Music Network Seeks Project Director for a Scheme for a National Music Education Programme

25 November 2009

Project Director – Job Description

Download job description PDF file here


The project director of a scheme for a national music education programme is a new position, created to establish and run a major programme of music education in Ireland. Targeted at children and young people, the programme will be modelled on pilot initiatives already being run by VEC-led music education partnerships in Donegal and Dublin with funding from the Department of Education and Science.

The seed funding for this initiative has come from a major philanthropic donation from U2 and gifts from the Ireland Funds internationally and the structural basis for this project is Music Network’s Music Education Partnership model. It is envisaged that the funds will be distributed to local music education partnerships formed for this purpose by local authorities and local Vocational Education Committees, who will generate a share of the operating costs from local sources.

Music Network, together with other project stakeholders, will work to make this an initiative of lasting benefit by advocating for it to be mainstreamed at the end of the term of the gift, after 2016.  

A Trust is being established to be responsible for the governance of the project; its members will be appointed by the donors and by Music Network.

For more information on the project see the additional information annexed to this.


Reporting to the CEO of Music Network, the role of the project director will be to:

  • devise and manage a competitive tender and selection process
  • manage the provision of funding to up to twelve local Music Education Partnerships, oversee the financial operation of the project, and ensure that the Partnerships comply with the terms of their funding agreements
  • ensure that the terms of the funding agreement between Music Network and the donors are met
  • in cooperation with existing Music Education Partnerships, promote learning and exchange of experience through a peer network of local project managers
  • act as the public face of the initiative, ensuring that it is communicated effectively to relevant publics and building relationships with relevant stakeholders nationally and locally
  • cooperate with colleagues in Music Network in initiatives designed to promote the mainstreaming of the model
  • consult with external bodies in the public sector and otherwise, to promote broadly-based support for the longer-term sustainability of the scheme
  • undertake other work at the direction of the Trustees, as required to ensure the success of the project.

Person profile

The person appointed will be a visionary, entrepreneurial type with a passion for music education. S/he will be able to demonstrate the capacity and the energy to establish this initiative at the appropriate level, and will relish the challenge of working with diverse partners in the music, education and wider public and private sectors, and ideally will have experience of the local development environment. S/he will have highly developed professional skills and will be motivated to deliver a successful outcome on a privately-funded project which has already attracted high levels of goodwill and interest.

Qualifications and experience:
The successful applicant will have some or all of the following:

  • A third level qualification or higher in a relevant discipline or disciplines
  • A successful track record (at least three years experience) in project management or in a senior management position
  • Proven and effective consulting, communication (written and verbal) and interpersonal skills
  • Experience/knowledge of music and arts education policies and of public administrative structures in Ireland, at local and national levels.

Salary scale:  Commensurate with qualifications and experience

Appointment: with immediate effect. For a period of five years, subject to a 6-month probationary period

Application procedure

Applicants should write to the Chairman of the Trust, outlining why they think they are a suitable candidate for this position and explaining the approach they would take to the role.

Letters of application should be accompanied by a detailed CV, including the names of two referees (who will only be contacted following interview with candidates’ permission).

Applications, to arrive no later than 5.00pm on Monday 7th December, should be sent in confidence to:

Music Education Project Trust
Music Network
The Coach House
Dublin Castle
Dublin 2

It is expected that shortlisted candidates will be invited for interview in Dublin on 21st and 22nd December.

For further background information, including downloadable versions of key documentation, see:

Music Network

Music Network was established in 1986 by the Arts Council/An Chomairle Ealaíon to develop music throughout Ireland. To this end, Music Network works in a variety of ways, through partnerships at both local and national level, to foster and support the growth of a vibrant music community in Ireland. The organisation's mission and policies have been laid down in two policy documents, the most recent of which, Policy 2000, can be downloaded in a pdf file (97kb) from (a hard copy is also available from Music Network).

Music Network operates as a not-for-profit organisation and is a registered charity. It continues to be funded by The Arts Council. With a current budget of c. €1.4 million, Music Network draws income from a range of other public and private sources including government departments, statutory agencies, other grant giving bodies, fundraising initiatives and income generated from its own activities.  Music Network policy is realised through delivery of a broad programme of activities, i.e. an integrated range of music services which, typically, are delivered through local partnerships.

Background to the National Music Education Project

  • The MEND Report 1985, states that, “The young Irish person has the worst of all European musical ‘worlds’.”
  • In May 2001 the Departments of Education and Science, and Arts, Sport and Tourism jointly commissioned Music Network to produce a feasibility study to examine how a national system of publicly supported local “schools of music” might be provided in Ireland.
  • In 2003, Music Network published their report A National System of Local Music Education Services – Report of a Feasibility Study 2003).   In September 2003, Music Network made a presentation of the Report’s findings to the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Arts, Sport and Tourism, and the following year proposals for a pilot model were made to the Department of Education and Science, with funding of €100,000 each made available to pilot implementation schemes in Donegal and City of Dublin.
  • A Music Education Working Group, created by Music Network in 2007, was established with funding from the Arts Council to raise awareness of the value of music education. The group presented a proposal to the Special Committee on Arts and Education outlining the key issues for consideration in relation to the structures, systems and resources required to develop and facilitate a comprehensive national system of music education provision. In addition, to assist relevant agencies and stakeholders in achieving a structured and co-ordinated music education service, Music Network held a seminar in Dublin on 18th April 2007. The seminar focused on issues relating to the development of music education services at local level, raised awareness of current local music education initiatives and provided a platform for the sector to present a cohesive voice in relation to future developments for music education services. 
  • Publications from the Arts Council and from County Arts Officers indicate that the Music Education Partnership pilot schemes have broad acceptance from institutional interests
  • An independent evaluation of the two pilot schemes, published in April 2009, concluded, “this partnership model provides a workable and replicable framework for development of music education services … on a wider scale throughout Ireland”.
  • In July 2009, U2 announced their decision to contribute €5 million towards the national rollout of the Music Network model, and The Ireland Funds launched a campaign to raise a further €2 million to this end.  This will enable the establishment of up to 12 further Music Education Partnerships around Ireland during the period 2010 – 2015.  Although the Music Network report recommends a double-stranded model, which combines a curriculum support strand with provision for accessible instrumental and vocal teaching services, this philanthropic funding has been committed specifically to address the performance education dimension.
  • The experience of the pilot schemes (which have now been running for four years), and their evaluation by an independent expert, provide helpful guidance in mainstreaming the model, which will have the following features:
    • It will provide music teachers in every part in the Republic, sometimes in fixed locations, sometimes operating on a peripatetic basis in a local area (not limited to county boundaries);
    • It will be rolled out on a phased basis, most likely in three locations at a time, beginning in 2010, reaching up to 12 areas in total.
    • It will be administered centrally by Music Network, which already has ample experience in running schemes for external funders, and which will provide central services, coordination and quality assurance, and governance of the scheme
    • It will be offered on the basis of competitive tender: local/regional partnerships (including at least one local statutory authority, e.g. VEC, local authority) will be invited to bid for a three-year subsidy amounting to an average of €200,000 per annum to provide for the costs of teachers and local administration.  Local partnerships must show how they will generate matching resources locally, and how they will plan to make the scheme sustainable in the longer term.