Irish children and young people rose to the challenges of the past year in many ways. In moving their musical talents online they showed great creativity, resilience and determination.
The Music Generation team, through their wide network of musician educators, engaged with thousands of young people through Zoom, YouTube, Facebook, Instagram and TikTok from their own homes throughout the country, finding new ways to create, play and perform music since March 2020. As the country starts opening up again, Music Generation pays tribute to them and their families for keeping the music playing in such difficult times.
When the pandemic struck, many bands, orchestras, music lessons, recordings, live performances and school projects were underway. Overnight, this access to live music stopped, along with everything else. Many programmes, lessons and interactions were reinvented online to ensure young musicians continued to have access to music, and the positive effect of those connections at a time when many felt isolated from others.
“Music Generation’s focus on the needs of children has never been more important than in the past year. We are very proud of the response to our programmes around the country during such a challenging year,” said Music Generation National Director, Rosaleen Molloy. “The music created by young people beautifully illustrates their experiences during this time, and we look forward to being able to bring them together for live performances as soon as it is safe to do so.”
Many events and projects have been taking place online. Some of the highlights include the incredible work undertaken in three areas - Roscommon, Longford and South County Dublin.
Music Generation Roscommon
“It's brilliant. It was something that kept us going during lockdown. The teachers are really friendly. Guitar is definitely the right instrument for me, I love it. I love the music we are learning as well. I look forward to playing with other musicians in Music Generation when lockdown is really over.”
- Shane, Co. Roscommon.
- Percussion packs sent to primary schools throughout the county.
- Early years online weekly classes for children aged 0-4 years.
- Examples include two teacher schools like Feevagh National School (22 students) with weekly ukulele lessons, and Clonown National School (20 students) with regular trad strings lessons.
- Working with children with special needs at primary and secondary level, with musical skills based on their individual requirements.
- Roscommon Co. Youth Orchestra kept going virtually, with families from around the county taking part.
- Free online singing lessons for the whole family, and other zoom events such as Singing Easter Camps and Traditional Irish Music Camp.
- Distanced and masked recordings in Chapel Lane Studios with performances of contemporary Irish music like Phil Lynott’s The Boys are Back In Town and Linger, The Cranberries hit.
Music Generation Roscommon is led by Galway and Roscommon ETB in partnership with Roscommon County Council.
Music Generation Longford
"Music Generation has let me express myself. I've always had a feel for music, so being able to play music with songs I love has been really great."
- Faye, age 10, Co. Longford.
- Zooming into childcare classes across the county, Musician Educator Gary engaged directly with 330 children aged 2-4 each week.
- Families took part in free six week family tin whistle classes with 120 tin whistles sent out around the county in the post. Young people learned at home alongside their siblings, parents and sometimes grandparents.
- Working with a young Roma group in Direct Provision, through the Longford Youth Service, in order to bring music into their lives. For those learning English, music can be a universal language where you don’t need words to be understood.
- 20 African drums distributed to students from the Ballymahon Vocational School as music educators zoomed in for online gatherings.
- Uilleann piper Noel Carberry led online classes teaching this beautiful instrument for those watching at home.
- Early years packs sent to primary schools across Longford, including including everything from tambourines to maracas and bells.
- Two Syrian guitar groups running through the Longford Youth Service.
- The online music hubs continue to grow, with young people benefiting from 1:1 Zoom lessons in a variety of instruments such as ukulele, guitar, piano, keyboard, drums, and music production.
Music Generation Longford is led by Longford and Westmeath Education and Training Board in partnership with Longford County Council and with support from Creative Ireland.
Music Generation South Dublin
“I feel like it’s the participants that drive the programme forward. Obviously at the beginning of the year the mentors get you going, but once you start to break off and create your own little bands the mentors take a step back and let you go off and create what you want to create."
- Aoife, South County Dublin.
Music Generation South Dublin supported young musicians throughout the year to be their best possible selves in music performance and song writing through activities delivered for a wide range of diverse backgrounds.
- Afterschool Community Music Hubs in Rathcoole and Clondalkin saw no drop off in attendance after moving online, with classes ongoing throughout the year and the full programme delivered.
- Suburban Sounds performance music education programme introducing musicians to song-writing, performing and recording, resulting in an album launch and videos.
- The Generation Music Podcast through Dublin South FM.
- Keeping the Instrument Bank and Instrument Purchase Schemes going.
- Local ensembles with all kinds of music, from rap to pop, rock and classical, with vocals and many different instruments.
Music Generation South County Dublin is led by South Dublin County Council in partnership with Dublin and Dún Laoghaire Education and Training Board.
Music Generation is Ireland’s national music education programme that gives children and young people access to high-quality, subsidised performance music education. Initiated by Music Network in 2010, Music Generation is co-funded by U2, The Ireland Funds, the Department of Education, and Local Music Education Partnerships. The programme is currently established in 26 different cities and counties, including Longford, Roscommon, and South County Dublin, creating some 67,000 opportunities for children and young people to make, create and play music annually.