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 2017 - 2018 Season

The 2017/18 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 5, 12, 13, 19 & 20 Irish Guitar Quartet

This fun and interactive workshop will stimulate students in the areas of music, creativity and individual expression. The musicians will play an exciting programme including Latin, Far East, Folk and American Classics to transport the students around the world while providing an age-appropriate roadmap of musical understanding.

October 23 – 27  London Chamber Brass

London Chamber Brass has played with the English National Opera and the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra as well as in West End shows, such as Phantom of the Opera. They are making an eagerly-anticipated return to Co Cork schools after two highly popular Tuning Up projects.  All of the group were inspired as children to take up an instrument, usually from hearing a musician at a school assembly, and they feel it is their duty to pass on their love of performing and to inspire young children to take up music.

November 27 – 1 December  Music and Story-telling with the Aurora Harp and Flute Duo

In this fun and interactive workshop, the musicians will help students discover the history and background of their instruments and demonstrate how they work. Their performances of music and themes from the classical and contemporary eras as well as music from the movies and the musicals will emphasise the importance of stories in music throughout the ages.

January 22 - 26 Bangers and Crash Percussion with Caitriona Frost and Alex Petcu

The Bangers and Crash Percussion Group consists of Ireland's finest percussionists. This year, the group is offering two new workshops that are designed to better cater for the youngest and oldest students. Students will be introduced to an enormous range of instruments and will cover topics that include pulse, rhythm, counting, dynamics, the role of a conductor, improvisation, history, science behind different instruments and much more.

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 Duos - €275

  • Irish Guitar Quartet - €300

  • London Chamber Brass Quintet - €350

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