About Ceol Tracks

Ceol Tracks piping pig logo
Ceol Tracks piping pig logo

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 who learned a combination of reading music and aural learning produced a better outcome. Using our years of teaching experience, we developed a method of learning is easy and enjoyable by combining music reading and the 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 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.

Denis playing Uilleann Pipes in Amsterdam
Denis playing Uilleann Pipes in Amsterdam
Carmel playing Tin Whistle
Carmel playing Tin Whistle

Meet Carmel O'Leary

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.

Why Choose Us

For centuries, if you wanted to learn how to play Irish traditional music you needed an instrument and a master teacher. The tradition was passed from master to student in an aural method, no sheet music, and you had to memorise what you had been taught. Popularity of learning Irish trad has spread all over the world and its not always so easy to get a teacher close by. With the introduction of modern technology, this is no longer a problem and self-learning Irish trad has become available to all interested to learn. Here’s what we have to offer.

  1. Proven Method. If you want to get up and running with Irish Traditional music quickly and easily, then our proven method is for you. Following the amazing success of our self-learning books, people who have purchased a copy have got up and playing much faster than other similar books on the market. The secret is our proven teaching method, one that we’ve been developing for years. Now the same method is available in the form of online self-learning courses and tutorials.
  2. Graded Instructions. All our lessons and tutorials are designed to get you up and playing as quickly as possible. The lessons are graded step-by-step to build your skill and confidence.
  3. Read Music. You don’t have to be able to read music as all our sheet music is in ABC note name format, and there is an mp3 reference included. We will teach you the basics of reading music for traditional players, just enough so you can independently learn a tune from sheet music.
  4. Visual Learning. For centuries, learning to play Irish traditional music has been past from master to student. We have included video stream with all our online tutorials, the closest thing to having a teacher in front of you. The videos are easy to follow and designed to give you time to develop your skill. We are preserving the visual tradition, only in a modern way!
  5. Aural Learning. Traditionally, learning Irish trad was taught by ear without sheet music. We have continued this tradition, only in a modern way with video streaming and mp3 audio. All our tutorials develop your learning by ear skills.
  6. Experienced Tutors. As you may have read, we are very experienced at teaching and playing. We understand the humps and bumps that everyone goes through when starting out learning to play music. That’s why we have designed our graded tutorials to help you succeed. You can always send us an email or message if there is anything you are not quite sure about in a tutorial. We aim to make learning to play as easy as possible.
Learning with Ceol Tracks
Learning with Ceol Tracks
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