They both travelled home last year for the Summer School and had an amazing time with the children, giving them a blas of Irish Traditional music- while having a lot of fun too!

Singing for beginners will be taught by Armagh Pipers Club tutor Pearse McMahon. Participants will learn to sing songs from the traditional Irish repertoire, in the aural tradition in which they were originally passed from one singer to another. We will explore the historical, literary and geographical background of songs originating from different parts of Ulster with a particular focus on the street songs of Belfast. The class will also include an introduction to basic singing techniques, as well as an overview of styles of traditional singing, such as ornamentation and phrasing.

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