Dublin-based Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann (CCÉ)
We sponsor several major recurring
Local Irish Music Teachers

teachers: if you would like to be listed here please contact us.


Private lessons from my studio in Silver Spring, MD. Beginning to intermediate for pennywhistle, and all levels for Hammered Dulcimer. 50 and 30 minute lessons available. Contact me for lesson rates. Hammered Dulcimer lessons include theory and how to arrange a variety of styles of music, including Irish. Pennywhistle lessons include reading music and playing by ear, and focuses on Irish tunes and ornamentation.

Visit www.karenashbrook.com for more information. Click on the sidebar "For Children" to download a free Irish tune book. Phone: 301-592-0101, email: mail@karenashbrook.com Visit my Facebook page: www.facebook.com/KAPO.AshbrookOorts and see Karen in concert at the Catskills Irish Arts Week 2011 and Karen's whistle class performing the Parting Glass at Kentucky Music Week, 2012.

Karen performs and teaches children and adults around the US on hammered dulcimer and pennywhistle. She has been on staff at the Catskills Irish Arts Week, Milwaukee Irish Fest Summer School, Augusta

Karen Ashbrook

Tinwhistle and hammered dulcimer

Heritage Irish Week and with our local CCE MAD Week. She coached a dulcimer student to two All-Ireland First Place Awards in two different age groups. She ran a DC area children's Irish music session for 10 years and founded and directs the Sligo Creek Hedge School - an Irish music & culture camp for children. She has numerous recordings on the Maggie's Music label.


Offering private lessons and workshops out of her home studio in Baltimore, for Goucher College students, and via Skype. Contact 443-629-8699 or Email laurabyrnemusic@gmail.com for rates and information.

Laura has developed a reputation as an excellent teacher both locally and internationally and has regular students who travel from Philadelphia, PA, western Maryland, the eastern shore, and central Virginia. Several of her students have won first place medals at Mid-Atlantic Region CCE Fleadh in New York. Laura graduated from the Peabody Conservatory of Music in 1995 receiving a BachelorÕs degree in Music Education and Flute Performance. Though classically trained, she chose to devote her musical career to Irish traditional music. After many trips to Ireland and studying with many of the older generation of Irish traditional players in the U.S., she is now considered one of only a handful to successfully cross over to traditional music from another genre. Laura has performed at countless festivals, ceilis and concerts in the U.S., Canada and Ireland with many of the great Irish music luminaries. She is a three-time 1st place winner in

solo flute, duets and slow airs at the North American Mid-Atlantic Region Fleadh competition. Laura has won multiple Maryland State Arts Council grants for performance, and in 2011 was awarded the Master award for the Maryland Traditions Master/Apprentice program along with her former student Patrick Armstrong. She has appeared on numerous recordings and has two solo recordings, "Tune for the Road" and "Lucky Day." Laura taught silver flute at the Suzuki School of Maryland from 1996-1998 and has been teaching Irish flute at Goucher College since 2002. In all, she's been teaching silver flute privately since the late 1980's and Irish flute since 2000. Laura founded the Baltimore Irish Arts Center in 2002 which offers group lessons in Irish music. Laura has taught for numerous workshops and Irish weeks around the U.S. including the Catskills Irish Arts Week in East Durham, New York and CCE MAD Week in Bethesda, Maryland.

Full bio at www.laurabyrne.com.

Laura Byrne

Irish wooden flute, tinwhistle, classical silver "Boehm system" flute, and recorder


Offers private lessons in his home in Falls Church, VA; or student's home (if in close-by Northern Virginia or Montgomery County). Contact for lesson rates.

Keith also teaches group classes in backing Irish tunes on bouzouki and guitar, and playing melody on tenor banjo and mandolin several times per year through the Washington Conservatory of Music, Glen Echo Park, MD. Online information and registration for classes at Glen Echo available at www.washingtonconservatory.org.

email: keithcarr@mac.com phone: 703-969-6909

Keith is known in Washington's Irish music community as an accomplished player of the Irish bouzouki, cittern, and tenor banjo.  He performs regularly in the duo Lilt and also with other Washington-area Irish musicians. He can often be found playing in or hosting Irish music sessions held in local pubs around DC, Maryland, and Virginia.  Keith has extensive training as a classical musician, having grown up in a family of professional music educators. He played piano and trumpet from a very young age, and he performed as a guitarist for many years. He is originally from New York, and moved to Washington DC thirty-some years ago after completing graduate school in Oregon. He has been a senior manager and consultant with international conservation organizations since the 1980’s. These days he is making more and more room to do what he loves best: performing and teaching traditional music.

Keith Carr

Irish bouzouki, cittern, tenor (4-string) banjo, mandolin, guitar


Offer private lessons in his home, all ages and abilities.

Silver Spring, MD - Forest Glen area, close to the Beltway exit for North Georgia Ave.

Email: jmitchellf@yahoo.com Phone: 703-989-7369

Mitch earned a Bachelor of Music degree (1982) in violin performance from The Catholic University of America's School of Music where he studied with Jody Gatwood and the late Robert Gerle. He has also studied Suzuki violin pedagogy with Ronda Cole and John Kendall and traditional Irish fiddling with Brendan Mulvihill. Mitch is founding director of The Bog Band, a group of young musicians, mostly fiddlers, who are mad for trad. The group performs at venues of stature throughout the region and has three CD's to their credit. A fourth is scheduled for release in January 2013. Mitch is also founding director of CCE MAD (Musical Arts & Dance)Week,

a summer camp that celebrates traditional Irish culture, music, and dance. Mitch leads two "next-gen" sessions on second and fourth Sundays each month (Limerick Pub, Wheaton: 4-5:15 p.m. and McGinty's Public House, Silver Spring: 5-6:30 p.m). Next-Gen sessions are designed and attended by younger players of all ages. Mitch also runs "Trad Irish Fiddle for Violinists" classes at the Washington Conservatory of Music in Glen Echo. He performs around town and can be heard regularly on Monday nights at the Irish Inn at Glen Echo with fellow Inn Mates.

Mitch Fanning

Irish fiddle, classical violin


Offers private lessons in her home in Cabin John MD.

Tina also teaches group classes for flute and tinwhistle several times per year through the Washington Conservatory of Music, Glen Echo Park, MD. Online information and registration for classes at Glen Echo available at www.washingtonconservatory.org.

Email: tinaeck@yahoo.com

Originally from Germany and now working as a Washington-based radio news correspondent, Tina discovered her passion for Irish traditional music in a local pub in Washington DC in the 1990’s. She has since performed at countless sessions, festivals, dances and concerts, including such notable venues as the Irish Embassy and the Kennedy Center. She has traveled to Ireland frequently and has learned technique and repertoire from some of the best traditional flute players in Ireland and the U.S. In 2011 Tina was awarded a Maryland State Arts Council Grant for Solo World Music Performance. She performs regularly in the duo Lilt and the bands Rambling House, the Flaming Shillelaghs, the Irish Inn Mates, and Cuil Mor.

Tina Eck

Irish wooden flute, tinwhistle


I teach beginning and intermediate Irish traditional fiddle, as well as other traditional music styles and skills that apply to all styles (ear-training, variation/improvisation, dance fiddling, music theory). I work with students age 9 and up, including veteran classical musicians who are new to fiddling.

Lessons are held at a private studio in Silver Spring (1 mile from Forest Glen Metro).

Phone: 301-565-2777 email: andrea@andreahoag.com
website: www.andreahoag.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/andrea.hoag.9

For more than 30 years, Andrea Hoag has devoted herself to traditional fiddling. Immersing herself first in southern Appalachian music and culture in the early 1980s, she then traveled in Ireland and became a regular at Seattle's Irish sessions. Overtaken by a love of Swedish fiddling, Andrea earned the certificate in Folk Violin Pedagogy from Malungs Folkhögskola in Sweden. Andrea's music has been featured on NPR's All Things Considered and Performance Today and has garnered a Grammy nomination. Andrea is artistic director of the cross-cultural Dovetail Ensemble (www.freydashands.org), an in-depth exploration of the process of collaboration between musicians and dancers from different traditions. She performs regularly with Maggie Sansone, Sharon Knowles, Karen Ashbrook & Paul Oorts, and others.

Andrea Hoag



I teach in-home on evenings and weekends, I can also provide loaner Uilleann practice sets to students while they are actively progressing in their instruction. Piping requires significant strength in the arms and upper torso, so the youngest pipers generally begin at nine years old. Of course, many younger students start on the whistle earlier. I prefer to teach traditionally (imitation/by ear), but will also work off the page to get started.

Located in Silver Spring, just North of the Beltway near Blair High School ("four corners", intersection of Route 29 and University Avenue). See www.sligoharps.com/Uill for information on my rate schedule, sound clips and information about procuring a workable set of Uilleann pipes.

Piping since 2000.

Best way to reach me is by e-mail, rkemper@ctia.org or phone (301)593-6954.

Rick Kemper

Uilleann pipes, beginning Irish whistle, Irish wooden flute


Lessons, group lessons and workshops for all ages both in home and while on tour. Gettysburg, PA, Montgomery County MD and Washington DC area.

Email: fynesound@comcast.net Phone: (301)938 5395

Once Sharon discovered the harp in her twenties, she immediately plunged into acquiring the necessary skills to play, teach, and perform music. From studying with harpers such as Mary MacMaster, Patsy Seddon and Judith Peacock Cummings, to playing in "innumerable" sessions, to taking three years of college courses in music theory, singing, chorus, music history

and piano as well as many workshops, Sharon devoted herself to becoming a serious musician. With her customary thoroughness, she took the time to acquaint herself with the pedal harp, to better enable her help students making the transition from pedal to lever harp. Sharon, who is most comfortable playing by ear, is a masterful accompanist and performs in Hen with Sue Richards, Fynesound, a larger ensemble which also includes two dancers, and in a trio with record label owner Maggie Sansone. She teaches harp all over the USA. Sharon is a respected adjudicator with the Scottish Harp Society of America and runs a nationally recognized concert series out of her home near Gettysburg PA. Her CDs are Ferry Cottage (with husband, John), Almost Home and Christmas Joy (Fynesound) and HEN by HEN. She is currently working on a solo CD, The Raven's Wing, which will have a companion book. Website: www.fynesound.com.

Sharon Knowles

Celtic harp


In-home private lessons. No age limit. Weekend teaching only. Gettysburg PA .

Email: fynefiddle@comcast.net Phone (717) 677-4420

John Knowles



I offer in-home private lessons. I accept beginning through intermediate level students, from 10 years old to adult. Location: Alexandria, VA.

Email: elise@celticweddingmusic.com Website: www.celticweddingmusic.com Facebook: www.facebook.com/pages/Celtic-Music-for-your-Wedding-DC-Live-Celtic-Performers/437042729644846 Phone: (703)522-2866

An award-winning flutist, pennywhistle player, and singer, Elise has been a fixture in the Washington Irish music scene for 30 years. Currently performing with the band FLYNN with Zan McLeod and Alexander Mitchell, Elise has appeared at most major venues on the East Coast, including The Kennedy Center, Strathmore Hall, the Philadelphia Folk Festival and the Birchmere. Her last CD won the Wammy award for Best Celtic Album of the Year.

Elise Kress

Irish wooden flute, tinwhistle, classical flute


I currently teach full-time in my home in Baltimore, MD, Sundays through Thursdays. I accept children (beg. at age 5) and adult students. I focus on good technique, and emphasize ear training and listening for a strong foundation in music. For more information on my teaching techniques, schedules, workshops and fees, please email me.

Email: donnalongmusic@gmail.com
Website: www.donnalongpiano.com

Donna learned to play the piano from her father, jazz pianist Byron Long. When she moved to Baltimore, she took two years of Music

and Arts education at Catonsville Community College, and learned to play the fiddle from Brendan Mulvihill. Brendan and Donna performed as a Fiddle/Piano duo for 10 years in the Baltitmore/Washington area and produced two CDs, "The Steeplechase" and "The Morning Dew." Donna was also a former member of the internationally acclaimed group Cherish the Ladies, and recorded five CDs with them. In addition, she also has a solo piano CD called "Handprints". In the year 2000 the Smithsonian Institution asked Donna to represent Irish music in the series "Piano Traditions", celebrating 300 years of the piano.

Donna Long

Irish piano and Suzuki (classical) piano, Irish fiddle and Suzuki violin


Instruction offered through annual fall and spring group classes at the Washington Conservatory of Music, Glen Echo Park, Glen Echo MD. Schedule and online registration at www.glenechopark.org.

Email: jessewinch@hotmail.com Phone: 301-613-0753

Jesse Winch was born and raised in the Bronx of Irish immigrant parents. He is the former cathaoirleach (chairman) of the O'Neill-Malcom Branch of the CCÉ, the international organization of traditional Irish musicians. Jesse, a founding member of the bands Celtic Thunder and the Bog Wanderers Ceili Band, also performs with various other groups. He plays bodhrán (Irish drum; pronounced "bow-ron"), guitar, bouzouki, and harmonica, and has recorded widely with many notable musicians. In May of 2012, Jesse was inducted into the CCE Hall of Fame.

Jesse Winch



In-home private/individual lessons as well as group classes. Beginner through intermediate players.Located in Herndon, VA

phone: (703)435-2637 email: sneel05@gmail.com

I've played Irish music for more than forty years and have played in Irish bands in Utah (Tenpenny), New York (Genessee River Band), Colorado (Jigs Up), and Virginia (Spudduggery) and currently with the Virginia-based Cool McFinn. My main influences are the great Kevin Burke and Liz Carroll.

Stuart Neel

Fiddle, mandolin


Any location will be considered. Group,or private lessons Montgomery County area, (N.W. DC, and Northern VA considered)

Email: zmcleod@comcast.net Phone: (301)983-6326.

Please refer to www.zanmcleod.com for Bio, Discography, Photos.

Zan McLeod

Guitar (DADGAD or Standard tunings), Irish bouzouki


I primarily offer in-home private lessons. Occasionally I provide mobile teaching services depending upon particular student needs, and have organized group lessons at Aquinas Montessori School nearby the Mount Vernon, Virginia area. For selected primary and middle schools, I have given demonstrations of Irish Traditional music on the above listed instruments, especially in March for Irish Culture Awareness events.

My primary site for lessons is at my home in Springfield, Virginia 22150, conveniently located near the Beltway, I-395, and I-95 exits.

Email: mikejudy@cox.net phone (703)593-5075.

I have been teaching Irish traditional music for close to 15 years. I have played at sessions in the greater VA/DC/MD area, as well all over the US wherever my job travels have taken me, and in Ireland on holidays. For the past seven years, I've performed with Celtic Marc/Cool McFinn in and around the Northern Virginia area. Info can be found at www.coolmcfinn.com . Originally brought up and exposed to the modern jazz of the 1960s and 70s, I was taken up with the rebirth of Irish traditional music in the mid-to-late 1970s from the likes of the Bothy Band, Planxty, DeDannan, and the Chieftains. Fusions between them became apparent. My impetus to learn to play came from the many recordings heard on Myron Bretholtz's late-1970s, weekly 3-hour, radio programs, which introduced me to these and other traditional groups' driving rhythms and tunes.

Mike (Dennis M.) Schaeffer

Uilleann pipes, low whistle, tinwhistle


Lessons are taught on the campus of the Landon School in Bethesda. Maryland. All ages and levels are welcome, although space is limited. The Landon School is located in the Washington, DC area.

Email: violinist@gmail.com

Bob Spates is a professional performer on several instruments in many styles. He just recorded an Irish trad record with legendary Irish musicians Finbar Furey, Francie Conway, and Matt Kelleghan (from the band "Moving Hearts"), has taught at the Comhaltas Ceoltoiri Eireann MAD

fiddle week since its inception, is a champion Scottish fiddler, is fluent in jazz and bluegrass, and serves as Concertmaster, Principal, and violin or mandolin soloist with a number of professional orchestras. He teaches using techniques applicable to any style of music, with an emphasis on playing by ear (even if reading printed notes).

Bob Spates

fiddle (tenor banjo or mandolin lessons available by special request)


Lessons are held at my private studio, near downtown Silver Spring (metro Red Line). I also offer internet lessons via Skype (Skype name: dcirishfiddle). Students of all ages are welcome.

Phone: 301-873-3850 Email: philvar@erols.com
Website: irishfiddle.homestead.com/index.html
Facebook: www.facebook.com/philippe.varlet.75#!/pages/Philippe-Varlet/253011738057379

I have been playing and teaching Irish traditional music in the Washington DC area for over 35 years, have performed at prestigious venues like the White House and the Irish Embassy, and have taught hundreds of students over the years. My students benefit from an actual method I developed and perfected using my experience as a player for dancers and a session leader, and my vast knowledge of the Irish repertoire and of the history of the Irish music tradition.

Philippe Varlet

Fiddle. Also, at the beginner level: B/C button accordion, mandolin, tenor banjo, tinwhistle, and accompaniment on bouzouki and guitar

Private or small group lessons at my home in Wheaton, MD. Beginner, adv. beginner and intermediate levels

Email: tonyziselberger@yahoo.com Phone (301)946-0434.

Tony Ziselberger

B/C button accordion

Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann

O'Neill-Malcom Branch, Washington DC


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