Kerry, Kildare, Longford, Meath and Tipperary have been announced as the next five counties to join the Music Generation programme.
As part of Music Generation, each of the five new areas will receive funding to create access to affordable performance music education for children and young people in their communities. Minister for Education and Skills Joe Mc Hugh T.D. welcomed this next big step on Music Generation’s road to nationwide expansion by 2022. The new Music Generation counties will begin with the recruitment of Music Generation Development Officers in each area, who will then undertake a focussed period of planning for local implementation of the programme.
Minister McHugh said: ‘Giving our young people access to high quality musical education is a key element of Creative Youth, part of the Government’s Creative Ireland plan.
‘Music and the arts inspire us all and Music Generation is having enormous impacts in communities, with young people having instrument, ensemble, voice and choral experiences that simply wouldn’t be possible without this programme.
‘It is a fantastic chance to instil a love of music and a lifelong skill and passion or awaken a hidden talent in our young people. I am delighted that today’s announcement brings us even closer to our goal of giving children in every county access to this opportunity.’
Music Generation projects are benefitting from €3.485 million funding from the Department of Education and Skills in 2019.
Minister McHugh said: ‘I would like to congratulate the education and training boards, local authorities and many other partners in Kerry, Kildare, Longford, Meath and Tipperary that have made their own commitment to supporting the implementation of Music Generation within their counties. We look forward to seeing the programmes evolve and to hearing the joy and creativity of budding young musicians in these counties over the coming months.’
Responding to the news, U2’s The Edge said: 'Every milestone reached on this journey is a source of great pride for the band as well as everyone who has worked so hard to make it happen. With this latest announcement, the finish line is firmly in sight and our dream of an accessible music education for every young person in Ireland is getting ever closer. We are beyond excited.'
Music Generation was originally co-funded with philanthropic donations from U2 and The Ireland Funds, supported by the Bank of America Charitable Foundation and the Stavros Niarchos Foundation, along with funding from local partners.
Its first two phases, from 2010 and 2017, saw the programme expand into 20 areas, creating more than 48,500 opportunities every year for young musicians to engage in inspiring musical experiences with 400 professional musician educators. During this time, the programme also received the invaluable funding support of the Department of Education and Skills.
Locally, Music Generation programmes are managed by Local Music Education Partnerships (LMEPs) – groups of organisations and individuals that come together under the leadership of education and training boards and local authorities to offer young people the choice of access and chance to participate in music.
News of this latest phase of expansion follows the announcement of An Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar T.D. in December 2017 of Government’s commitment to support the roll-out of Music Generation to all remaining areas of the country by 2022, as part of the Creative Ireland Programme.
Minister McHugh said: ‘This is a significant milestone for the organisation in achieving its vision, to enable access to music tuition for all children and young people, regardless of circumstance.’
Announcement of the five new counties was made as part of Creative Youth – a Creative Ireland Programme plan to enable the creative potential of every child and young person. Under the plan, the areas will be funded through the Department of Education and Skills to establish the programme within their county. This funding will be matched on a 50/50 basis by money raised locally by the LMEP, ensuring long-term sustainability into the future.
Caitríona Fottrell, Vice President and Director of The Ireland Funds, commented: ‘That Music Generation continues to flourish is a testament to what can be achieved through meaningful public-philanthropic partnership-working. I would like to particularly acknowledge the commitment of our government partners in the Department of Education and Skills who have backed this fantastic initiative for the long-term and who are now supporting it to grow nationally, in addition to the local partners in new and existing areas whose on-the-ground leadership is vital to the programme’s success. We’re thrilled that five more counties will now have an opportunity to experience the same inspiring outcomes that we’ve witnessed for so many of the children and young people participating in Music Generation so far.’
Rosaleen Molloy, National Director of Music Generation, said: ‘This is a hugely significant moment for Music Generation. To be able to announce the programme in a further five counties is a testament to what can be achieved through committed, strategic partnership working between Government, philanthropy and local partners. This is all part of the vision of our parent company Music Network, for a publicly supported national system of local music education services. I look forward to continuing our collaborative efforts to advance the music education movement in Ireland and creating access to transformative musical opportunities for children and young people.’