Caitlin NicGabhann is a qualified secondary school teacher, but she never wanted to teach in the traditional classroom sense; her passion for music is one of the reasons she works so hard teaching music through her own website Even the parts of the job that are not wholly creative, such as paperwork, administration and making applications are all necessary elements of the business: “You don’t love every part of it” Caitlin says, “but I would sit and do that for hours and days because I know I am doing it for myself.”

Freedom is one thing, but to have a job that is also your pastime and passion is what has drawn Caitlin to her career; she believes her upbringing has played a large part in that journey. She grew up in a house where everyone played music and danced; her father played fiddle and her mother danced and it was there the passion started, the family would travel to fleadhs or festivals during school holidays. Music and dance have always been Caitlin’s passion and she met her husband Ciaran through music; he is a fiddle player from Gaoth Dobhair. Caitlin studied Music at UCC, earned a Masters and Diploma for teaching, and then toured the world dancing with Riverdance for a few years.
Local Enterprise Office Donegal Stories
The idea for her website came from her own experience on the road:
For many years, I travelled a lot playing and teaching the concertina and having a concert almost every night. A lot of those places would have people learning the concertina and the fiddle, but they didn’t have access to a teacher – and they really wanted the lessons. So, I decided I wanted to do something for people who have no access to lessons. I got a lot of requests for Skype lessons – but there were a lot of restrictions with it, in that you can’t play along with the teacher because one side was muted when the other side is playing.
Caitlin NicGabhann

Concertina Teacher,

Caitlin worked with her Local Enterprise Office to set up the website for concertina lessons; all lessons are pre-recorded on video and she has Starter, Improver and Advanced courses on the site. She has been astounded at how quickly the concept has grown: “From the first few weeks it was amazing, people from all over the world were logging on, about half of them from America.”

Caitlin has big plans for the business: “People want to be able to play in a session, so I see huge potential for the business to get even stronger. I would love to be able to continue doing what I am doing because it doesn’t feel like work when you are working on your passion – it’s kind of mad to think there are people sitting in their homes in South Korea with their concertina looking at a computer screen and learning from me in Donegal.”

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