Music Network launches the Grade-1-a-thon Challenge

Music Network launches the Grade-1-a-thon Challenge
Music Network is inviting the nation to participate in the Grade-1-a-thon Challenge, in aid of the Music Network Instruments for Older People Appeal.

Beat the lockdown blues and kick off the New Year with a jazzy new hobby. It’s never too late to start playing a musical instrument!

Music Network is launching its Grade-1-a-thon Challenge and is calling on participants of all ages to join in and help raise the €50,000 needed to establish a national bank of musical instruments for use by people over the age of 65.

By taking part in the Grade-1-a-thon Challenge, participants can learn to play the musical instrument of their dreams, with the added motivation that comes from asking friends and family for sponsorship.

Music Network has teamed up with the Royal Irish Academy of Music for the Grade-1-a-thon Challenge so that participants can take their Royal Irish Academy of Music Grade 1 exams online free of charge (subject to availability). Exams will be held in early summer 2021.

Music Network will be sharing the progress of participants along the way on its social media channels, including that of Éanna Ni Lamhna, the intrepid naturalist and broadcaster who plans to take on the flute. Éanna will receive lessons from the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra’s principal flautist Catriona Ryan.

Music Network is inviting people of all ages to take part in the Grade-1-a-thon Challenge, regardless of their musical experience. To find out more about how to take part, including information on how to source an instrument and a helpful fundraising guide, see

Commenting on the launch, Music Network CEO Sharon Rollston said: “If you’ve ever dreamed of learning to play a musical instrument, this may be your ideal opportunity to do so. Besides the enjoyment and sense of achievement that you’ll experience as you uncover your musical talent, our Grade-1-a-thon Challenge brings the added benefit of supporting a very worthy cause in the process.

“Creativity is a valuable way to reconnect with ourselves and others, and we want to encourage more older people to become actively engaged in making music, after what has been a particularly difficult and isolating year for many. Through our Instruments for Older People Appeal we’re aiming to ensure that older people in communities around Ireland are afforded the chance to participate as musical citizens.”

Deborah Kelleher, Director of the Royal Irish Academy of Music commented: “Setting out on a musical journey can be one of the most impactful decisions on a person’s life, and RIAM are passionate about helping to create that opportunity.

“Taking the first steps towards learning an instrument, at any stage of life, is a gateway to motivation, achievement, and wellbeing, creating shared experiences at a time when it has never been more important to find ways to connect with others.”

You can help Music Network to raise the €50,000 needed to establish a collection of musical instruments for use by older people in a number of communities throughout Ireland by donating to the Instruments for Older People Appeal, sponsoring the Grade-1-a-thon Challenge or by taking on the Challenge yourself!