How will this course help?

My course helps you, the cellist, learn how to play Irish slow airs so you can expand your repertoire. Do you want to captivate audiences with new solo pieces that feel good to play? This collection of high quality lessons will teach you how to play ten Irish slow airs from my popular book Irish Airs for Solo Cello. Because the airs are mostly very slow you can easily develop tone production and precision, to help in all pieces you play.

I used to feel awkward when people said "I love the cello, play for me!" and I only had solo Bach, or something I could play but really needed piano accompaniment. I wanted a piece that would be guaranteed to move people and be easy enough for me to play when not warmed up! At the same time I was listening to and playing a lot of Irish music in sessions in Ireland. In these sessions, whenever anyone sings a song or plays a slow air, the whole place goes quiet. Always struggling to be loud enough on the cello in the bar, there was a space for a cello to be heard. As soon as I started learning slow airs people would stop and listen. The airs are deep and emotional, about love and loss, and to play them on the cello is a revelation. A perfect match. Whenever I perform an air it is the peak of a show, the piece everyone comments on. They grab the audience, and I always enjoy playing them.

It is important to expand your repertoire and styles of playing, to feed your passion for the instrument, and keep your playing fresh. Otherwise your playing will always sound boring and never stand out. Without adding new feels to your playing you will never quite express the emotions you want to through the cello.

Get inspired by the lessons in this course, learn the pieces, expand your repertoire and play the way you want to hear!

The videos include;

  • Innovative music reading software making for easy to follow music
  • Clear direction to help you play Irish Airs in a traditional sounding way
  • Video lessons of each air in several sections 
  • Play through of each air 
  • Graded from Intermediate to Advanced

Oher lesson material includes;
  • Introduction with technical tips and a brief history of each air
  • Sheet music of each air
  • Audio mp3 of each air you can listen to on your devices


Benefits of the Course

  • New exciting repertoire
  • Develop your tone spectrum
  • Play music that moves you and your audience
  • Arrangements by a cellist for a cellist
  • Develop technique in a fun way
  • Discover the dark beauty of Irish Slow Airs
  • Expand your style and deepen your love of your cello
  • No expiry date on course

Bonuses Included

Discussion platform in course and direct email access to Ilse

Sheet music to download, including the complete book Irish Airs for Solo Cello (Value €20)

Mp3's to download  (Value €9.99)

Two Irish solo cello arrangements on course completion (Value €10.00)

MA (Hons) Music

Ilse de Ziah

I have run many workshops for cellists and other string players over the years and presently teach at University College Cork, conduct the Cork Light Orchestra, play contemporary 'deep listening' music with the Quiet Music Ensemble, work in theatre and play cello in many different styles, from Irish, Jazz, Rock and Roll to Classical. This has given me a broad experience of all the ways one can make a cello speak. I compose, arrange and publish music. I saw a need for quality solo pieces that are challenging but not impossible, sound great, develop technique and are perfect for performance. I wanted music for cellists, that when someone asks, "play for me, I love the cello", there is an alternative to the Prelude. (beautiful though it is!) I aim to help students improve through playing music they love, to develop technique, style and confidence.

Praise for this course:

5 star rating

What a Gift To Cellists!

Bob Morrow

The clarity and detail of Ilse's instruction is top notch. It is not just about the right notes and bowings but how to harness your instrument to create tha...

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The clarity and detail of Ilse's instruction is top notch. It is not just about the right notes and bowings but how to harness your instrument to create that haunting emotion that airs are known for. All with the ability to slow the video down. I'm still moving through the course but training tips like this next one are hidden gems in the instruction. >>Eamonn a' Chnuic and Double Stop Training - Love the Practice tip for perfecting difficult double stop passages that Ilse provides at the four minute mark of video #1. Good stuff and can be used in all sorts of ways! Now for the next three steps practice, practice, practice.

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5 star rating

Inspiring and really useful

Carol Haynes

I started learning the cello a few years ago and early on discovered Ilse's YouTube channel. I have always had a soft spot for the haunting nature of Celti...

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I started learning the cello a few years ago and early on discovered Ilse's YouTube channel. I have always had a soft spot for the haunting nature of Celtic music and was delighted when I bought a copy of her Airs for Solo Cello book that it came with a lovely personal note from Ilse. I have attempted to play most of the airs since then (some more successfully than others) and last year (2017) I contacted Ilse as I was visiting Ireland and asked to have a lesson. She was incredibly welcoming and both perceptive and supportive in her teaching. It was a real pleasure to meet and spend time with her, cello in hand. Her new online course is really well designed and presented, and I so wish this had been available when I first bought her book! The course starts with a couple of pages of introduction and then each air is presented in a standard multi-part format. First there is an introduction to each air which gives and introduction to style and some background. Then the sheet music is presented in PDF format so that you can play from screen or download and print it. Ilse then has a standard approach to teaching each air through video. First a full play through with score clearly visible and highlighted as she plays to make it easy to follow and full fingering. The highlighted score is a feature of all the videos and is very useful - especially as the airs are difficult to notate and so you can see the rhythmic and ornamental flexibility required as she plays. Her play though is followed by detailed tutorial videos demonstrating how to play each piece in short sections which contain lots of suggestions for practising and clear demonstrations of how to play the trickier bits. Each section is presented at least twice once focusing on the left hand and the other on bowing. Each video starts with a tuning note so you can play along and work through the tutorials. FInally there is an MP3 download of each tune. There is a lot of detail and hard work gone into this course. The videos are in HD and very well made on a black background making the illustrations very clear to follow. Not only is this a great way to get to grips with these airs but there is a lot of really useful advice on practising generally and effective examples of excellent cello technique that could help any advancing cellist. I particularly enjoy watching Ilse's beautifully fluid bow hand and arm - lots for me to work on! The course ends with a brief conclusion and links and finally a download link for the entire Airs for Solo Cello book - which includes written material and source tunes not included in the music downloads as you work through the course. I have to say the book is worth buying in hard copy - it is beautifully produced. Highly recommended and I do hope Ilse has success with this venture and is able to add new content from time to time. Thank you for the inspiration. Oh ... and by the way I also highly recommend her DVD "Living the Tradition" where Ilse travels Ireland finding out about the origins of these airs and playing them beautifully in the places they came from - lots of stunning photography too. She meets and interviews some amazing people and there are lots of interesting extras.

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5 star rating

Such a great course for a wonderful music

Rasso Steinmann

Ilse’s arrangements of these wonderful airs fit extremely well for the cello. The way they are set is very cellistic, they use all registers and effects of t...

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Ilse’s arrangements of these wonderful airs fit extremely well for the cello. The way they are set is very cellistic, they use all registers and effects of the instrument and they bring the best out of it. These arrangements contain different levels of technical challenges. It’s a great repertoire for cellists with different skills from moderate to advanced, there is something for everyone. In the videos Ilse has a very charming and motivating way explaining how to play these airs, step-by-step, also with very helpful hints, how to practice technically demanding parts. This really helps to find a quick access to this nice and pieceful music. For a non-Irish musician it’s also very helpful and intersting to listen to a native musician, who grew up in this tradition, talking about this music. I don’t know any other source where these airs became arranged for cello, Ilse is probably the first. I highly reccomend this course to all cellists, who like Irish music, either for playing for their own pleasure or in sessions.

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5 star rating

EXCELLENT COURSE !!!!!

Chris Podlaskowski

Having first purchased the book and CD, I was eager to purchase the course when it became available. Ilse has done an excellent job on the tutorials. Her e...

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Having first purchased the book and CD, I was eager to purchase the course when it became available. Ilse has done an excellent job on the tutorials. Her explanations of the arrangements and demonstrations are very easy to follow. I also find the additional material such as the history of the airs to be very interesting. I would recommend this course to anyone interested in Irish Airs. FIVE STARS *****

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5 star rating

Better than I anticipated

Carmen Robinson

This is the exact kind of sound and teaching style I have been searching for. Thank god for YouTube. I will finally get cello lessons-take that COVID! I'm...

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This is the exact kind of sound and teaching style I have been searching for. Thank god for YouTube. I will finally get cello lessons-take that COVID! I'm ecstatic and cannot wait to show off

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5 star rating

My First Irish Airst

Corinne Seaside

So far, I think it's absolutely fabulous. The instruction is extremely thorough for someone new to Irish Traditional with the sheet music, clearly marked an...

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So far, I think it's absolutely fabulous. The instruction is extremely thorough for someone new to Irish Traditional with the sheet music, clearly marked and then accompanied by excellent video with again complete explanation of the way the music should be played.

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5 star rating

Eamonn a' Chnuic - Ned of the Hill

Chris Walher

The demonstrations are inspiring and very instructive

The demonstrations are inspiring and very instructive

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Course Curriculum

  • 1

    Course Introduction

    • Welcome!

    • How to and Links

  • 2

    Eamonn a' Chnuic (Ned of the Hill)

    • Introduction to Eamonn a' Chnuic (Ned of the Hill)

    • Éamonn a' Chnuic sheet music

    • Éamonn a' Chnuic play through

    • Éamonn a' Chnuic tutorial part 1

    • Éamonn a' Chnuic tutorial part 2

    • Éamonn a' Chnuic mp3

    • How did you go?

  • 3

    Amhran na Leabhar (Song of the Books)

    • Introduction to Amhrán na Leabhar (Song of the Books)

    • Amhrán na Leabhar sheet music

    • Amhrán na Leabhar sheet music - low repeat version

    • Amhrán na Leabhar play through

    • Amhrán na Leabhar tutorial part 1

    • Amhrán na Leabhar tutorial part 2

    • Amhrán na Leabhar mp3

    • Amhrán na Leabher played at Derrynane, Co. Kerry

    • How did you go?

  • 4

    Inch Strand

    • Introduction to Inch Strand

    • Inch Strand sheet music

    • Inch Strand play through

    • Inch Strand tutorial part 1

    • Inch Strand tutorial part 2

    • Inch Strand mp3

    • How did you go?

  • 5

    Aisling An Oig-fhir (Young Man's Dream)

    • Introduction to Aisling An Oig-fhir (Young Man's Dream)

    • Aisling An Oig-fhir sheet music

    • Aisling An Oig-fhir play through

    • Aisling An Oig-fhir tutorial part 1

    • Aisling An Oig-fhir tutorial part 2

    • Aisling An Oig-fhir mp3

    • How did you go?

  • 6

    Cape Clear

    • Introduction to Cape Clear

    • Cape Clear sheet music

    • Cape Clear play through

    • Cape Clear tutorial part 1

    • Cape Clear tutorial part 2

    • Cape Clear mp3

    • How did you go?

  • 7

    A Stor Mo Chroi (Treasure of my Heart)

    • Introduction to A Stór Mo Chroí (Treasure of My Heart)

    • A Stór Mo Chroí sheet music

    • A Stór Mo Chroí play through

    • A Stór Mo Chroí tutorial part 1

    • A Stór Mo Chroí tutorial part 2

    • A Stór Mo Chroí mp3

    • How did you go?

  • 8

    Carrickfergus

    • Introduction to Carrickfergus

    • Carrickfergus play through

    • Carrickfergus sheet music

    • Carrickfergus tutorial part 1

    • Carrickfergus tutorial part 2

    • Carrickfergus tutorial part 3

    • Carrickfergus mp3

  • 9

    Down by the Sally Gardens

    • Introduction to Down by the Sally Gardens

    • Down by the Sally Gardens sheet music

    • Down by the Sally Gardens play through

    • Down by the Sally Gardens tutorial part 1

    • Down by the Sally Gardens tutorial part 2

    • Down by the Sally Gardens mp3

  • 10

    Fanny Power

    • Introduction to Fanny Power

    • Fanny Power sheet music

    • Fanny Power play through

    • Fanny Power tutorial part 1

    • Fanny Power tutorial part 2

    • Fanny Power tutorial part 3

    • Fanny Power mp3

  • 11

    Buachaill ó’n Éirne (Boy from Ireland)

    • Introduction to Buachaill ó'n Éirne (Boy from Ireland)

    • Buachaill ó'n Éirne sheet music

    • Buachaill ó'n Éirne play through

    • Buachaill ó'n Éirne tutorial part 1

    • Buachaill ó'n Éirne tutorial part 2

    • Buachaill ó'n Éirne mp3

  • 12

    Closing Page

    • Final Word and Links

    • Irish Airs for Solo Cello complete book

Discover the Beauty and Magic of Ireland and its music through these exquisite Airs

Cleverly modern arrangements can only be seen as a ray of light after the storm cloud that has been over our native songs GoldenPlec (Irish review site)

Here we have ten airs, some well-known, others waiting to be discovered, but all singing gloriously in their new raiment.
 There is something here for everyone. Tomás Ó Canain (composer and Uilleann piper)

Visit Play Cello Music Store 

for more Irish, popular, jazz and other solo cello sheet music.