Spring 2016 Learning & Participation Round up

06 June 2016

Music Network Learning and Participation Programme
Spring 2016 Round up

Music Network’s mission is to make live music available and accessible to as many people as possible. Our touring musicians host a variety of outreach activities for music students around the country as part of the Learning and Participation programme. By connecting work in music performance to music education, Music Network aims to give musicians rich, holistic musical experiences.

Spring 2016 saw an increase of 80% on the same period last year in Learning and Participation activities hosted by our touring musicians, and an increase of 45% in the number of participants with workshops, seminars and masterclasses which were held in 14 towns in 12 counties across Ireland.

Read on for an overview of the activities which took place during Spring 2016, for feedback from our participants, their parents, co-ordinators and musicians.


Liam Ó Maonlaí, Kevin Burke and Tim Edey / January Tour

During this tour, Learning and Participation activities were held in Castlebar, Birr, Wexford and Newbridge. A total of 53 participants were involved over the four sessions, which included seminars on the Irish fiddle with Kevin Burke, and an accordion workshop with Tim Edey.

“It is wonderful to be able to offer our audiences a chance to deepen their understanding of music and music performance through engaging with performers in workshop and seminar style events. We’re delighted that Music Network provides this possibility in conjunction with their performance programme offerings to us.”

– Orla Linehan, Linenhall Arts Centre, fiddle seminar co-ordinator


“Kevin Burke very willingly shared his knowledge with the participants and regardless of age and experience; everyone got something out of it.”

– Emma Nee Haslam, Birr Theatre & Arts Centre, fiddle seminar co-ordinator


“Well done to Music Network for bringing together highly accomplished musicians to perform in our local towns!”

– Áine Kennedy, Danescastle Music Group, accordion workshop co-ordinator


Ergodos Musicians / February Tour

Ergodos co-founder Garrett Sholdice hosted workshops in Galway, Carlow, Wicklow and Tralee two weeks in advance of the Ergodos concert in each area, with a total of 45 participants across the four groups. The students looked at the plasticity of musical material through arrangement and the transformative power of arrangement in music.

Ergodos co-founder Benedict Schlepper-Connolly joined for a second workshop on the day of the concert, and the performances of their chosen songs were presented for parents, teachers and concert attendees before the Ergodos concert.

Credit: Ann Catherine Nolan

“A wonderful opportunity for the students to experience a quality recital and to participate in the workshop which was so sensitively directed by Garrett Sholdice, an inspiring teacher… An experience the students will never forget.”

– Brendan Flynn, Clifden Arts Society


 “…I think it all worked very well. The bigger groups had a nice vibe of really communal music-making which I think energized the students in a particular way. The smaller groups however, allowed for more individual input – in other words, almost everybody got to shape the arrangement work in their own way.”

– Garrett Sholdice, Ergodos musician


“…[my son] hugely enjoyed the experience organised through Music Generation with Garrett Sholdice. Apart from the skills learnt, these experiences seem to increase his overall appreciation of the wider musical landscape. The opportunity to enjoy the concert at a reduced rate afterwards was an added bonus and was, for us, hugely beneficial in contextualising the overall experience.”

– Parent of participant


Shakepeare Songs / March Tour

30 students from BIMM Dublin took part in a demonstration and Q&A session with Andy Sheppard (saxophones), Guillaume de Chassy (piano) and Christophe Marguet (drums). Topics discussed included the challenges/opportunities posed when writing for a bass-less trio, the differences in improvising during practice and during performance, and the role of teachers in structuring learning.

The musicians also played three pieces from their Shakespeare Songs tour setlist, Vengence won’t take place – The Tempest, Marching Forest – Macbeth, and Cordelia – King Lear.

Credit: Ruthless Imagery

“…the students really enjoyed it and took a lot away from it, and I know the staff and tutors present loved it!”

– Stephen D’Arcy, BIMM Dublin co-ordinator


“Our meeting with [BIMM Dublin] students was very interesting; we concentrated on music and [I was] very happy to have some very good questions concerning music… It was a real pleasure to share this moment with Irish students, I’m very happy to have met those wonderful young people!”

– Christophe Marguet, Shakespeare Songs musician


Chloë Hanslip & Danny Driver / April Tour

Chloë and Danny facilitated two public masterclasses, held at Curtis Auditorium, CIT Cork School of Music (violin), and St. Mary’s Church, New Ross (piano), with a total of six students taking part, and observers present for each masterclass. Repertoire studied included pieces by Chopin, Grieg, Haydn, Dvorak and Chausson. The violin students were accompanied by Tom Doyle.

"As an outsider, spectator, and someone who knows very little about classical music, except the journey my daughter has brought me on over the past few years, I thought Danny Driver's masterclass was enjoyable, interesting and very informative."

– Parent of participant, piano masterclass


“It was a great experience to work with someone of Chloë’s calibre. She managed to transform phrases and even single notes with a simple suggestion, and was always very positive and encouraging.”

– Participant, violin masterclass


“An inspiring learning experience for our advanced students”

– Joan Scannell, CIT Cork School of Music, violin masterclass co-ordinator


Le Vent du Nord / May Tour

Olivier Demers hosted fiddle workshops in Letterkenny, Ennis and Tinahely, with a total of 28 participants. The fiddlers learned tunes from the Québec repertoire and associated historical stories, they learned how the repertoire was transmitted, and explored bowing techniques, and foot tapping. A question-and-answer session was included.

“Olivier proved an excellent guide to the French-Canadian fiddle, setting his music in a wider context but also giving hands-on help with the tunes. A workshop to remember!”

– Martin McGinley, Donegal MEP, workshop co-ordinator


“It was a very enjoyable workshop and it was interesting to learn about different styles”

– Participant, Donegal MEP workshop


“Learning from a musician in this setting is very easy and enjoyable”

– Participant, Donegal MEP


 “A unique opportunity with wonderful musicians, talented in numerous instruments and very kindly extended to the young learners of Clare, and it was an experience that will certainly inform their playing, thank you Music Network.”

– Emer O’Flaherty, Music Generation Clare, workshop co-ordinator


Our Autumn 2016 touring programme will include Learning and Participation activities around the country in the form of workshops / masterclasses / demonstrations etc., offering students a one-off opportunity to work with Irish and international touring musicians. The styles of music included in the programme will include traditional Irish, western swing from Texas and classical music.

Music Network subsidises the activity costs where possible, aiming to make such learning opportunities more accessible, and to facilitate participants’ attendance at the related concert.

If you are interested in learning more about the programme, please contact Sarah Cunningham, Programmes Administrator: programmesadmin[at]musicnetwork.ie or call 01 475 0224.