Bodhran Expert

You’re About To Learn The “Secrets” That Most Bodhran Players Will Never Know About How To Play With Dynamic Control From Day One. Whether You’re A Raw Beginner Or An Experienced Player These “Basic Strokes” Will INSTANTLY Transform Your Drumming.

Inside You’ll Learn:

·How to immediately apply the basic strokes to your playing for instant results.

·How to play quietly.

·How to avoid the scratchy sound.

·How toplay faster.

·How to avoid the sliding tipper.

·Why you may be making things harder than they need to be and how to make learning simple, fast and fun.

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{ 50 comments… read them below or add one }

Jane Ogilvie November 27, 2012 at 10:43 am

Hi Michelle

I just subscribed and receivedFree Report THE SECRET TO PLAYING WITH DYNAMICS.pdf Bodhran Troublshooting How To Avoid The Sliding Tipper And Scratchy Sound.pd. What I am most interested in is accessing the lessons – in order – that you have on youtube. Can you help me with that? They are excellent.

You taught my husband one year – at the Gaelic College in Cape Breton, I believe.

Jane Ogilvie

Dominic Hinchley November 28, 2012 at 10:50 am

Can’t wait to start!

maureen Malloy November 30, 2012 at 5:21 am

I am interested in beginning lessons

Phil November 30, 2012 at 9:45 am

I am looking forward to hearing more details about the 01-Dec-2012 Platium membership program….

chuck.brideau December 11, 2012 at 4:11 pm

dear michelle, i enjoyed watching and listening to your 1 and 2 lesson. i have one problem i went to a couple of music stores and i live in nj and guitar center told me they did not even carry a bodhran and being a drummer for years doing gigs in the past i was amazed they dont carry a bodhran drum. Can u tell me where i can buy one? chuck

kelly hamilton December 29, 2012 at 7:34 pm

Hi, I live in Ireland and have had a bodhrán hanging in my den for about 5 yrs now. Would love to learn how to play it correctly. I have never had a lesson, though this evening I went through you videos on utube which I must say are fab…. I love the way that you teach. I was wondering how much the membership is and if you ever come to Ireland to teach?


John "KOZ" Koslek III December 31, 2012 at 4:36 pm

My wife and I live in Kalamazoo, MI (U.S.A.), and her mother’s family originated in Limerick, Ireland. We attend the Irishfest here in Kalamazoo each year. I was taken by a lady in AnDro by the name of Carolyn Koebel. She is awesome. I spent over 25 years of my 60 years behind a drum set in a local R&R band out of Grand Rapids, MI. When I watched Ms Koebel on the Bodhran, and what she made it do, I was amazed and had to learn. My 2012 Christmas gift from my wife was an Walton 18″ Mahogany Pro, with tippers. I found you on you tube along with 2 others. I figure I now have the 3 best Bodhran instuctors on the planet and maybe by this time next year…? Well, who knows. Thanks for all the tips, tricks and lessons. Please do not stop. YOU ARE GREAT!! 🙂

John "KOZ" Koslek III December 31, 2012 at 4:38 pm

And next time, I will check my spelling before I hit submit!

Carla Cormack January 1, 2013 at 10:28 am

Hi Michelle,
Thanks so much for your Bodhran Challenge on YouTube. My bodhran was a gift to me for Christmas & your videos gave me somewhere to start.
Like you I am a pipeband drummer. I wanted to be able to venture outside the pipeband realm and the bodhran seemed the best place to start.
By chance could you recommend some tunes where I could apply your instruction, such as you did with the Barra MacNeils?
Thanks again & Happy New Year! All the best to you in 2013.
~Ontario, Canada~

MichelleStewart January 4, 2013 at 12:47 pm

Hi Kelly,
The Platinum Membership is £127 one time fee. You can find all the details of the programme at and find the registration page at
Registration to new students closes on Thursday, January 10, 2013 at 10pm UK time.
I do bodhran workshops and summer music camps in Canada, but haven’t been to Ireland to teach. Hopefully some day though.
Thanks for the feedback on the videos.
~ Michelle

michel January 6, 2013 at 2:03 am

un conseil sur modele de bodhrane d etude merci

Don Mathis January 8, 2013 at 9:04 am

I have wanted to come to part of the country for years! I can’t come this summer but I sure hope to next year. Thank you for all you do. You contribute a lot to the richness of my life.

Atlanta, Georgia

Rodger January 24, 2013 at 11:43 am

Hi Michelle, great videos! Where in Canada do you do your workshops? I think I ran into you on the streets of Toronto this past Dec 2012 in front of Steve’s music store, I had just bought a bodhran set (inexpensive Guiness logo drum). I’m having to wet the drum every day but it still has lots of over tones (like a snare that needs some dampening), I found a video on youtube about improving the sound on a bodhran ( ) what is your opinion? I’ve never been a big fan of putting tape on a drum skin. Also, do you use oil on your drum (I’ve heard of both lanolin and olive oil ?)

MichelleStewart February 13, 2013 at 5:31 am

I think I must have a few ‘twins’ out there because I wasn’t in Toronto this past December. lol Paul’s video on improving the sound of the bodhran is really good. You won’t believe the difference a sanding will make to your drum. Don’t be afraid to get rid of that Guiness logo with the sandpaper. I would give the drum a sand first, with 200, then 400, 600 and up to 1200 or 2000 grit sandpaper. Then see how it sounds. If it’s still really tight massage some dubbin into the playing surface and leave overnight then remove with paper towel the next day. Hope that helps.
ps. I teach at the Gaelic College in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. I’m there for two weeks in 2013 Aug. 5th – 16th.

Mac February 17, 2013 at 6:16 am

Hi Michelle
I have just acquired a Bodhran after many years of wishing, I had the honour of setting up a Burns night on a remote Scottish island where there are no pubs no shops and only 22 people but there was a Bodhran player and accordianist who were both really encouraging. I looked up your lessons because this is where the Bodhran player learnt her skills and consequently she highly recommended I should join up. However I see your course only runs from Jan 10 2013. When does the next course start? I have already sampled the YouTube video’s and am hooked. I will need to keep with them for some time as I have no musical skills whatsoever but I do have a love of Music and an inescapable wish to play something. Many thanks for the Vids. Hope to hear where I go now. Mac. Tring. UK

Roxanna February 21, 2013 at 4:55 pm

Hi. I just had a bodhran made for a friend who is six feet two. His is 16×6. I would like to learn and have one for myself. The maker makes various sizes and shapes of bodhran. 16×5,16×6,17×5 as well as oval shaped. The 16×5 seemed the most comfortable for me but I don’t know if this is just because I don’t know how to handle the 16×6 properly. I heard the 6 inch sound better and are the most common. I am 5 foot six. How do you choose? What size do you typically play? Thank you. Roxanna

Miguel February 21, 2013 at 10:13 pm

Hello, i start to play the Bodhran, I hope your videos help me in my learning and any doubts i’ll told you inmediately. Thank you.

Bruce March 6, 2013 at 6:01 pm

Good evening, Michelle
I have watched your videos several times, and decided it’s about time I committed some time to this wonderful instrument. I have ben playing pipes for some years now, but in my retirement, I am taking the opportunity to expand my experince. I have questions about maintenance, tuning, and some other issues. Look forward to getting started. Regards

Marie Nunn March 22, 2013 at 5:31 am

Hi, I bought my Bodrhan just two days ago I am 64 years old, my concern is speed, I managed the down down up up down 1 2 3 4 but only up to 80 speed having a little difficulty with the up up. Looks like my Day 1 is going to stretch out a bit.

chuck brideau March 26, 2013 at 10:43 am

Hi Michelle i am enjoying your videos very much i am looking forward to learn all your patterns and teaching. i have been a drummer for years about to retire in a couple of yrs from my dot career and moving out of state to down maine and want to change my style of not only living but playing different kind of music that i have always loved to listen to.
i need your help not able to get your written material e-mailed to me hope u can get this resolved thank you keep up the good work u are doing really super.

Mark Hamburg March 27, 2013 at 4:35 am

‘Got my Bodhran yesterday – so, it’s time to start today!

Brent Lyons March 29, 2013 at 2:29 pm

Hi Michelle,
I am really interested in learning to play the bodhran, but I am worried about their sensitivity to humidity. I live in the desert southwest so it is very dry here for 10-11 months with 1-2 month of extreme humidity due to monsoon rains. Does this environment pose too much of a strain on a bodhran skin or could it be mitigated? Thank you for your advice.

Sheri C. April 16, 2013 at 11:04 am

Dear Michelle,
I never thought I would be one to develop an interest in learning to play a drum of any kind. Then I heard a country song, which relies heavily on a drum…I was hooked! Having both Irish and Scottish heritage, the bodhran captured my interest. I have ordered a drum along with several tippers of different varieties and lengths. While waiting, I am watching your lessons and trying to learn a bit so I don’t sound like a complete moron when I first pick up my drum. The best advice I found from all of you experts is to do some research before diving in. I can hardly wait to sit in front of your lesson videos with drum in hand. Thank you so much!

Rick April 20, 2013 at 8:10 am

Hello Michelle,
After watching all your great video lessons all one day I got really confused attempting the bodhram. I think my learning something new tends to be oversaturation then going back and finding the details.
I started learning with a Guinness metal drink tray and cut the handle off a wooden spoon. By putting pressure on the rim or back I can get tonal change from a high tinny sound to a low thump. This worked great for a few weeks, but not a traditional sound to it unless your still in the pub at 3:00 AM (LOL). I bought an inexpensive bodhram (less than $100) . The sound improved after I sanded the front and back of the skin. While tuning the drum I found that two of the adjuster screws were cross threaded so I ran a tap through the holes. Still didn’t tape the edge yet.
While viewing your videos you mentioned that you started playing the fiddle. With your drumming experiance (rythm and tempo) I think you have an advantage. I have eased off practicing and playing the violin when I went from violin hickies to a pinched nerve in the neck. My prefomance went well though. So this is the reason for starting the bodhran.
Keep on Smiling,

Judy May 22, 2013 at 12:04 pm

Hi Michelle,
I have been following your lessons for a bit then I got away from them as my husband and I began renovating our house. Time to get back to my lessons regardless. I love your sessions online. I am not a drummer and I have seen sheet music with all sorts of symbols and I have read much about playing the bodhran, it overwhelms me to the point where I start to wonder what have I started. Then I come back to your lessons and I soon remember why I started to learn to play, it is fun and I love how it can take me back to my roots! There is nothing better than that! Thank You.

Howard P. May 25, 2013 at 8:43 am

Hello Michelle,
Another long time kit, marching, symphony drummer/percussionist here, with Irish heritage on both sides, and a lifetime of love of Celtic music. After spending two weeks in Ireland last year, with many an inpromptu pub trad session, I developed a strong interest in expanding into playing the bodrhan. I so wanted to just pick up a drum and join the local talent, but I realized that playing the bodhran is not as simple for a beginner as accomplished drummers make it appear.
As a drummer myself, I can certainly appreciate your talent, along with the time and effort that you have put into developing your craft. Watching you play, whether simple beginner strokes, or complicated advanced patterns, your hand seems to float effortlesly over the drum. For me, the simple beginning process of converting a lifetime of controlling a standard drumstick, to holding a tipper in the correct position and making the proper strike on the head became my first hurdle. I took one lesson from a local instructor, and I was “hooked.” I was introduced to the proper wrist position, and the basic strokes. I also got to experiment with several different drums and tippers. Being at the very beginning of this new journey, I did not want to run right out and buy the wrong bodhran, only to have it become a dust gathering wall decoration. I am still in the process of researching and selecting a drum that I can “grow with.”
A suggestion that my instructor gives to all of her students was to use a pizza box, obviously new and unused, as a “practice pad”, on which to get used to the new movements of the up and down strokes, accents, and even rim shots. I have been using my pizza box along with your videos, and although it doesn’t quite sound the same as the real thing, it works quite well.
Of course with the box, you can’t really learn the proper hold position for the drum, or the hand work required for tonal control. For that step I will need to accuire a real drum. For a raw beginner though, practicing the proper hand and wrist positions with the tipper, the cheap pizza box seems perfect.

God bless you and your family, and thank you for sharing your beautiful gift.

Deb Perry May 27, 2013 at 3:56 pm

Hi Michelle,

I’m looking forward to your tips to help improve my very basic playing…..thanks. Bye for now,

Bev June 2, 2013 at 1:44 pm

Doctor says will be great physical therapy to regain some range of motion in my wrist after right wrist badly broken & dislocated in an auto accident 6 months ago. Now have a permanent metal plate & screws in wrist bone. My bodhran has been hanging on the wall way too long & not played for a couple of years; have forgotten everything once learned, but with your great videos, I hope to get back of some of what I’ve lost from the accident.

chris oz June 5, 2013 at 4:14 pm

what a great site, I just cant get enough

Gail Lancaster July 21, 2013 at 6:13 pm

Hey! I love your lessons on You Tube. I’ve found that other “lessons” will give you bad habits so I stick yours. Thanks for sharing! You have wonderful teaching skills.

Lisa McCall August 13, 2013 at 2:32 pm

Thank you for your excellently delivered lessons.
They are clear, complete, with tips to make you successful.
I play concertina but bought a Brendan White Bodhran many years ago. Now that I’ve become proficient at concertina, I’m so
motivated by your on line lessons, I’m ready for Bodhran!

Murray Perrett August 14, 2013 at 7:47 pm

Just bought my first drum, also just missdd you at the Galic College. I didnt have time to wait to meet you but will follow your lessons.

Graham August 21, 2013 at 8:18 am

Hi Michelle really love the videos, just a quick question, my drum is quite flaky and rough on the back, is it ok to sand or moisten.. take care

Doug September 1, 2013 at 3:16 pm

I recently purchased a Bodhran (I’m in Oshawa, Canada – outside of Toronto). It is an 18″ Bodhran – just from a music store ($100 or so) but the drums in your videos and other videos online (I started looking when I saw that yours was considerably smaller in diameter than mine) are smaller in diameter.
Is there a correct size of drum to buy?? What diameter should I be looking for?

Paul Irving October 18, 2013 at 2:00 pm

Hi Michelle and Everyone here!

Michelle, what is the music that is playing in the background at the beginning/end of your fab tutorials?

Many thanks


Bill Wallace November 6, 2013 at 4:24 am


Will you be starting another Platinum course in january 2014?
I’ve bought myself a basic drum – should give me a few weeks to get to grips with the basics!

MichelleStewart December 17, 2013 at 3:31 pm

Hi Paul, the music is from our friends in the band ‘Wolfstone’. They are playing ‘Psycho Woman’ a tune my husband, Mark Stewart, wrote for me. It is on their albums ‘Seven’ and ‘Live’. ~ Michelle

MichelleStewart December 17, 2013 at 3:33 pm

Yes, I’ll be having another Platinum class in 2014 Bill. You can get early bird notification by joining the waiting list at

Grant Cavanaugh December 25, 2013 at 2:51 pm

Hey Michelle, do you have any of your lesson’s on DVD? My DSL speed is to slow to watch your video’s and I’m just getting frustrated with it.

Mark January 1, 2014 at 8:23 pm

My question is I am a complete beginner what do you recommend for me to start out on? What size Bodhran and recomendation where to find or buy, thank you

MichelleStewart February 5, 2014 at 4:39 am

Hi, I don’t currently have my videos on DVD as my Platinum program is a virtual course with everything downloadable. I have, however, sent memory sticks off to one or two people in the program who have very slow internet access. I will be starting a new class this Spring so if it’s something that you think you might be interested in you can join the waiting list at and if you did register we could work out a way of getting the material to you on a usb stick. Slow internet drives me absolutely crazy so I feel your pain.

belinda March 2, 2014 at 1:09 am

Hi Michelle

Penny March 6, 2014 at 2:13 am

Hi Michelle,

I live in Somerset, I have always wanted to play the Bodhran, I meet with friends regularly who play folk music guitar, Fiddle, etc so I have finally got myself a drum and want to learn how to play.

I love your method of teaching, can you advise me how I can subscribe to lessons and how much it would cost.

Many Thanks

MichelleStewart March 7, 2014 at 7:32 am

Hi Penny,

My Platinum course is just about to relaunch, Spring 2014, and it’s £127. It’s for beginners as well as people who have been playing for quite some time. You can find out more about what’s included in the course here

If this sounds like something you’d be interested in be sure to get on the waiting list at

If you like my YouTube videos you’ll love the Platinum course. We go so much deeper.

Hope this helps,


MichelleStewart March 7, 2014 at 7:43 am

Hi Belinda,

Of course I remember you guys. So great to hear from you. Don’t worry, you haven’t missed the next class. In fact, I’m about to relaunch it this Spring. I hope to open it this month (March 2014) as there are enough people on the waiting list alone to fill the class, but I’m taking 30 pipe band kids to New York in April and possibly moving into our new house in the next few weeks. If I can do it in March I will, but if not, definitely in April.
I see you’re already on the waiting list so you’ll get notified before it opens up to the general public.

Take care and talk soon,

belinda March 10, 2014 at 1:51 am

Michelle…look forward too hearing from u about the next class. very excited.glad that there is one coming up . sounds like you r very there any thing i could work on before the class begins good luck with your move .thanks belinda

June March 28, 2014 at 6:02 am

When I was a child, I played a drum in a ladies pipe band, as an adult I was and am still into everything musical and took up tap dancing, which I loved, although my knees don’t like that nowadays, but – rhythm is in my blood I think. Anyway – a couple of years ago I bought a 12″ bodhran, played around with it for a few days, but found I couldn’t really get on with it – I got backache, so it was consigned to a cupboard upstairs. A few weeks ago some friends of mine wanted to do some Scottish and Irish music for a concert in July and I thought I would give the Bodhran another try and having watched one of your Youtube videos, I thought perhaps the drum might be a bit too small for me so I bought a cheapish 16″ instrument – just to try – since then, I have followed your Youtube video lessons and played ‘live’ for the first time the other day with other musicians. I am completely and utterly addicted, no backache. I play every day and can’t wait until I next meet with my musician friends. A whole new world of music has opened up for me. Thank you so much.

Carlos Hector Riveros June 27, 2014 at 3:44 am

Thank you very much for teach me about the bodhran. I’m musical instruments maker and art’s teacher too.
Congratulations for your wisdom girl…
From Bogota, Colombia thank you.

Ron Moss September 24, 2014 at 8:44 am

Michelle, thanks for your youtube video on the tipper making, I enjoyed it very much. Thanks again for all you do and your forever energy and positive attitude in all you attempt. You inspire me once again. I will make this tipper as soon as I gather the materials.

Ron Platnuim member first year class.

Hannah October 5, 2014 at 1:01 pm

Hi I just got my first bodhran today but the book I got did not help at all! I am going to subscribe as soon as I can, a friend has this site and she just loves it thank you thank you thank you your a life saver.

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