The Tune-sters holiday program will be back again in Melbourne in January 8 & 9, 2019. You can join our mailing list to stay up to date with all events.

Tune-sters lets you discover the world of folk music, where you learn to play in a band with no sheet music or music stands! Celtic traditional music has been learned and played by ear for centuries and this musical environment nurtures creativity, versatility and a sense of freedom and fun. Here’s your chance to join an instant band!

Especially for kids aged 8 – 14 who have been playing for at least a year.

Tune-sters at the National Celtic Festival, Portarlington, Victoria

Saturday June 9 11am – 12pm,
Sunday June 10 10:30am – 11:30am

Neighbourhood House, 28 Brown St, Portarlington

The next Tune-sters kids’ program will be at the National Celtic Festival, Portarlington, over the Queen’s Birthday weekend in June. Workshops for players aged 8 – 14 will be offered on both Saturday June 9 and Sunday June 10 and the kids will also get to take over the festival stage for a performance of their workshop tunes. We are very excited to announce our guest artists who will be teaching: the Catherine Fraser Trio from South Australia. Read about them below.

The National Celtic Festival is a vibrant, much-loved winter festival that many Victorians call their own. Director, Una MacAlinden, is passionate about traditional celtic music and is equally proud to bring leading international musicians to the festival, as to present our excellent local artists. The festival also has a unique focus on young musicians, and has been a driving force to actively engage and encourage young players both at festivals around Australia and internationally. The National Celtic Festival is held in the beautiful seaside village of Portarlington, 90 minutes from Melbourne and 30 mins from Geelong.
Kids 14 and under have free entry to the festival (but must be accompanied by an adult). Adults can purchase either a day ticket or a weekend ticket. You can buy online here.

About the Teachers


Catherine Fraser (fiddle)

Scots/Australian fiddler Catherine Fraser has an international reputation as an exceptional performer and teacher. She has toured and collaborated with some of the biggest names in the Scottish fiddle world, and her current line-up as the Catherine Fraser Trio includes the expertise of Trent Arkleysmith, guitar, and Rachel Johnston, cello. Catherine was the director of the highly-successful music camp SHISSF in NZ, and continues to be in demand for her teaching, most recently at the Sunshine Fiddle Camp in Queensland.

Rachel Johnston (cello)

Beginning her musical career at the tender age of three, Rachel progressed from the violin to the cello at six. “I found that the cello gave me a lot more freedom and a lot more opportunity to express myself musically.” Her love for the instrument continued all through high school and university and she went on to completing her masters in London. She worked and studied in New York and Berlin, then in 2006 she joined the Australian String Quartet in Adelaide. Rachel has taught at several music camps both here and overseas, most recently the Sunshine Fiddle Camp in Queensland, and Boxwood in Canada.

Trent Arkley Smith (guitar,mandolin, trumpet)

Trent’s musical background includes rock musician, circus musician, street and comedy artist and the acclaimed musical comedy group in Vienna, the Von Trolley Quartet, which Trent founded and directed for 10 years. He composes and records soundtracks for film and television, notably for the ABC, as well as for numerous independent companies. Trent’s current focus is on traditional music, and he is involved in several celtic and folk bands, including the Catherine Fraser Trio.
Trent is also an excellent whistler!

Judy Oleinikov (piano)

Judy is the director of the Tune-sters program and will once again teach keyboard. Judy is the pianist with the vibrant Melbourne Scottish Fiddlers, and loves to share her enthusiasm for the instrument’s role in celtic music – after all it’s the accompaniment that makes the melody shine! Judy teaches at the weekly Celtic Jam sessions in Melbourne, hosts the monthly jam sessions at Buck Mulligan’s Whisky Bar, and runs the annual Quebec Fiddle Weekend camp and festival.

Photo credit: Adam Purcell, Melbourne Ceili Camera

Here’s a glimpse into what the Tune-sters are all about!