Betsy O'Malley

(703) 927-4304 (cell)   [email protected]

Instruments & Instruction Offered 
  • Mandolin (basic beginner - advanced; rental instruments available)
  • Irish Tenor Banjo (basic beginner - advanced)
  • Irish Fiddle (advanced beginner - intermediate)

    Patient, experienced (35 years), personalized and affordable instruction. •  Stepwise plan to build efficient technique, tone production, and (optional) note reading skills  • Scales, picking (or bowing) patterns, timing, and by-ear learning skills • YOUR choice of traditional dance tunes to learn— from
    among Irish repertoire: marches, jigs, hornpipes, Kerry polkas and slides, reels - or Appalachian Old Time favorites. Music theory principles demystified using our exploration of rich and varied folk repertoire. Private or small groups classes available. Ages 12 and above - or call me to discuss exceptions. Ages 25 and under pay discounted rates of roughly 20% less, depending on package.

Lesson Rates

Free initial 20-minute introductory lesson

  • Block of 5
    • Adult - $50 / hour
    • Age 25 and under - $40 / hour
  • Block of 10
    • Adult - $40 / hour
    • Age 25 and under - $30 / hour
  • Block of 15
    • Adult - $35 / hour
    • Age 25 and under - $25 / hour
  • Block of 20
    • Adult - $30 / hour
    • Age 25 and under - $20 / hour
  • Single Lesson
    • All ages - $55 / hour


One hour or 30-minute lessons (at half rate, plus $5) available.

Lessons are billed in blocks of 5, 10, 15 or 20. Single lesson also available. Initial 20-minute introductory lesson available at no charge. Lessons fee is due in advance by check or cash. If you are absent, you will still be charged unless you give me 24-hour notice. If you provide advance notice, I will make up the lesson at a different time. If I am unable to teach a lesson for any reason, I will make up the lesson. Otherwise I will issue you a refund.


Education & Experience

1996 -2001: Group music classes taught through the local chapter of the Irish musicians’ association called Comhaltas Ceoltoiri Eireann (CCE) and Fairfax City Dept. of Recreation in northern Virginia. Weekly private lessons at my home for students from all over the greater Washington DC region, 1994 – 2016.

1998 – 99: Banjo instructor, group classes for annual Upper Potomac Irish Weekend in Shepherdstown, West Virginia

2005- 2017: Banjo and mandolin instructor, group classes for CCE MAD (Musical Arts and Dance) Week, an Irish arts summer school held annually in Bethesda, MD.

2004: Awarded the Teastas Teagaisc Ceolta Tire (TTCT), granting certification as a master teacher of Irish music; a diploma course given at the headquarters of CCE in Dublin, Ireland.

2005 - First Place in the Mandolin competition at the U.S. Mid-Atlantic Fleadh Cheol, in Pearl River, NY. Second Place in the Traditional Singing competition.

Professional performances and recordings with The Bog Wanderers, Celtic Thunder, Borderland Reunion Band, The Irish Inn Mates, and Iona, all in the Capital region, 1993 - 2013. For 12 years I played with a dance band for monthly evenings of lively Irish country/social dancing, group dances called “ceilis” and “sets.” I was a frequent returning artist at the Washington Folk Festival, The CCE Irish Folk Festival, appeared for Aer Lingus, The Irish Embassy, National Geographic, and Catholic University, as well as other concert halls, festival stages, restaurant/pubs, special events, and private celebrations.

B.S. in Dance Education from NYU, New York, New York

Originally from NJ, I resided just outside Washington DC for 28 years. I’m now settled with my husband Robin for the long term in Fort Collins, since late 2017.

"Multi-instrumentalist Betsy O’Malley is a real star of the East Coast Irish music scene. She’s also known for her heartfelt renditions of traditional songs from Ireland and America – many of which she learned from the great Dublin singer, Frank Harte. Music, is for her, a path of service as well as a semi-professional pursuit." -Jennifer Cutting Folklife Specialist at the American Folklife Center, the Library of Congress. Composer/Arranger/Producer of the Ocean Orchestra