Musical opportunities should be afforded to every child in Ireland, it has been claimed, with all schoolchildren given the chance to sing or play an instrument.
Music Generation, the Irish national music education programme for young people, hopes that 10,000 children who would otherwise not have received a musical education will be able to do so over the next three years.
The scheme has also received the backing of Ireland’s biggest musical exports, U2, who have contributed €5 million towards the initiatives total €7 million cost.
Collectively, they will be able to offer music lessons to schoolchildren either in or out of the classroom free of charge or at a subsidised rate. It is hoped that a dozen partnerships will be set up nationwide through the Music Generation fund.
The money will go towards a series of local music education partnerships which will involve established music teachers, musicians and administrators.
Ireland’s Department of Education and Skills has said that it will continue to fund the scheme independently after 2015.
Currently, the European average for the percentage of secondary school children receiving either instrument or vocal tuition stands at around six to eight per cent.
However, Music Generation director Rosaleen Molloy said Ireland had fallen too far behind with only one per cent of secondary school children receiving training in instrumental or vocal performance.
The comments made by Music Generation echo similar sentiments made by English education secretary Michael Gove earlier this year, highlighting the need for schoolchildren in this country to be given the opportunity to participate in music while in education.
Launching an independent review of the subject, Mr Gove explained that offering young people opportunities is the key to helping drive up standards.
Similarly, the Music Generation scheme is not just designed to give youngsters the chance to progress their musical careers.
“Not only does it give you the technical skills of learning how to play an instrument, a music education gives you skills that you need for life, a great sense of confidence, discipline and team-working,” Ms Molloy said.
On top of this, the English review will look at how to make sure music funding benefits more young people, as well as ways to improve the level of access to music young people receive both in and out of school.
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