From June 30 – 6th July 2014, Music Generation Wicklow delivered a comprehensive Traditional Music Week in West Wicklow. The week comprised a 5 day summer school which incorporated a day long interactive Master Class. The week culminated with a world premiere of a specially commissioned composition, inspired by the Poulaphuca reservoir, performed by two groups of local young musicians. The focus of the week was to provide young people with opportunities to develop their musicality in their local area, in a positive and fun environment, at a minimal financial cost. The week was structured to provide outlets for music learning and skills development from expert tutors & peers, alongside creative expression through performance.
The Traditional Music Summer School was held in the Blessington Further Education Centre and was open to children and young people in Wicklow, aged 10 – 18, with a diverse range of abilities and interests. To meet the demand, 3 groups were formed (maximum capacity) under the guidance of the tutors: Rory Healy & Rachel Conlon (Senior Group), Eimer Casey (Intermediate Group) and Niall Cloak (Junior Group). The participants were placed in their group based on their ability, experience and stage of development. Each group explored areas of timing, composition and students were also offered a chance to learn new repertoire and develop their ensemble playing. At the end of the week each group performed a live set in front of a supportive and appreciative audience of: parents, guardians, families, tutors, peers & centre staff. The Summer School ran for 5 days, Monday to Friday from 10.00am to 1.00pm with 35 young people taking part with a mix of instruments, abilities, ages and interests.
On Friday 4th July, 15 young musicians, mainly from the senior summer school group, took part in an interactive Traditional Music MasterClass. Delivered in partnership with Music Network it was facilitated by Chris Stout (fiddle) & Caitriona McKay (harp) from Scotland, with support from MGW tutor Rachel Conlon. The Master Class explored tunes from the Shetlands and Scotland alongside some of the duo’s own pieces. The participating group of young musicians where brought though their various components and arrangements. This led to a deeper understanding of how the pieces were constructed and also different approaches to performing them. After being treated to an impromptu lunchtime recital by the duo and with the entire group, the afternoon explored melody and harmony and ideas of arrangement for use in performance. The final part of the Master Class was opened up to a questions & answers section along with some 1:1 advice on technique and approaching your instrument.
‘It was a brilliant week. We learned loads and got to hang out and make new friends. Hope it’s on again next year’ (Rachel, aged 14)