- We were founded by parents and community in January 2013 and our goal is to provide a musical education, performance opportunities and a fun experience to all children from our area regardless of means.
- The best way to achieve this goal was to offer In- School Music lessons to all children in the local area. We chose In- School lessons as restricting lessons to after school means that only those whose parents have time/ funding can attend .
Our local Principal, John Chambers, embraced the idea of the project and because of his support, in co- operation with our local school
(Howth Primary School ) we offer every child, from Junior Infants to Sixth Class,a weekly violin lesson, in school time. A weekly donation of €2 covers the cost of the lesson (and provision of the instrument) and those who cannot afford a lesson receive one anyway: this is a core principle of our project.
We started with junior classes with the donation of 35 violins from the Mueller family in our community. The School Parents Association also offered to assist with funding but local families, Howth Chamber Music and local business supported the purchase of more instruments and the project rapidly expanded so that all children in the school were receiving lessons within 9 months (September 2013) of the project starting( now 395 children receive a lesson every week).
A year later (Sept 2014) we started our orchestra (35 children) and introduced cello and viola. All orchestra children are provided with a violin/viola or cello to bring home for practise.
The next year ( September 2015) we expanded the project to include after school lessons in cello, violin and viola. Approximately 40 children attend after school lessons and Howth Primary School provides lesson rooms for free. Children who can afford lessons pay €5 per week with financial support and scholarships available for those who cannot.
We sought (and received) old instrument donations from members of the school and wider community. We started an instrument loan scheme for another 35 children to bring home an instrument to rehearse. This is a free scheme.
In September 2016 we expanded our After School lessons to include singing lessons. We commenced a tin whistle Pilot Project in April 2017 for over 60 children in 4th class.
Our goal for September 2017 is to expand the tin whistle programme to 200 children, increase the range of instruments available to include guitar and keyboard and consolidate our core violin lesson and orchestra programme.
Twice a year all children in the school perform so parents can observe their progress and achievement.
Orchestra Perform approx six shows each year, some for their parents and some in the community. Some shows they perform alone and some in collaboration with other orchestras (both adults and children’s orchestras)
A strong principle of the project is to teach social responsibility to the children and they raise money for other worthy causes. In the last year they raised approx. € 2700 with €500 going to the Irish Cancer Society, €520 to Laura Lynn’s Children’s Hospice and the remaining monies to Music Makes Magic to support those children who cannot afford the school music lessons.
Twice a year we collaborate with other Music Projects and do an exchange which includes rehearsals, performance to an audience and a party with new friends after. Our exchange partners are The Royal Irish Academy of Music and St.Finians School, Finglas .
CHILDRENS LEADERSHIP AND INVOLVEMENT WITH THE PROJECT:
- children turn up early for school twice a week to help set up the room for the project
- the children help tidy up instruments, music and music stands after lessons
- children pick charities they will help through fundraising at orchestra performances
- children donate toys and pocket money for prizes in our raffle (many adult donations too)
- children pick community venues for concerts to reach out to others in the area( nursing home, care home)
- Fingal Arts Dept. provide financial support for our supplementary music teacher
- Howth Photographic society do photography project to raise funds for us
- Community organisations provide advertising for our events and photos to record and commemorate events
- local businesses provide flowers for performers, raffle prizes and sponsorship
- Inter-generational support in the community for the project (3 grannies are Core Volunteers and many dads, mums and older brothers and sisters volunteer- some younger ones too)
- huge support from the local church who provide some funding, free performance Venues and after performance space for community celebrations (tea & coffee & mi wadi and cakes!!)
- Parents Association run occasional fundraisers and provide practical support on an ongoing basis