Galway will no longer lose musicians to other counties and countries following the setting up of Galway’s first School of Music. Galway musicians flocked to St Mary’s School in the city this week for the official launch of Galway’s first School of Music, Maoin Cheoil na Gaillimhe.
A budding idea from Hugh Kelly has been transformed into Galway’s first fully dedicated school of music in the heart of the city. As part of the school, several teachers will be moving their classes into the building, while numerous external teachers will set up their Galway headquarters at the Mary’s Road address.
Speaking to the Galway Independent this week, Mr Kelly said the introduction of the facility to the West means that the music drain to other areas can finally end.
“The main colleges like the Associated Board in London and the Royal Irish Academy of Music currently offer a diploma structure for music. When you get to a certain standard of excellence with your instrument, you can go on and achieve full professional qualifications. Last year alone, I had three students that went to Cork and Dublin to study music as there was no place here for them.
“Not many people know that there is a degree course in music in NUI Galway. There is a chair of music in the college but the chair was never filled because they didn’t have a school of music feeding into it.
“What we are hoping is that we will build up the school and then call on the college to run the course. But we will have to prove ourselves before we can accomplish this. That is our main objective.”
But the Maoin Cheoil na Gaillimhe is not just for the elite musicians, as the school will cater for all levels of musicians from as low an age as one year old.
Mr Kelly said introducing children to music at a young age can be the perfect way to develop their talents.
“We surveyed what was on offer in the city and found tremendously passionate teachers, but there was very little structure to it. We then decided to start with all ages, with children as young as one-year-old in our Kindergarten Music Programme. It is one of the most unique programmes and children become musical literate just like they would learn to read. We have already filled one class of students for that in September.
“Every single student that enrols in the school will get a full musical education. The instrumental education is only half of the schooling as they will learn how to read music, and have their ears trained and a grounding in the skills. It has never been done here and is standard practice all around the world, but to make it viable we are doing that for free.
“The idea is not to take a plan from somewhere that has a school of music for 100 years but to look at what was needed in Galway. We have tried to design something unique to Galway. We will provide those resources to the teachers and hopefully they will come and use them and spread the good news.”