VOICE – music programme with children and young people

Our Music for Me programme wrapped up at the end of 2012 with the launch of the Music for Me publication – a celebration and evaluation of a partnership music programme in Dublin’s canal communities.

With the experience and learning gained from this programme, Common Ground initiated VOICE, a new music programme.

One of the rationales for the VOICE programme is to maximise and expand participation in a high quality music programme and to integrate new cross generational and participation elements that include engaging with multiple music genres, composing and performance.  To date the Voice programme has taken place in two locations which are:

St. Michaels Estate, Inchicore

From 2013 to the summer of 2014, children from the after schools service in the Family Resource Centre St. Michaels Estate worked with jazz singer Pia Dunne and guitarist Ray Boyle, to raise their voices to perform, sing and record their own compositions. From September 2014 to the end of 2015 the group worked soley with Pia Dunne. In September 2014 the children performed for the President Michael.D. Higgins when he launched Thornton Heights – the new social housing development on the former St Michael’s Estate, Inchicore site.

In 2016 the after schools service in the Family Resource Centre were granted the YPCE award from the Arts Council. This has allowed them to initiate a new musical experience for the children. With the support of Common Ground, an exciting music and percussion programme – MAKING SENSE OF SOUND – has been developed with children from 8-14 years. Musicians Alex Pectu and Maeve O’Hara will work with the children over 13 weeks introducing them to a range of percussion instruments. They will perform to family and friends in a specially choreographed performance in December 2016 at Richmond Barracks.

Bluebell School Choir

Working in partnership with Our Lady of the Wayside National School Bluebell, Common Ground with singer Maeve O’Hara and Pia Dunne, continued to progress the establishment of a children’s choir in this unique DEIS school. It educates a broad range of children from a diverse range of Irish and International cultures and plays a key role in performing with the adult Choir many of whom are the grandparents of the school going children. The role of Maeve O’Hara and Pia Dunne has been supported by the musician and composer Pete St John who generously committed a €5,200 music bursary to Our Lady of the Wayside. This bursary funded the role of the musicians in the school up to 2015.

Common Ground and Our Lady of the Wayside National School are committed to finding the resources to continue the music programme into the future. Under the Arts in Education Charter, a national scheme –ARIS –Arts Rich Schools, is to be introduced which will incentivise and recognise those schools which make the arts a key part of school life. While we recognise the intention behind the Charter, the reality for DEIS schools like Our Lady of the Wayside National School, is that financial resources within the school fall far short of fully engaging with arts in education.