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Music Generation National Conference Opens


Monday 13th October 2014: Encouraging participation in music education among young teens and redefining progression in music performance are some of the topics for discussion at the Music Generation Annual Conference which opened today in the National Conference Hall, Dublin. The two day conference entitled ‘Performance, Participation and Partnership: Looking to the Future’, brings together national and international musicians and music educators to explore the important role that access and participation to music education plays in nurturing youth engagement.

Music Generation is the national music education programme initiated by Music Network and founded in 2009 following a €7million philanthropic donation by U2 and the Ireland Funds. In July 2014 the Department of Education commenced co-funding Music Generation with Local Music Education Partnerships. The programme is now established in 12 areas of the country, providing access to some 20,000 children and young people annually.

The organisation pioneers a socially inclusive model of music education that challenges traditional concepts of quality and progression for children and young people. Currently 75% of participation in Music Generation is among the 5-12 year old age group with the remaining 7.5% being the early years 0-4 cohort and 17.5% being from the13+ age group. One of the aims of the conference is to prompt a national rethink in the spheres of music education to nurture greater participation among the 13 + age group and move towards a re-evaluation of what performance and progression in music can mean for children and young people.

Rosaleen Molloy, National Director of Music Generation said “The statistics present an important challenge now for Music Generation - how to retain this level of participation and keep the 75% cohort engaged as they move into their teenage years. The conference presents an important opportunity to share ideas around how we approach challenges like this.”

“At Music Generation our philosophy is about promoting inclusive access and creating programmes that inspire and excite young people. We have found that children don’t necessarily participate in music tuition because they are enthusiastic about practicing or excited about an end of term concert. The social experience of music making, having fun with friends and being able to experiment creatively through music are some of the main reasons why children and young people stay with music. One of the many things we will be exploring over the course of the two days is what this means for musicians, parents, teachers, youth leaders and policy makers as we look to the future.”
Music Generation’s Youth Engagement Strategy includes:
• Providing access within and after schools hours in both formal and informal settings
• Providing the opportunity for young people to work with brilliant musicians who are pioneering imaginative, exciting and artistically ambitious performance programmes
• Keeping the emphasis on the quality of the musical experience for children and young people – keeping it fun, if they enjoy it, they will stay with; so will their friends
• Bringing music into the life of the local community
• Providing choice in the diversity of programmes on offer such as choirs, bands, orchestras, rap groups, composers clubs, piano duet clubs
• Making tuition affordable and reducing the cost of tuition being a barrier to access
• Opening up all genres of music to young people – not just classical training but access to traditional Irish, world, rock, pop, hip hop, jazz, improvisation, contemporary
• Keeping it young person led – asking young people what they want, the music they like, what they would like to do and what they would like to learn
Composer and Music Generation Board Member Bill Whelan who is speaking at the conference said, “We are living at a time where our ubiquitous “social media” might be seen as largely “anti-social”. In a world of selfies, tweets, blogs and postings, the traffic seems to be predominantly outward into a global echo-chamber of cyberbabble. In this turbulent, incoherent and often isolating landscape, Music offers the opportunity to engage with each other in meaningful and expressive ways. It is the aim of Music Generation to equip every young person in Ireland with these valuable tools and, from early age onwards, to embark on a road of self-discovery and social enrichment which Music has the unique power to supply.”

The two day conference will also feature pop-up performances by Music Generation Young Ambassadors in advance of the Music Generation Gala Concert taking place in the NCH tonight Monday 13th October. President of Ireland Michael D. Higgins is special guest of honour at the inaugural Music Generation concert which will bring over 250 young people from Louth, Sligo and Mayo to the national stage.

Rosaleen Molloy said “Tonight’s inaugural Gala Concert will showcase wonderful achievements of Music Generation Louth, Mayo and Sligo in presence of Uachtarán Na h’Éireann Michael D. Higgins. We are honoured to have President Higgins as our special guest of honour who has long championed the value of music education to society.”

The Music Generation Gala Concert takes place at the National Concert Hall Dublin tonight at 7.30pm. Tickets cost €5 and are available at / 01 417 0000


Media Contact

Sile Murphy,


88 St Stephens Green,

Dublin 2.

086 0288 132 / 01 475 1 444

Notes to Editor

Music Generation is Ireland’s National Music Educaion Programme helping children and young people access high quality music education in their local area. Music Network established Music Generation on receipt of a €7m donation in 2009 from U2 and The Ireland Funds, following a ten year campaign for the development of a national system of local music education services in Ireland.

Music Generation works closely with the Department of Education and Skills and Local Music Education Partnerships who co-fund the programme. Music Generation is currently established in 12 areas of the country – Carlow, Clare, Cork City, Laois, Limerick City, Mayo, Offaly/Westmeath, Sligo, South Dublin and Wickow. Visit for further information.