130 musicians and music educators representing 21 cities and counties throughout Ireland are to meet in Athlone Institute of Technology on 15 April for the 2019 Music Generation National Musicians’ Day.
Now in its second year, this day-long knowledge-sharing and networking event brings together practising and professional musicians from hugely diverse backgrounds and areas of expertise who each share a common goal – to create inspiring encounters through music for children and young people.
This event will be hosted by the National Development Office of Music Generation, which is Ireland’s national music education programme, initiated in 2010 by Music Network and co-funded by U2, The Ireland Funds, the Department of Education and Skills and Local Music Education Partnerships. The musicians registered to attend on the day work as members of various Music Generation tutor teams, delivering subsidised vocal and instrumental music education to young people between the ages of 0 and 18 in their local communities.
In addition to offering employment opportunities for more than 400 Irish musicians, Music Generation seeks ongoing ways to support their professional development by encouraging participation in continuous training, masterclasses and learning networks, including this national forum. This year’s Musicians Day will focus on the theme ‘Connecting for Quality’, inviting musicians and management to reflect and consider how to create the conditions that will enable the most positive outcomes for the children and young people with whom they work.
Among a full agenda of provocations and plenary discussions, there will be a choral performance by Young Artists in Residence, members of Music Generation Offaly/Westmeath’s Singfest Choirs. The group will treat delegates to a pop-up concert after lunch, creating an opportunity to showcase first-hand what can be achieved when young people have the chance to realise their creative potential through meaningful music-making with skilled tutors and mentors.
48,500 opportunities each year
The choir is just one example of some 48,500 opportunities currently created by Music Generation each year for children and young people to access music tuition – and that number is set to grow. New partnerships have been recently established in Cavan/Monaghan, Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown, Galway City, Galway County, Kilkenny, Leitrim, Roscommon, Waterford and Wexford, and Government has since made a commitment to extend the programme to all further remaining areas of Ireland by 2022 as part of ‘Creative Youth’.
Speaking at last year’s inaugural National Musicians’ Day, composer and Music Generation Board Member Bill Whelan described that unique and vital role that the network of Music Generation musicians plays in inspiring and educating our next generation:
‘When, at the beginning, Bono expressed U2’s aspiration he said that what they wanted to do was ‘really simple. We just want to make sure that everyone, whatever their background, gets access to music tuition.’ All of you sitting here today are not alone gifted musicians and performers in your own right, but you are also the hands-on executors of that ‘simple’ idea.’