In January, we returned to Northern Ireland to continue training local musicians and community workers to become community music leaders. The Music Bridge program, run in partnership with Cultúrlann Uí Chanáin, aims to address the consequences of the Northern Ireland conflict. Through music we bridge divides and create empathic connections that help to rebuild a more resilient and peaceful society.
We’ve now embarked on the third year of our program, offering training at three competency levels. A core group of trainees, who have been following the program since we began in 2014, are now preparing to run a series of workshops within hard-to-reach communities, including the prison services, women’s groups and special schools.
We also have an active group of first-year trainees, our most international group by far, including one participant from Montreal, Canada and a special visitor from South Korea! As part of the week, our trainees led 26 children from Model Primary School through a two hour creative music workshop with dancing, singing, songwriting, and instrument building from found objects, culminating in a performance. Over the next months, we aim to offer combined workshops this spring with students from Model Primary School and classes from more rural and hard-to-reach areas.