BA World Music

A Global View of Music

The BA World Music is a four-year, full-time undergraduate programme, open to students from all music backgrounds who wish to take a global view of music. Students study diverse music traditions from around the world, including global popular music, folk and classical traditions of Europe, the court music of Indonesia, drum and dance traditions of West African, middle eastern maqam and Indian raga.

The first year of the course is a common entry programme shared with all the BA’s (Irish Music, Irish Dance, Contemporary Dance, Voice and World Music).  The focus from the start of this first year is on your expanding your own performance practice.  You will learn to perform with ensembles in a range of world music styles, including pop music, Javanese gamelan, improvised modal traditions from India and the middle east, music of the renaissance and early baroque period, and West African drum and dance.  A global perspective on music will be developed by exploring the histories and cultural contexts of these diverse global music practices. In addition, World Music students have the opportunity to develop their skills on their first instrument (including voice) and to deepen their knowledge of their ‘own’ music, be it traditional, popular or classical music.

World Class Teaching Staff and Facilities

The BA World Music is taught by the Academy’s team of internationally renowned performers and scholars. Students also attend workshops, concerts and seminars presented by Irish and international visiting artists and academics. Lectures, ensemble classes, workshops, lessons and concerts take place in the Irish World Academy’s state-of-the-art studios, rehearsal rooms and performance spaces, and students have access to the Academy’s outstanding collection of world music instruments and cutting-edge music technology. Throughout the degree, World Music students also share several core course modules with other BA students including music theory, ethnomusicology, performance studies, ethnochoreology, and a range of vocational modules designed to prepare students for future careers.

New Artistic and Academic Horizons

In addition to their core modules, each year students choose from a large number of elective modules in dance and music, and other subjects outside of the performing arts. These elective modules offer students the opportunity to enhance their educational experience, and broaden their artistic and academic horizons. Elective options include a wide range of vocal and instrumental ensembles (from Academy choir to Irish traditional music ensemble), songwriting classes, lectures in country music, courses in choreography, North American percussive dance, Irish folklore and history, and various languages, including Irish.

Multiple Career Paths

The programme prepares students for many different career paths, including professional performance and teaching, further academic and performance studies, community arts practice, arts management and production, and various media roles.

Cooperative Education – Work Experience

In their 3rd year, all Irish World Academy BA students go on ‘co-op’, a university-wide module specifically designed for undergraduates to engage in real-world, professional environments.   The Cooperative Education division, in consultation with the Academy, helps students to identify working opportunities in a variety of contexts, including arts management, education, performance, media and related fields.  Students are encouraged to set up their own six-month placements or to engage in split placements (ideally no more than two placements) in order to explore if their expectations for future careers match the experiences they have during the co-op period.  Faculty visits, pre- and post- co-op assessment skills, and final report help students to reflect upon the process, enabling them to critically evaluate their time off campus.



Dr. Kevin Mc Nally is a musician from west Cork with particular interests in Javanese gamelan, popular music and community music.  He is a founding member and assistant director of the Irish Gamelan Orchestra, with whom he represented Ireland at the International Gamelan Festival 2018 in Java. As a teacher he has over fifteen years experience as a classical guitar tutor, and teaches Central Javanese Gamelan performance courses in University College Cork, University of Limerick and in Skibbereen.  He is the founder and director of the west Cork Ukulele Orchestra, and the co-director of the Clonakilty International Guitar Festival.

Dr. John Nutekpor is a scholar, educator and Performing Arts Practitioner with experienced skills as an event curator, musician, and dancer. He holds an MA in festive arts and PhD in Arts Practice from the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance, University of Limerick, Ireland. His research is focused on exploring Irish – Ghanaian cultural relationships with sustainable models of cultural integration. He has presented academic and performing arts workshops at national and international music and dance conferences over the past fifteen years. His experience in working with African migrant communities in Ireland played a crucial role in developing a festival called Afro-Irish festival.
JJ Riordan is a composer, multi-instrumentalist, producer, and educator. He has become one of Ireland’s leading practitioners of ‘found sound’ composition. Creating music using sounds taken from everyday items, places and spaces, his audio-visual compositions have collectively garnered over 16 million streams / plays across a variety of online platforms. Riordan’s musical interests are wide and varied, spanning contemporary Javanese Gamelan, popular music, throat and polyphonic/overtone singing, gagaku, calypso, electronic music, metal, rock and folk.
Dr. Yonit Kosovske maintains an active and international career as a soloist and collaborative artist on harpsichord, chamber organ, modern piano and fortepiano. Her repertoire spans the Renaissance through Contemporary music. She has been noted for her creative and elegant programming, and has been applauded for her sensitive and fiery performances.
Nick Roth is a saxophonist, composer, producer and educator. His work seeks the liberation of improvisation from composition, the poetic syntax of philosophical enquiry, and the function of music as translative epistemology. He has been composer-in-residence at the Centre Culturel Irlandais (CCI), the European Space Agency (ESTEC), dlr LexIcon, the California Academy of Sciences and the Irish Museum of Modern Art (IMMA). He is artistic director of the Yurodny Ensemble and a partner at Diatribe Records, Ireland’s leading record label for new music. His work is represented by the Contemporary Music Centre and the Association of Irish Composers.

Éamonn Cagney is a percussionist, composer and teacher, and is one of Ireland’s premiere musicians. He has spent 25 years studying African djembe and world hand drum traditions, also playing conga, cajon, udu, bodhrán, drum kit and composing on piano and guitar. Éamonn has recorded three original albums, and works with many artists and ensembles, especially in world, jazz, Irish traditional, improvised and contemporary music forms. Éamonn teaches percussion at primary, secondary and third level throughout Ireland. Along with lecturing and tutoring in the Irish world academy, he is a visiting tutor in both UCD and UCC Schools of Music.


Dr. Matthew Noone is an Australian-Irish ex-indie rocker, improviser, composer and performer of the 25 stringed lute called sarode. He has studied North Indian Classical music for overa decade with Sougata Roy Chowdhury in Kolkata and more recently with UK based sarodiya, K. Sridhar. He has performed Indian classical music across the globe and composes in a diverse range of disciplines ranging from Irish traditional music, free improvisation and contemporary electroacoustic music.

Programme of Study

Year 1

Practicum A

Practicum C

Critical Encounters with Music and Dance


Year 2

Practicum A

Practicum C

World Music and Dance Survey 1

Performing Arts Technology

Critical Encounters with Global Pop


Year 3

Autumn Semester: Co-op Placement

Practicum A

Practicum C

Research Skills:Ethnomusicology/Ethnochoreology/Arts Practice

Arts and Health


Year 4

Practicum A

Practicum C

Final Year Project 1

Professional Skills for Performing Artists

Final Year Project 2

Special Topics in Ethnomusicology




All Irish and EU applications (including mature applications) are processed by the CAO (  Applications from outside the European Union are processed by the international office of the University (


Students applying for first year of the programme and intending to graduate with the BA World Music  need to apply for LM135.

Students can apply with Leaving Certificate and QQI qualifications.  For details of QQI requirements please see the QQI Booklet.  Students can also gain access to the second year of BA through our own Certificate in Music and Dance.

All enquiries in relation to admission of students should be addressed to the course director (details below) or:

Admissions Office

University of Limerick


tel : +353-61-202700

email : 

Web sites:


Click here for a list of scholarships available to prospective Irish World Academy of Music and Dance students.


BA World Music (LM135) Audition Process for Entry in Academic Year 2023/2024

The audition for the BA World music (LM135) at the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance, University of Limerick will be conducted either online or in person (the choice will be made by the applicant).

Audition Requirements

Play / sing two pieces of your own choosing in any style or genre

Online applicants will be invited to submit a video recording of their performance of two songs and attend a remote interview.  

Face-to-face auditions will take place on the 13th April 2024. 

After your audition, the Admissions Department of the University will contact you to let you know the outcome.

Audition Points Framework

Applicants can be awarded a maximum of 200 audition points. 

Key areas to be assessed at BA World Music audition:

  1. Proficiency on Instrument

Through the performance of two contrasting pieces at audition, applicants will demonstrate a technical command of their chosen instrument/s.

  • Select pieces that you feel comfortable with and are within your technical abilities.
  • The panel will listen for fundamental musical elements such as playing in tune and in time.
  1. Musicality

The panel will asses how you use musical expression through dynamics, use of timbre or expression through the voice or your instrument.

  1. Performance Quality

The panel will asses the impact of the performance, your confidence on stage, presence and choice of pieces to demonstrate diversity.

  1. Creativity and Motivation

The panel will assess how your employ creative or unique approaches to the material you perform.  

  • Do you use any melodic or rhythmic improvisation? 
  • Can you arrange a composed piece in a new or novel way.
  • Have you composed your own song or piece especially for the audition?
  • What are your creative goals and ideals?

International Exchange

For information on the Erasmus options available in the third year of study please see this link.


Enquiries in relation to the course can be made to:

Dr Matthew Noone

Course Director BA World Music

Room No: IW2.10,

Irish World Academy of Music and Dance,

University of Limerick,

Limerick, Ireland.

Tel: +353-61-202918