Music Generation Laois and Laois School of Music, are currently delivering a new secondary school music programme, supported by the Laois Offaly Education and Training Board Local Creative Youth Partnership.
Students of Portlaoise College have had the opportunity to take up the ukulele, bodhrán, violin, and take part in weekly ‘jam’ sessions.
A group of 12 young musicians work with James O’Connor and Denise Boyle from Music Generation Laois each week, developing their music and song-writing skills.
James Harvey, Portlaoise College Music Teacher and well-known Laois banjo player, is on hand each week, co-facilitating the sessions.
This group of young musicians recently wrote and recorded their own original song, ‘Is it Just a Bad Day?’
Speaking about the programme in their school, 3rd year music student and weekly jammer, Kayla Daly said: “There’s only so much you can be taught from typical rote learning.
“Music Generation have bridged that gap and taught us something that we never could’ve learned in our own musical study.
“We got to play alongside accomplished musicians and get a first taste of how brilliant the music industry really is!”
Anastazja Bryszkowska, another young musician taking part in the weekly jam sessions commented: “It’s been so much fun with James and Denise coming in and helping us write the song and I think it’s a great opportunity to have the chance to write a song and record it.
“I love the experience I had and I’m hoping to work with James and Denise more in the future.”
Music Generation Laois currently operate over 46 weekly music programmes in schools, youth facilities, Men’s Sheds, community nursing units across the county with over 2500 participants each week.
The service has greatly expanded, due to demand, since stricter lockdown conditions ended in April.
Both Music Generation Laois and Laois School of Music operate out of Laois Music Centre in Portlaoise, where an additional 700 young people and adults attend weekly music classes, and take part in a range of ensemble/orchestra/band opportunities.
James Harvey, Music Teacher in Portlaoise College explained: “Music Generation had such a positive impact on the students here in Portlaoise College.
“It was an amazing experience seeing the students create their own piece of music, watching it grow from an idea into a finished song.
“The students learned more than just music, they learned how to work as a team, how to communicate their ideas effectively while also setting goals of creating a song within a ten-week window.
“Not only did the students create their own song but they also enjoyed the process of making music with others too.
“A huge thanks to James, Denise, Dale, David and Victoria for bringing their talents and expertise to Portlaoise College, it’s a wonderful experience for all involved.”
Pat Wallis, Co-ordinator of the LOETB Local Creative Youth Partnership said: “LOETBs Local Creative Youth Partnership are delighted to have partnered with Music Generation Laois and Music Generation Offaly-Westmeath to support an after-school music programme across Laois and Offaly.
“At the core of this work is identifying children and young people’s voices, their requirements, and needs, for the delivery of a creative programme.”
Check out some great pictures from Alf Harvey below: