Music Network announces new interactive professional development courses for musicians

Music Network announces new interactive professional development courses for musicians
Music Network presents two new series of Taking Charge of Your Performance Career, its online professional development training programme for professional musicians, focusing on teaching children and on essential performance skills.

Taking Charge of Your Performance Career 2021: Practising, Listening, Performing takes place from May – July 2021. This series of nine workshops will be delivered by the world’s premier solo percussionist, Dame Evelyn Glennie (10 – 12 May), internationally renowned fiddle player Liz Knowles (31 May – 2 June) and world class pianist, composer and author Kenny Werner (31 June – 2 July). Each speaker in the series will present three workshops inviting professional performing musicians to explore new perspectives on practising, listening and performing.

A second online professional development course, Taking Charge of Your Performance Career 2021: Teaching Children, will run from 12 – 15 July, and is designed to provide tools to inspire children through music and assist musicians who want to pass on their performance skills to the next generation. This course of eight interactive workshops will be delivered by three leading experts in the fields of music education, teaching children with special educational needs and child safeguarding – Tola Custy, Dr. Denise White and Barnardos Ireland.

Commenting on the announcement, CEO of Music Network Sharon Rollston said: “We are delighted to announce the latest editions of Music Network’s Taking Charge of Your Performance Career programme. These in-depth workshops will offer participants the chance to interact with leading experts, learn from them and explore new and creative approaches to developing a professional career in music. Music Network’s mission is to make live music happen and we continue to do this by giving professional musicians the opportunity to develop skills that will help propel them forward in their careers. Taking Charge of Your Performance Career 2021 is just one of a number of ways in which Music Network is supporting musicians throughout the year.”

All of the above training opportunities will be delivered on Zoom. The ticket price for each set of three 90 minute workshops in Practising, Listening and Performing is €30, with places limited to 30 in each set. Ticket holders must be available to attend all 3 workshops presented by an individual speaker. The ticket price for Teaching Children is €65 for eight workshops over 4 days, with places limited to 16. Ticket holders must be available to attend all eight workshops. For more information or to book your place, visit

Music Network is funded by the Arts Council.

Taking Charge of Your Performance Career 2021: Practising, Listening, Performing with Dame Evelyn Glennie

Workshop 1: Self-Motivation

Monday 10 May 11am – 12.30pm

What inspires us and motivates us to practise? Is there a right and wrong way to practise? This session will explore fresh approaches to practise and improvisation, including advice on how to reconnect with your instrument through exploration of range and timbre.

Workshop 2: Who’s Listening?

Tuesday 11 May 11am – 12.30pm

How do we listen to ourselves objectively? This session will reflect on the art of listening, both from the perspective of the performer and the audience. Evelyn will explore topics such as the usefulness of self-appraisal and self-criticism, what the audience will hear, and how musicians can provide the best listening experience for their audience.

Workshop 3: Ring in the Changes

Wednesday 12 May 11am – 12.30pm

How do musicians keep motivated in their careers when all around us has changed? This session will offer advice for musicians on adapting your career as you progress. Evelyn will also explore how audiences have changed over time, and how musicians can remain relevant as artists.

Taking Charge of Your Performance Career 2021: Practising, Listening, Performing with Liz Knowles

Workshop 1: Pushing the Refresh Button on Practise

Monday 31 May 11am – 12.30pm

Practise is the art of making choices. We might arrive into practise with the goal of building repertoire, technique, and skill, but away from the practise room the only thing that matters is how we express those things. How do you make practise more than a boring set of rules and exercises? How do you translate the details of practise into the wider panorama of expression? This session will explore how to make the choices that can turn practise into a compelling part of your musical journey—the line which connects your past, present, and future as a musician.

Workshop 2: Lend an Ear

Tuesday 1 June 11am – 12.30pm

In Irish music, listening is vital for how we learn tunes and style. On a deeper level, it can be the vehicle by which we come to understand elements of musicianship like intonation, technique, and musical expression. There are deep implications for listening in traditional music—as in all music. This session will explore new ways to approach listening in your practise and in teaching, how to apply it in recording and performance, and even how it can inform and inspire your composition and arrangement skills.

Workshop 3: The Many Stages of Performance

Wednesday 2 June 11am – 12.30pm

Performance can take place in a surprisingly wide range of venues and formats—pub and house concerts, sessions and festivals, performing arts centres and touring stage shows, television, radio, film and the recording studio. In this session, Liz will share thoughts on how to design concerts and performances—whatever the venue—from a musical and logistical standpoint while at the same time attending to your development as an artist. She will also share the pivotal moments in her career that have shaped her approach, and ideas on what the future of performance might look like after the pandemic and beyond.

Taking Charge of Your Performance Career 2021: Practising, Listening, Performing with Kenny Werner

Workshop 1: What Gets in your Way?

Wednesday 30 June 5pm – 6.30pm

How much do thoughts complicate your pathway in your playing, in your practising, in your listening? Self-Doubt. Self-Judgement. We could call this the two-headed monster, but there are more heads! In this session, Kenny will help musicians to identify the thoughts and emotions that create barriers to true mastery, and the following workshops will focus on overcoming those barriers.

Workshop 2: Making the True Connection

Thursday 1 July 5pm – 6.30pm

Learning to turn away from the conscious mind to what Kenny calls The Space. Practising and performing in the moment without thought, care or worry—that is every musician’s goal. In this workshop, Kenny will explain how detaching from the mind’s thought habits can help musicians to reconnect with their heart and their true intellect when playing, allowing them to become a clear conduit for the music.

Workshop 3: Knowing Your Material Will Make You Free

Friday 2 July 5pm – 6.30pm

Having achieved The Space, you can approach the items to practise with more focus and clarity than ever before, allowing you to achieve freedom in performance. Kenny will explain that proper preparation, which involves training your body to play the music with ease and without effort, is the key to true virtuosity. There's an ancient Sanskrit saying, "In The Mind, bondage. In The Mind, liberation". And so it is for musicians.

Taking Charge of Your Performance Career 2021: Teaching Children

Developing a Flexible Teaching Style with Tola Custy

Monday 12 July

Workshop 1: 10am – 12pm
Workshop 2: 1pm – 3pm

These workshops will provide tips and techniques for delivering one-to-one music lessons for children, both online and in person. Tola will explain how to change your teaching approach and lesson structure to suit different types of learners and personalities. Participants will learn to use games and change their voices and body language in order to inspire and motivate their young students. The sessions will include group work, and there will be opportunities for Q&A and discussion throughout.

Teaching Children with Special Educational Needs with Dr. Denise White

Tuesday 13 July

Workshop 3: 10am – 12pm
Workshop 4: 1pm – 3pm

Beginning with a general overview of teaching children and young people with special educational needs, topics will include mental health, disabilities, and the impact music can have on the lives of children with special educational needs. These 2 workshops are the first of four intensive sessions focusing on teaching children with special educational needs.

Children First Child Protection Training with Barnardos Ireland

Wednesday 14 July

Workshop 5: 10am – 1pm
Workshop 6: 2pm – 5pm

Delivered by Barnardos, these sessions will provide tailored Children First training for freelance music tutors. The course will be fully interactive and facilitate breakout groups focusing on the many different scenarios that freelance music tutors face, including online safeguarding. There will be plenty of opportunity to have your safeguarding questions answered, and participants will receive a safeguarding certificate from Barnardos on completion of both workshops.

Teaching Children with Special Educational Needs with Dr. Denise White

Thursday 15 July

Workshop 7: 10am – 12pm
Workshop 8: 1pm – 3pm

Following on from Denise’s previous workshops, in the morning session she will focus on teaching children and young people with mixed physical & intellectual disabilities. The afternoon workshop will explore how innovative teaching methods and participant-led approaches can accelerate progress and success, and will include brief talks from Denise’s former students who will explain the types of teaching methods which were successful for their own learning.