Last week, we welcomed both new and returning trainees to the Music Bridge training program. We’ve now begun our third year of training in Northern Ireland, training musicians and youth workers in the principles of community music, leadership and nonviolence, towards the aim of creating sustainable community music programs within Northern Ireland’s divided communities. The 2016-2017 training program offers three levels of training: an introductory level course, an advanced course for returning trainees and a third year course focusing on leadership development within a workshop setting of each trainee’s choice.
Since the start of the program in 2014, Music Bridge trainees have reached over 1,500 youth and adults through 150 workshops in the greater Derry-Strabane region, across Northern Ireland and the Republic. We have developed long-standing partnerships with a number of community organizations and integrated schools (as a number of school communities are still defined by a predominant religious affiliation). This year, we will reach out to more schools, with the aim to bring different school groups together through our workshops.
We have observed that our trainees’ workshops have enabled young participants to feel more confident and to appreciate differences among their peer group at a critical time in their life where their own identities are being formed. These workshops have been thoroughly endorsed by the staff at Model Primary, an integrated school in Derry-Londonderry. According to staff, the level of inclusiveness offered in the Music Bridge workshops meets a significant need in the community for programs which attend to interpersonal skill development.
This year, we’re delighted to be reaching trainees in the local community as well as those coming from the Republic of Ireland and England, broadening the impact of the program into different communities. Our trainees reported being able to use their new skills in the following settings this year:
You can find more photos from last week’s training here. Stay tuned for more updates!