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Foundations for Excellence Conference 2013: Growing a National Music Service in Ireland

National Director of Music Generation, Rosaleen Molloy, together with Patricia Flynn, Lecturer in Music and Co-ordinator of Music Education Courses in St Patrick's College Drumcondra, delivered a paper, ‘From the ground up: creating a national infrastructure for performance music education in Ireland’, at the Foundations for Excellence Conference 2013 in Totnes, UK. Their paper describes the theory behind Music Generation, covering the musical landscape of Ireland, the need for a new system of performance music education, the philanthropic model, music education partnerships and learning and implications.

Here is the Introduction to the paper:

“As a nation, we have been trying to grow a national music service for at least the last 30 years, if not longer. We thought this might be achievable during our economic boom.

Counterintuitively it took a shortage of possible state funding in a recession, together with the existence of a blueprint for music education, which had been piloted and evaluated. These were among the factors that brought the seminal music figures U2 and the philanthropic organisation The Ireland Funds together to engage with government departments to support a model of music education sustainable beyond the current economic conditions. This was to ensure for the future the potential that, no matter where they live, what their financial means, their social conditions and expectations or their cultural identification, every child who wants it, will have access to instrumental or vocal music education: performance music education.

The task of achieving this ambition lies with a new organisation, Music Generation. This Initiative is one of the most significant current developments in Irish music education with the potential to change both the landscape for music education in Ireland and also the roles musicians take in local communities, especially outside major urban centres.

Our paper sets out the landscape within which this music service is being nurtured, as well as how the blueprint has been realised in practice.”

‘From the ground up’ has recently been published in the Foundations for Excellence 2013 Publication, which is available to view here.

About the authors:

Patricia Flynn (BA HdipEd MEd PhD) is Lecturer in Music and Co-ordinator of Music Education Courses in St Patrick's College Drumcondra, a College of Dublin City University. She completed her PhD in 1996 at the University of Huddersfield and has continued to engage in research in music education in areas of national importance. She is on the board of the Contemporary Music Centre, is the founder of the Music Educators' Orchestra (MEO) and co-founder of the web based resource

Rosaleen Molloy (BMus HdipEd) was appointed Director of Music Generation in June 2012. A former student of Wexford School of Music and a graduate of the Music and Education Departments of University College Cork, Rosaleen has over 15 years' experience working In the field of music education In Ireland - as a secondary school teacher, instrumental and vocal teacher, choral and orchestral conductor, music specialist in primary schools and as an in-service trainer.

Foundations for Excellence:

Foundations for Excellence exists to share research, resources and best practice for the support and development of talented young musicians, singers and dancers. Since its conception in 2009, Foundation for Excellence has explored the complicated and personal area of the health and wellbeing of young musicians and dancers and has instigated conversations amongst educators and practitioners from both art forms for the benefit of the young people. Website: