Minister for Education & Skills Launches Arts in Junior Cycle Initiative, ‘Me and My Music Spring 2020

An initiative that develops and nurtures creativity through a partnership approach between music students, their music teachers and visiting musicians has been extended to include hundreds of students across the country.

‘Me and My Music’ is an Arts in Junior Cycle initiative supported by the Creative Ireland Programme (2017 -2022 Pillar 1 Creative Youth, Junior Cycle for Teachers (JCT), the Irish Music Rights Organisation (IMRO) and Sing Ireland. 

This initiative got underway in February 2019 and included 300 first year junior cycle music students with their music teachers in 18 schools working with local musicians throughout Ireland. From September to December 2019, a second rollout was launched with an uptake of over 400 second year music students in 26 schools nationwide. 

Minister for Education and Skills, Joe McHugh, launched the next rollout of ‘Me and My Music’ for spring 2020 today at an event in Government Buildings with students from Central Remedial Clinic School, St. Pauls College, Raheny, and Tallaght Community School. It will run in schools nationwide for first year music students from January to May 2020.

In the ‘Me and My Music’ initiative, students, teachers and musicians work together to create a musical composition. The music teachers and musicians create an environment which allows students to experiment, take risks, explore new and challenging opportunities and reflect on the creative process. As well as developing the students’ creativity, this initiative offers opportunities for learning about vocal health and voice production. It also provides the foundational understanding of the value of music to the economy and the changing role of music creation in a digital era. It aims to equip future creators with the fundamental skills required for an evolving music industry. All this learning will enable and further support junior cycle music students in their engagement with and understanding of their new Junior Cycle music specification. 

On launching ‘Me and My Music’ Spring 2020, Minister McHugh said: “Bringing musicians, teachers and students together is a great way to inspire young people and encourage creativity. The expert advice that the students get in this project will stand to them for years to come whether it’s song writing or composition, keeping their voices healthy, recording, copyrighting and sharing music. They are all critical skills for anyone interested in the music industry. It’s bringing top class expertise into the classroom and it will be of real benefit for Junior Cycle students studying music.”

Pádraig Kirk, JCT Director said: “The learning that happens in ‘Me and My Music’, and in all of our Arts in Junior Cycle initiatives, is not just about the creation of an artefact or a piece of music, but encourages students to work collaboratively, to be inquisitive, persistent, disciplined and imaginative. Given the changing nature of knowledge and the pace of change in the workplace and in society in general, these are competencies and skills that are critical to the preparation of young people for life-long learning and living; a central tenet of Junior Cycle reform in Ireland.”  

Eleanor McEvoy, Chair of IMRO, said: “IMRO is delighted to work with JCT and Sing Ireland in this initiative and to engage with the new Junior Cycle music specification that is up-to-date and reflective of a modern music industry. As the representative organisation for over 13,000 members, at IMRO we are invested in the future of music and growth of creators and we hope our engagement in this initiative will make a tangible difference to Ireland’s future creators.”   

Dermot O’Callaghan, Chief Executive of Sing Ireland, said: “This exciting collaboration between Sing Ireland, IMRO and JCT incorporates a creative development of ensemble and individual singing in schools and classrooms. Singing is a whole-body activity that engages multiple senses synchronously. Singing is increasingly recognised as an important pedagogical tool for creative learning in music as well as in subjects other than music. Sing Ireland, therefore, recognises the enormous value of this work”. 

Creative Ireland The Creative Ireland Programme is guided by a vision that every person in Ireland will have the opportunity to realise their full creative potential. It is a five year all-of-Government initiative, from 2017 to 2022, to place creativity at the centre of public policy. 

Junior Cycle for Teachers Junior Cycle for Teachers (JCT) is a dedicated continuing professional development (CPD) support service of the Department of Education and Skills. Our vision is to inspire, support and empower teachers in the transformation of Junior Cycle education in Ireland. 

Sing Ireland Sing Ireland is the national representative organisation that develops and supports all forms of singing groups and choirs in Ireland. Their mission is to enhance life through singing by leading, enabling and connecting communities of singers in Ireland. 

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