Tuning Up

A Cork County Council Arts in Schools service organised in partnership with West Cork Music

Tuning Up is a music-in-schools programme which aims to bring students face-to-face with the best Irish performers of the baroque, classical, modern and traditional repertoire.  Tuning Up complements the music curriculum at primary and post-primary level.  It is concerned wtih broadening the young person’s experience of music, encouraging a sense of exploration and engagement with music in a positive interactive environment.

Tuning Up enables schools to apply for a workshop visit by a professional music ensemble such as a String Quartet, Brass or Wind Quintet, Baroque ensemble or traditional music group.  It gives young people an opportunity to experience live music performance at first hand, to learn about the various elements of music and how these combine to create a musical composition, to engage in discussion with musicians and to actively participate in a music performance.

Autumn/Spring 2018 - 2019 Season

The 2018/19 programme of Tuning-Up projects is finalised. 

The projects take place during October, November and January, and if you are interested in signing up for it or any of them, please contact Sara by email or by ringing the West Cork Music office on 027 52788.

October 8 - 12 Doolan String Quartet

The Doolan String Quartet will take Haydn’s ‘Emperor’ Quartet and Schubert ‘s ‘Death and the Maiden’ to new extremes of musical imagination and creativity. The four musicians and their facilitator Diane Daly will explore the musical structural form of Theme and Variations, to encourage their listeners to have fun with methods of composition, string playing techniques and recognition of musical ideas.

October 22 – 26  Aurora Harp and Flute Duo

Prepare to be swept away into the wonderful world of live music making and performance with the Aurora Flute and Harp Duo. In this informal and educational workshop Fiona and Katie, along with their instruments, will explore the importance and power of water in music and the world.

November 5 - 7  Artemis Brass Ensemble

This interactive workshop features the instruments of the Brass Quintet and charts the progression of music from Baroque to contemporary music and jazz in an exciting and interactive way. Hailing from Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, Artemis Brass features many of the island's leading orchestral and chamber musicians.

November 8 & 9 Irish Guitar Quartet

Join the IGQ as they hunt for Opals in Australia, take shelter from a storm in a Cuban Landscape, and dance the Habanera in Spain - all conveyed through the magic of the guitar. Through participation in an ensemble exercise, the students will learn about teamwork, cooperation and what it takes to be part of a successful group.

January 14 – 18 Bangers and Crash Percussion with Caitriona Frost and Alex Petcu

Two members from the Bangers and Crash Percussion Group, Caitriona and Alex, take to the stage to show off all that percussion has to offer. The world of percussion is incredibly vast and there are thousands upon thousands of percussion instruments in existence today. The aim of this workshop is to introduce students to some of these instruments, to raise their curiosity and give them a taste of music-making through both observation and direct participation.

Key Points

  • All primary and secondary schools in Co. Cork can apply for a workshop visit.

  • Workshops last for 1 hour, including performance and question time 

  • Students do not need to have formal music training to take part in workshops.

Tuning Up Fees 

Please note that the fees for each project are set according to the number of musicians delivering the workshop:

  • Workshops led by Artemis Brass - €350

  • All other workshops - €275

Application Process

  • If you would like to book, please download our application form, fill it out and return it to Sara O'Donovan by post to West Cork Music, 13 Glengarriff Rd, Bantry, Co Cork, or by email.

  • A new programme is advertised on a periodic basis to all primary and secondary schools in Co. Cork

  • Due to limited availability, workshops are allocated to schools on a first-come, first-served basis.

  • Booking - West Cork Music, 13 Glengarriff Road, Bantry, Co. Cork

  • Enquiries – Sara O'Donovan, West Cork Music, 027 52789, Fax 027 52797

What the Musicians Say

"Arriving at each new school is like jumping into unknown territory, and I’ve enjoyed the challenge of having to gear each concert and workshop towards whatever group of students you may find sitting in front of you...from junior infant kids to leaving-cert students, from small classroom of 10 to gym hall.  Being able to pass on our knowledge and love of Baroque music to the next generation is priceless, and what I love the most is the honesty of their reactions, fantastically imaginative questions and their ability to leave us smiling for the rest of the day!" - Kate Hearne, baroque cellist/recorder player

"These workshops focus on bringing live chamber music performances directly in the classroom of schools throughout the country, some particularly small schools in remote areas of Cork.  This direct exposure to music is absolutely vital in every child’s development and the effect of such close proximity to live music has a powerful lasting impact that cannot be underestimated.  IT has been a tremendously satisfying experience for us and we continue to be inspired by our experiences performing in these schools." - Sarah McMahon, Callino Quartet

"Very well planned and delivered tours, organised by West Cork Music, has enabled us to play for hundreds of school children all over the county..." - Eoghan Kelly, Irish Brass Ensemble

What the Teachers Say

"The quartet made the songs and pieces come alive for the children.  They used simple, clear explanations about the various pieces and musical elements.  The quartet covered the strands – “Listening and responding to music” and “performing.”  The highlights of the performance was when some pupils were invited to conduct the quartet.  The quartet finished by performing the theme tunes from The Simpsons and Mama Mia." - Ms Lawlee, 1st Class Teacher, Convent Primary School, Mallow

"The workshop was a huge success.  The music was interesting and varied and perfect for 2nd level students.  The interaction between the quartet and the students was great." - Maura McAuliffe, St Mary’s Secondary School, Mallow

"The visit of the Carducci Quartet was an outstanding success with our pupils.  The repertoire was very imaginative and well chosen and the pupil’s interest was held right throughout (never an easy task with 11 and 12 year old boys)." - Pat Fitzgerald, Midleton CBS Primary School

"We have found great support and validity in the interaction between our students and the professional musicians of the Tuning Up programme." - Carol Daly, Príomh Oide, County Cork School of Music

"The programme offers students the  opportunity to experience the musical journey from composition through to performance in a real and interactive way." - Mary O’Donovan, Director, West Cork Education Centre


Tuning-Up is part of Cork County Council’s Arts in Schools Programme and is organised and managed by West Cork Music. Tuning-Up is part funded by the Arts Council/An Comhairle Ealaíon