U2 has donated $3.2M the proceeds from its Innocence + Experience concerts in Ireland last year to help seed-fund the expansion Music Generation, Ireland’s national music education program, into further areas of the country.
Music Generation was established in 2009 and gives singing and instrumental lessons to young people in 12 regional Ireland across a broad range of styles, from rock and pop to jazz and hip-hop. U2 has co-funded the program since its inception. The next phase of Music Generation will see the program established in up to nine additional areas.
In January this, the Irish government committed to sustainably funding the expanded Music Generation program into the future. Speaking of this latest donation, the group’s bass guitarist Adam Clayton said: “Five years in and Music Generation is continuing to thrive. It is wonderful to see this further commitment from the government which will bring us closer to achieving the goal of access to music education for every child and young person in Ireland. The support we received at school was very important to us as young musicians, and we are very proud of our part in this programme”.
Operating outside the mainstream primary and secondary school system, Music Generation works by professional musicians coming to community hubs, schools and venues and running classes for toddlers up to 18 year-olds. Young musicians are offered programs and tuition in choral singing, strings and recorder, musical literacy and performance skills. Equipped with 12 instrument banks and five recording studios, Music Generation involves 26,000 children annually in Ireland.
Bono has said of Music Generation: “What we want to do is really simple, we just want to make sure that everyone, whatever their background, gets access to music tuition”.
It is good to see a successful band like this putting money back into the educational system, and one hopes U2’s initiative might inspire similar philanthropic gestures in Australia.
This is revised, updated version of an earlier news item of the same title. The author thanks Aoife Lucey, Communications Manager of Music Generation, for her input.