Denis O'Toole holding a copy of the successful tune Tutor book from Ceol Tracks

Our Story

Ceol Tracks originated from an idea to make the learning and playing of Irish music available to anyone that wanted to learn to play Irish Music. After years of teaching music, we noticed that some of our students were having difficulty learning and became a little frustrated. We wanted all our students to enjoy the learning process. The difficulty was that everyone had their own way of learning. Some could read music, some could only learn aurally, and others a combination of both.

The tradition of learning was (and still is) passed from teacher to student by watching and listening to your music teacher. We found that students that learned a combination of reading music and aural learning was giving the student better results. Using our years of teaching experience, we developed a method of learning that was as easy and enjoyable by combining music reading and traditional aural method in the form of a set of easy to read/easy to learn tutor books. This method makes learning Irish trad accessible to all instruments and all types of learners anywhere in the world. Our method has been very successful, it has helped many people get started playing, enjoying, and connected with other Irish trad musicians.

Following our success with the books and an ever-changing world, we have now taking our method to a new level and developed some easy to learn online courses and tutorials. Each course/tutorial is graded, step-by-step, building a firm foundation as you progress.

We are always looking at new ways that we can bring Irish Trad to as many people as possible and making the journey of learning as pleasurable and easy as possible. So why not try our free course/tutorial and our paid courses/tutorials.

Meet Your Teachers

Denis O'Toole Playing Uilleann Pipes

Denis O'Toole

Denis O'Toole

Denis is a Dublin born traditional musician, set dancer and music adjudicator. He has been playing trad since he was a young child. Currently playing Uilleann Pipes as his main instrument and Irish Whistle as a secondary instrument. Denis is privileged to hail from traditional music family, namely the Travelling Dunne Family.

Some of his teachers include, Johnny (senior) Keenan, Tomás Keenan, Patricia Logan (Keegan), Gay McKeown, Tommy Keane, Liam O’Flynn, and of course his Dunne relatives.

As a young man, he spent time playing in sessions, performances on radio, television, weddings, touring around Europe and played in some of the biggest, and smallest European cultural festivals. He was also a board member and teacher at Na Píobairí Uilleann during to ‘90s. Denis was also a founding member and teacher of Garryowen Comhaltas in Limerick city. Since around 2010, he has been more involved the teaching and promotion of Irish Traditional music.

It was through his experiences teaching music that he founded Ceol Tracks. Ceol Tracks is a trad music publication company with the objective of making learning to play Irish trad as easy as possible, taking out some of the difficulties of learning music. He has published 3 books, which has been endorsed by Comhaltas and has had many great reviews, including the Irish Music Magazine.

Carmel O'Leary (O'Toole)

Carmel is a native of Kerry from the Sliabh Luachra area, well known for its musical culture, were she was learning whistle, flute, and accordion. She has also been playing music since she was a young child. Her family are very much involved in music. Some of her local teachers were Nicky McAuliffe, Johnny O’Leary (no relation), Maurice O'Keeffe, and Dan Jeremiah, to mention a few. In the ‘90s Carmel attended Na Píobairí Uilleann to learn the Uilleann Pipes under the guidance of Nollaig Mac Cárthaigh and Mick O'Brien.

Carmel worked as a freelance music teacher in Dublin for many years and has also played music around Ireland and Europe, preformed for radio and weddings. She was also a whistle teacher for the Willie Clancy and Joe Mooney summer schools. Carmel is also a qualified music adjudicator and has adjudicated county, regional, and All Ireland Fleadh. It was through Na Píobairí Uilleann that she met Denis O’Toole.

Carmel is also a founder member and teacher at the Garryowen Comhaltas Branch in Limerick city. She joined forces with Denis to form Ceol Tracks. Denis and Carmel now live in Santiago de Compostela, Galicia, Northwest Spain, where their new adventure into Galician traditional music and culture continues.

Carmel O'Leary Playing Uilleann Pipes

Carmel O'Leary (O'Toole)

Why Choose Us?

If you want to get up and running with Irish Traditional music quickly and easily, then our proven method is for you. We have carefully designed the tutorials in graded steps so you can build a solid foundation from the get-go. With our once-off purchasing, you don’t have to worry about subscriptions, you can access the tutorials at your leisure. Every tutorial will build on the essential learning skills.

  • Graded Tutorials: There are 64 tunes in each tune book, all well know tunes played in most public sessions or gatherings. The tunes are laid out in an easy to read format. For starters, there is one tune on each page, this will help you concentrate on only learning this tune as it can be difficult to learn with a multiple tune per page system. There is large ABC note names so it is easy to read them and you will not require a magnifying glass. Each staff has only two bars of the tunes, so you can learn the tune in phases. It also helps you practice reading music.
  • Visual Learning: For centuries, learning to play Irish traditional music has been an aural tradition past from master to student. Due to the popularity of people around the world wanting to learn to play trad, a trad teacher isn’t always available and most of the material to self-learn is printed in music script, the dots and lines, so you have to be able to read music. To overcome this obstacle, we have included the bare bones of music theory for trad players. Just enough theory to get you reading music for trad. Some of the of the topics covered are: • Music Scales and Keys. • What is an Octave. • The Staff lines and note position. • Note duration. • Bars and bar endings. • Time signatures.
  • Aural Learning: The free audio included with the book will help you learn by ear, keeping the aural tradition of passing the music on to you. The audio is played at a slow to moderate pace on CD. You can play it in a CD player or convert it to MP3 so you can play on a mobile device. Listening to the audio help the tune stick in your head, which will make learning any tune much easier.
  • Tune Styles and ABC Note Names. Learn the different tune styles such as reels, jigs, hornpipes, etc. Learning to read music takes time and lots of practice. In the beginning its difficult to remember the note names and its position on the staff at the same time. To speed up the learning process there are note names directly under each note on the staff lines. By concentrating on the note names at first will increase your reading and subconsciously practice of reading music.
  • Finger Charts for Common Trad Instruments: Learning music is one thing but having to learn the mechanics of your instrument on top of this can be a challenge. To help you with this and to speed up your learning we have included finger placement charts in our tutor tune books. These charts show you were to place your fingers to make a note sound. They also give you basic instruction on how to use your instrument. All popular trad instruments played at session are included, which are: • Tin Whistle/Penny Whistle. • Irish Fiddle/Violin. • 21/23 Two Row B/C Button Accordion. • Irish G/C Concertina. • Irish Tenor Banjo. • Irish Mandolin. • Irish Wooden Flute. • Uilleann Pipes.

Get Started

Getting started is easy! Simply choose one of our books or a pack of books from our shop . The checkout process is easy. Once you make the purchase, we will send your order by post. Once delivered, you can start learning to play Irish Traditional Music the Ceol Tracks way.

Our News and Trad Events

Our Latest News

Nick Rabbitts of the Limerick Leader

Limerick tutor pens easy to read music tuition guide

ASKEATON musician Denis O’Toole is to launch a unique music learning book this Monday.

A qualified music tutor and sound engineer, Denis has designed the book – Ceol Tracks: Irish Traditional Session Music – which will be launched on Monday at 9pm in Dolan’s Pub, on the Dock Road.

Working with his wife Carmel, Denis decided to put the book together after seeing the shortcomings of some music tuition books.

Read more »

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