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Primary Strings Report
Media Release 18th September 2014

National Concert Hall report shows Primary Strings Project initiative leads to improvement in children’s confidence and self-esteem

• 2,000 children in 23 schools (mostly DEIS schools) have had the opportunity to participate in the programme
• 8 of these schools now have a school orchestra
• Percentage of children learning a musical instrument in DEIS schools was 0.007% before the project, now it is 24% - significantly above the national average
• One entire class in North Dublin performed at Dublin Airport, while another were guests at the Dublin Airport Authority annual music festival
• Through music, these schools have been able to link into the wider community and the project has brought a symbol of high musical status to each school involved

Today the National Concert Hall launched the results of a recent report on the Primary Strings Project, an initiative which allows every child in the classroom the opportunity to learn an instrument, during school time. It revealed that children having access to instrumental music tuition (generally confined to after-school, fee-paying provision) leads to improvement in their confidence and self-esteem.

Simon Taylor CEO of the National Concert Hall said “The National Concert Hall was delighted to support this innovative and inspiring project. Increasing access to music is at the core of what we do and the Primary String Project has demonstrated that quality instrumental tuition can be delivered in a classroom setting. The effects of such tuition go well beyond the acquisition of musical skills too, having a tangible and demonstrable educational benefit for the child and a social dividend for the school and the wider community”.

The initiative was founded by Education Consultant Dorothy Conaghan in 2001 when she began what was probably the first ‘in-school, string group instrumental tuition programme’ in Ireland, where every child receives a weekly violin lesson under the guidance of a qualified music teacher in their class group with their peers. Access is not parent dependent and there is no cost to the child. Dorothy said “Class teachers really see the benefit and often comment to me about the increased confidence levels and also increased self-esteem particularly among students who find class based work a challenge”.

With the growing demand for expansion of this ground-breaking programme, in 2007 the National Concert Hall Education Department facilitated Dorothy to outreach her expertise and experience and further develop what became the Primary Strings Project.
For further information please contact: Ruth Moloney, Marketing Executive, National Concert Hall, Earlsfort Terrace, Dublin 2. Tel: 01 417 0084 / 087 278 6382

Dorothy Conaghan is a postgraduate student at UCD and has recently been awarded the Mary Kelly Scholarship for her work in the area of music education in Ireland. This scholarship is awarded to one M.Sc. (Equality Studies) student each year that has demonstrated an outstanding record of activism for equality and social justice. The award is given for commitment and passion for social justice, which Dorothy has demonstrated in the length and depth of her outstanding lifetime achievement in promoting equality in the area of music education. The award is competitive and international and is given in recognition of exceptional achievement.