Marching to the Beat of their Own Drums with Music Generation

08 March 2016



Marching to the Beat of their Own Drums with Music Generation:

School children in Sligo and Mayo participate in adventurous musical project


In January, Sligo and Mayo school students embarked on an exciting educational weekly music project that will culminate in performances at the Hawk’s Well Theatre, Sligo on Tuesday 19th April and Linenhall Arts Centre, Castlebar on Thursday 21st April. The project, entitled PUNKIT, presented by Music Generation Sligo and Music Generation Mayo, is an explosive, fun performance which will feature 60 students in each show along with internationally renowned percussionist Joby Burgess, conductor and composer Stephen Deazley and the PUNKIT band in which local maestro Kieran Quinn plays the keys.


Funded under the Music Generation/Arts Council Partnership and delivered by Love Music Productions Ltd (Scotland) for Music Generation Sligo and Music Generation Mayo in collaboration with Music Network, PUNKIT aims to broaden musical horizons, inspire musical curiosity and provide a model of adventurous music making.


Speaking about the project, Stephen Deazley says:

“This is an educational and musical journey that is part percussion concerto and part giant groove machine, performed by lots of young players alongside professionals, fuelled by a little bit of anarchy and a lot of fun.”


Stephen and Joby (of Love Music Productions Ltd, Scotland), together with national and local percussionists Maeve O’Hara, percussionist Anthony McNamee and Stephanie Pawula, have worked with children age 11 – 13 at St John’s National School and Our Lady of Mercy Primary School in Sligo and from Scoil Raifteirí and St. Patrick’s De La Salle BNS in Castlebar. The programme in Sligo is part of the Cranmore Regeneration through Music Programme, delivered by Music Generation Sligo.


Kate McKeon and Rhona McGrath, Music Generation Mayo and Sligo Coordinators, said:

“We are thrilled to give so many young people access to this very unique and adventurous participatory percussion project at a critical stage of their musical journey. Having the  opportunity to work with professional musicians from home and abroad will broaden their musical horizons, inspire curiosity, and hopefully encourage them to continue their music-making in future years.”


Bernard Mulhern, Principal at St John’s National School Sligo said:

“Taking part in this project has given our pupils a unique opportunity to learn and create music, while working in close harmony with their friends and professional musicians. The excitement of performing on the stage of the Hawk’s Well Theatre is palpable throughout the school.”

For further details visit: / /  




Music Generation Sligo

The Hawk’s Well Theatre

Tuesday 19 Apr, 1.30pm

€8 (€4 u18s)



Tickets on sale via The Hawk’s Well Theatre –

+353 71 9161518 /


Music Generation Mayo

Linenhall Arts Centre

Thursday 21 Apr, 1.15pm

**Schools performance only – tickets unavailable to the general public**




For media queries and photographs, please contact:


Aoife Lucey, Communications Manager

Music Generation (National Development Office)

T: +353 1 475 8454 / E:


Rhona McGrath or Emma Smith, Music Generation Sligo

T: 071 913 8306 / E:


Kate McKeon or Tara Timlin, Music Generation Mayo

T: 094 902 4188 / E:




The Music Generation/Arts Council Partnership enables children and young people across all the Music Education Partnerships to engage actively with high-calibre professional musicians from all genres of music. The Arts Council has invested €450,000 in the programme (2013-16) to facilitate an ambitious range of residencies, collaborative performances and composition projects around the country.


About Music Generation

Music Generation is Ireland’s National Music Education Programme which transforms the lives of children and young people through access to high quality subsidized performance music education. Established in 2010 by Music Network, Phase 1 of Music Generation was made possible by a €7m philanthropic donation - €5m from U2 and €2m from The Ireland Funds - the largest ever philanthropic donation to non-mainstream music education in Ireland in the history of the State. The philanthropic donation was gifted to progress the implementation of Music Network’s Feasibility Study for a National System of Local Music Education Services.  


Music Generation currently works closely with Government through the Department of Education and Skills (DES) and Local Music Education Partnerships (MEPs) in 12 areas of the country established during Phase 1 – Sligo and Mayo were the first counties to successfully apply for the programme, along with Louth. From 2016 these programmes will continue to be sustained through ongoing 50/50 funding from the DES and MEPs, ensuring a long term and lasting outcome from U2 and The Ireland Funds’ philanthropic giving.


Phase 2 of Music Generation has been initiated through a further €3m donation from U2 (€2m) and The Ireland Funds (€1m) in 2015. This gift will enable the expansion of Ireland’s national non-mainstream music education programme into up to nine new areas of the country between 2016 and 2020. The Department of Education and Skills has pledged its commitment to sustaining funding for Phase 2 into the future, from 2020.


Music Generation believes in every child and young person’s musical potential and their innate artistry, that it is every child and young person’s right to have the choice of access and the chance to participate as a musical citizen and that music doesn’t just change lives, it transforms lives.


Music Generation focuses on performance music education – that is vocal and instrumental tuition, encompassing all music genres and all types of instruments and vocal styles, delivered by skilled professional musicians interacting in an inspirational way with children and young people.