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Music Generation is the new national musical initiative that will aim to provide a musical education for 10,000 disadvantaged children over the next three years in Ireland.
U2 contributed $6 million towards the cost of the new scheme which is also supported by the American Ireland Fund. The band decided to support the project when the state funded pilot scheme, which operated in Ballyfermot and Co. Donegal was unable to be rolled out on a national scale because of financial issues.
The money will help provide a series of local music, education partnerships performed by established music teachers, musicians and administrators.
The project aims to offer free of charge or subsidized music lessons to school children either in or out of the classroom.
Music Generation aims to set up a dozen partnerships throughout Ireland. The Department of Education has committed to publicly funding the scheme after 2015.
Organizers are hopeful that over the next five years, the initiative will be established enough to offer all children the opportunity of a musical education.
Rosaleen Molloy, the director of Music Generation said that Ireland was trailing the European average, as only one percent of secondary school children receive tuition in playing instruments or singing. The European average is between six and eight percent.
“Not only does it give you the technical skills of learning how to play an instrument, a music education gives you skills that you need for life, a great sense of confidence, discipline and team-working,” she said.
“The gift that U2 and the Ireland Fund have given to our young people goes way beyond musical skills. It is giving them an empowerment and a belief in themselves,” she added.
While none of the members were present at the launch yesterday, a statement from guitarist The Edge said they had been lucky enough to learn music at school and that the scheme would prove beneficial to all those involved.