Department of Orchestral Studies
The Ballymun Wind Band Project grew out of a ‘Breaking the Cycle’ Initiative, funded by the Department of Education and Science and the Dublin Institute of Technology, in St. Joseph’s Primary Schools in Ballymun. The Project was conceived initially to help combat socio-economic disadvantage and also provide and opportunity for children to learn through the arts.
Beginning with the recorder in 1st class the project now boasts two Wind Bands, in the primary and secondary schools, and offers the possibility of taking music through to the Leaving Certificate.
There are now five schools involved:
- St Joseph’s Junior Primary,
- St Joseph’s Senior Primary,
- The Boys Junior Comprehensive,
- The Girls Junior Comprehensive,
- The Senior Comprehensive.
In all of these schools we have been greeted with great warmth and enthusiasm. Also in the wider community of parents and extended families, the Band’s concerts and other public appearances are hugely supported showing the benefits of playing music are widely appreciated. Music is now firmly embedded in their fabric.
Partnership in Progress
There are many partners in this project; four primary schools, the Department of Education and Science, The Dublin Institute of Technology and The Ballymun Comprehensive Secondary School. It is also envisaged that a large part will be played by the Axis Community Arts Centre and Ballymun Regeneration Limited in the future. This project grew out of the Department of Education’s “Breaking the Cycle” initiative which introduced recorder classes. Due to its success the Department agreed to fund this band project, which is run under the auspices of the DIT. As the DIT is responsible for the running of the Conservatory of Music and Drama, a great wealth of music management expertise has been made available for use, and some students have been awarded scholarships to the Conservatory. As the greater majority of our students go to The Ballymun Comprehensive, this school has also become involved and our first wave of musicians have received a great welcome from their enthusiastic music department. This year our first cohort of students sat the Junior Certificate in music and did very well. This project is very much a work in progress, but from this vantage point there is a huge amount of co-operation on display.
The D.I.T. Media Production Unit produced a half hour length video about the Wind Band and Ballymun itself. In this video you have the opportunity to see and hear the children, their parents and teachers as they prepare for the first performance of ’Fire, a Fanfare for Ballymun’ in the Axis Theatre. The making of the video was of enormous interest to the children and the eventual launch and screening was a great occasion.The project has grasped the imagination of the children, parents and the wider community in a very positive way. At present no child associated with the band has dropped out of school. Long may it continue.