Lent already in this musical 2024!

New students – If you’d like to learn to play or to sing, click here 

Pay online here

Join Donegal Youth Orchestra – click here

Join Donegal Youth Choir – click here

Update – Wednesday 14th February, 2024

It’s a lot of things – Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent, Valentine’s Day, mid-term break and of course the birthday of the Italian opera composer Pier Francesco ‘Never To Be Forgotten’ Cavalli in 1602.

There’s a break from tuition as the secondary schools are off for the week and the primary schools for at least a day or two. Of course, the DMEP office is still buzzing with activity. That’s official. There are the outstanding fees (feel free to bring some in from the cold), exams coming up from RIAM and Trinity, the occasional event coming up, administration to be sorted out (travelling expenses, anyone?) and putting the remarkable Jennifer Pike up on Facebook.

Yes there’s news – music of the world down in Limerick, the Irish Association of Youth Orchestras concerts at the National Concert Hall, and a ‘Come and Try’ sessions with lots of instruments in the FET Centre in Donegal Town next Wednesday, 4.30pm – 6pm. But it’s getting late. More soon!

A musical Christmas from the DMEP

What was on –

Saturday 2nd December – Two excellent student concerts at the Regional Cultural Centre, Letterkenny. Young musicians performing on lots of instruments, from violins and pianos to drums and electric guitar, and super singers

Sunday 10th December – the DMEP Christmas Concert. Another triumph for all involved – the Donegal Youth Orchestra with conductor Vincent Kennedy (Dublin) were in excellent from; the Glenties Youth Choir and musicians, conducted by Anne McDwyer, got a great reception; Sunflowers, a Ukrainian guitar ensemble with DMEP tutor Tetiana Kovolova, were stunning (the young players just started in May, remarkable progress); the Colmcille Harp Trio with tutor Lucia McGinnis did three beautiful pieces; and the renowned classical guitarist Manus Noble gave a virtuosic performance of three American-themed pieces. Big crowd, including Donegal ETB chief Anne McHugh, who spoke, and Director of Schools Dr Martin Gormley

Tuesday 12th December – a highly entertaining concert in PCC An Fál Carrach from students of the Atlantic School of Rock and tutors Declan McClafferty, James Maley and Tine Verbeke. With thanks also to the very supportive PCC principal Maeve Sweeney

Sunday 17th December – the long sold-out ‘Festive Treats’ concert at Rockhill House outside Letterkenny was another big success for the Donegal Chamber Orchestra

BRASS SCHOLARSHIPS

Well, let’s take it one step at a time . . . the DMEP is offering scholarships to encourage children and young people to take up great instruments like those brass ones (trombone, French horn, tuba even), the double bass, the bassoon (ever see one of those?) and the oboe. These are some of the lesser-spotted instruments but they sound great! They’d also be a great addition to the Donegal Youth Orchestra in a year or two (or three, right enough).The offer is tuition at half-price (€11 per 30 minute lesson) and free instrument hire for anyone taking up one of these instruments. The double bass lessons are online – from Conor Murray, originally from Falcarragh, and now playing jazz in New York!

SIGN UP WITH TINE (they did!)

Tine Verbeke is one of the top voice coaches in the country – and she lives along the Donegal coast! She has offered to do a second evening of voice classes at PCC An Fál Carrach, a Wednesday evening. If you love singing, sign up now! TIMETABLE NOW FULL

BEATS AND BOWS in Inishowen

We’re keen to get some more DMEP students in Inishowen. Seamus Devenny is available to give after-school lessons in drums and also in violin in Carndonagh (Mondays), Moville (Tuesdays) and Buncrana (Wednesdays). The DMEP has violins for hire, drums you’ll have to sort! Fee – €22 for 30 minutes individual, payable quarterly in advance. Sign up here

Still a few places left on our tuition programme – not too many, as there are more than 440 children and young people, and some adults indeed, signed up across Donegal. There’s a list below. New students are joining up so the spaces are disappearing.

If you’re already a player, of around Grade 3 standard or better, you can join the Donegal Youth Orchestra. The rehearsals are every fortnight, Friday nights 5,30pm – 8pm at the Regional Cultural Centre, Letterkenny. Conductor – Vincent Kennedy (Dublin).

Will you give your child the gift of music?

The 440+ signed up with the DMEP are learning to play a whole range of instruments, from piano and violin to trumpet and percussion. There are also voice lessons. 

Once again the programme stretches right across the county, from Carndonagh to Ballyshannon to Gaoth Dobhair – 29 tutors delivering 58 timetables in 14 centres.

WHAT WE’VE GOT LEFT!

Individual classes cost €22 for 30 minutes, payable quarterly in advance. Small group classes cost €13 for 30 minutes, large group classes €10 for 30 minutes.

Ballyshannon, wind (flute, sax, oboe, clarinet), Wednesdays 5.30pm, 7.30pm

Buncrana, Crana College, drums/violin, Wednesdays 6pm, 6.30pm

Carndonagh, Colgan Hall, drums/violin, Mondays 7.30pm

Donegal Town, FET Centre Drumcliff, violin, Mondays 3.30pm, 6.30pm classical/trad

Donegal Town, FET Centre Drumcliff, violin, Tuesdays (please enquire re times)

Donegal Town, FET Centre Drumcliff, piano/voice, Wednesdays 5pm, 6.30pm

Errigal College LK, brass, Mondays 7.45pm (scholarships for newbies, 1/2 price, free rental, trumpet, trombone, French horn)

Errigal College LK, piano, Mondays 8.30pm

Errigal College LK, wind (flute, clarinet) Mondays 7pm, small group place at 6pm

Errigal College LK, violin, Wednesdays 7.30pm

Errigal College LK, piano, Wednesdays 7.30pm

Errigal College LK, classical guitar, Wednesdays 4.30pm

Errigal College LK, wind (flute, clarinet), Thursdays 7pm

Errigal College LK, voice, Fridays 5pm

Letterkenny, piano, Thursdays 3.30pm (venue tbc)

Falcarragh, guitar, Tuesdays (group places, €10 for 30 mins, time depends on level)

Falcarragh, piano, Tuesdays 8pm

Gaoth Dobhair, piano, Wednesdays 7.30pm

Milford, Mulroy College, Tuesdays, guitar (some group places available €10 for 30 mins)

Milford, Mulroy College, Thursdays, violin 4pm, 6pm

Milford, Mulroy College, Thursdays, piano 5pm

Moville Community College, Tuesdays, violin/drums 5.45pm. 6.15pm

Stranorlar FET centre, guitar, Tuesdays (please enquire, may be organising more spaces)

Stranorlar FET centre, piano, Tuesday 7pm

Some DMEP students and tutors at a concert in Crana College, Buncrana.

We believe that learning a musical instrument or to sing is one of the best things a child can do. Maybe we’re biased 🙂 But the Donegal Music Education Partnership exists to give children and young people that chance.

It’s time to sign up for our music tuition across Donegal, starting again from 4th September. Get on the waiting list by clicking this link for ‘new students’. Last year we had more than 400 children and young people learning a whole range of instruments, and also singing. If you have a child aged six or more, give them the gift of music.

The cost of tuition in 2023-2024 is €22 for a 30 minute individual session, paid quarterly in advance. There are 30 lessons in total across 2023-2024.

SPECIAL OFFER – we want to have more brass students this year 2023-2024. We’re offering some half-scholarships to first year students of trumpet, trombone, and French horn as well as free instrument rental. Drop a line to musiceducation@donegaletb.ie if you’re interested.

There’s tuition in a wide range of instruments in Letterkenny, mostly in the evenings at Errigal College (thanks Errigal!). In Donegal Town, you can have lessons in violin, cello, clarinet, trumpet, flute, saxophone, piano, voice and more. We have music hubs at Mulroy College in Milford and PCC An Fál Carrach (Falcarragh). Other centres for tuition include Ballyshannon, Stranorlar, Gaoth Dobhair and, in Inishowen, Buncrana, Moville and Carndonagh.

Members of Donegal Youth Orchestra and Donegal Youth Choir get a standing ovation at the end-of-year concert in the Regional Cultural Centre in Letterkenny in May.

Our ukulele programme in national schools is going great guns – well done everybody! We have around 1,000 children learning ukulele in 24 schools. Congratulations to everyone involved in the ‘Ukulele Heaven!’ concert in An Grianán on Thursday 8th June. It was a blast! Snapshot below, check out the DMEP Facebook page for videos.

Recently the DMEP started a fiddle programme in east Donegal. So far there are four schools and more than 70 young fiddlers involved. More are expected to join in 2023-2024. Thanks to the talented Paul Harrigan, who is the tutor.

Learning an instrument opens up opportunities for young people. With the DMEP they can join one of our performing groups, such as Donegal Junior Strings (open to beginners), the Donegal Youth Orchestra (Grade 3 standard or better), the Donegal Youth Choir (singers aged around 12 or more) and Letterkenny Junior Choir (singers at national school).

We’re working on our events programme for the rest of 2023. Here’s some of the events on the way –

  • Friday 22nd September (Culture Night) – Donegal Youth Orchestra open rehearsal, Regional Cultural Centre, Letterkenny; Donegal Chamber Orchestra, Conwal Parish Church, Letterkenny
  • Saturday 14th October – Donegal Junior Strings, Wainfest Family Concert, Glebe Gallery, Churchill
  • Sunday 15th October – Donegal Chamber Orchestra, St Mary of the Visitation Church, Killybegs
  • Saturday 2nd December – DMEP student concert, RCC, Letterkenny 
  • Sunday 10th December – DMEP Christmas concert, An Grianán Theatre, LK
  • Sunday 17th December – Donegal Chamber Orchestra, Christmas concert, Rockhill House, LK
  • to be arranged – student concerts before Christmas in Donegal Town and Falcarragh

One of our highlights of 2022-2023 was a performance in An Grianán Theatre by the Donegal Youth Orchestra and guests of a new suite from their conductor, the composer Vincent Kennedy, for the Colmcille 1500 celebrations. The Donegal Junior Strings were in great form on their school tour in June. Another highlight was the Donegal Chamber Orchestra concert at Mussenden Temple on Sunday 4th June. They gave a super performance in a stunning location.

Other recent-ers

The Donegal Youth Orchestra got a standing ovation at their end-of-year concert in the Regional Cultural Centre in Letterkenny on Sunday 21st May. Sharing in the applause were their special guests, members of the Donegal Youth Choir. The orchestra was conducted by Vincent Kennedy (Dublin). A highlight was the world premiere of a new piece of music by Vincent, ‘The Letterkenny Waltz’. The choir was conducted by Evan McGarrigle, with Hannah Gallagher on piano.

DMEP students did themselves proud at a series of three student concerts, two of them in the Regional Cultural Centre in Letterkenny and another in Crana College, Buncrana. Lots of talent out there! Well done to the students and some special guests, and to the tutors.

There was an afternoon of workshops at the RCC on Sunday 16th May with two touring Music Network artists, both brilliant musicians – Liz Knowles from Kentucky on the four strings, and Congolese maestro Niwel Tsumbu on the six. Their concert in the venue that night with the ace concertina player Niall Vallely was something very special. Good to have some up-and-coming young Donegal musicians along to learn from Liz and Niwel.

Something special – Niall Vallely, Liz Knowles and Niwel Tsumbu.

SOME THINGS WE PREPARED EARLIER . . .

Yes, 120 talented young musicians giving it laldy at Coláiste Ailigh in Letterkenny on Saturday 1st April. Two Dublin youth orchestras came to stay at the Gartan Outdoor Education Centre for the weekend, and spent the Saturday doing workshops and then performing with the Donegal Youth Orchestra. It all added up to Ireland’s biggest orchestra for the day. Thanks to everyone who made it happen – Wendy Arlow, general manager of the Dublin Youth Orchestras; DYO conductor Vincent Kennedy; all at Coláiste Ailigh, who couldn’t have been more welcoming, including principal Seán MacSuibhne and deputy Rosa McLaughlin;  Elina Haessler, DMEP administrator and very busy viola player that day; and of course Mary Armitage, the DYO’s greatest supporter. Donegal ETB director of schools Dr Martin Gormley called in and then attended the concert and said words of welcome to all. 

Good one! – PCC Soundwaves II at PCC An Fál Carrach – 13 talented young musicians and singers in action on Saturday 4th March. They combined to form an exciting new band for the day, Awesome Biscuits, and created a new song, ‘Now’s My Chance’ (see below shortly). Thanks to Cheylene Murphy and Seamus Devenny from Wall2Wall Music for their work on the day, and also to principal Maeve Sweeney and all at PCC for their support.

Grade 3 or over? Join Donegal Youth Orchestra! Next rehearsal – RCC Letterkenny, tomorrow Friday 12th May, 5.30pm – 8pm, RCC. Great to visit the Abbey Vocational School in Donegal Town for a rehearsal on Friday 10th March. Get your tickets now for the DYO end-of-year concert at the RCC on Sunday week (21st) at 5pm. Special guests – Donegal Youth Choir. Tickets available now online at Eventbrite, search for ‘Donegal Youth Orchestra’. Numbers limited. Adult €10, under-18s €5.

The conductor of the Donegal Youth Orchestra, Vincent Kennedy (Dublin) and joint leaders Dearbhla Flynn and Seana McGarry pictured at the DMEP Christmas Concert, An Grianán Theatre, Letterkenny,  on Sunday 11th December, 2022. © John Soffe 2022.

TUITION

We offer tuition across Donegal in a whole range of instruments, from violin to trumpet, guitar to drums. The cost is €22 for a 30 minute individual class. Group classes are available for some instruments.

Want to be a musician/singer? Sign up

Another fine study by photographer John Soffe from the DMEP Christmas Concert, An Grianán Theatre, Letterkenny, on Sunday 11th December, 2022. And another entertaining evening!
DMEP Christmas Concert, An Grianan Theatre, Letterkenny, Co. Donegal, 11DEC2022 © John Soffe 2022.

PERFORMING GROUPS – Information below on our performing groups. We also have a ukulele programme involving 25 primary schools and 750 young ukulele players! Schools – ask us for details. Our email is musiceducation@donegaletb.ie

ABOVE – Vincent Kennedy conducting the Donegal Youth Orchestra and Donegal Youth Choir during the world premiere of his suite, ‘Colmcille, Dove of Peace’, at An Grianán Theatre in Letterkenny in March 2022. The second performance at the theatre on Sunday 24th July 2022 also got a standing ovation. Pic  – John Soffe Photography.

MUSIC WORKS!

All the evidence backs up what we see every day of the week – music is great for children (and adults). If you’re a young person, or the parent/guardian of a young person, take advantage of the many opportunities to learn an instrument across Donegal. Join up!

IMPORTANT WEBSITE NOTE –

The information contained in these web pages is, to the best of our knowledge, true and accurate at the time of publication and is solely for information purposes only. Donegal ETB accepts no liability for any loss or damage arising as a result of use or reliance on this information.

DYO conductor Vincent Kennedy pictured with some of the departing members of the Donegal Youth Orchestra. They were presented with flowers at the DYO’s end-of-year concert at the Regional Cultural Centre in Letterkenny on Saturday 21st May 2022. Guest pianist Eileen Kennedy-Carr, right, has just taken a few pics – her daughter Nora is second from left of the five.

And now here’s a link to a short video [Links to a clip of Eden, Hannah and Renato Paris having an impromptu jam at the end of Renato’s ‘Groove’ workshop in the RCC in Letterkenny on Wednesday 23rd June 2022]

Just the three of us (edit)

The pic above shows conductor Victor Yélamo and the DJS in action. If you’re a string player aged 7 -14 you can join the DJS. Drop us a line to musiceducation@donegaletb.ie or call John on 087 715 4700 (working hours).

If you’ve a child interested in learning music or singing, you’ve come to the right place!

You can enrol a new student using the link below (or above!). The name goes on our waiting list, used to fill any available places.

New students – If you’d like to learn to play or to sing, click here 

Any queries? Ring our manager Martin McGinley on 087 1677 699 or our administrator John McIvor on 087 715 4700. Our office number is 07491 76293 and our email is music education@donegaletb.ie  Check out the Facebook page Donegal Music Education Partnership-DMEP.

Mulroy Academy of Music, Milford – If you’d like to join the new Mulroy Academy of Music at Mulroy College in Milford (guitar, bass, drums, violin, piano – group rates available, apart from piano) click here.

Atlantic School of Rock, Falcarragh – another new development in 2021 – 2022, with tuition in guitar, bass, voice, drums and piano at Pobalscoil Chloich Cheannfhaola (PCC), at Falcarragh. Please use the form for ‘New students’ above, and mention Atlantic School of Rock. Group rates, apart from piano/voice.

——-

Below, at PCC Soundwaves in PCC An Fál Carrach on Saturday 11th December 2021 – Seamus Devenny from Wall2Wall Music keeps the beat as Anu on piano awaits the cue from other band members. The song is an original, ‘After the Storm’ (working title), from, remember the name, Ten Human Beings. There’s a video from way back then on the DMEP Facebook page.

Contact the DMEP – email musiceducation@donegaletb.ie or phone 07491 76293. John’s new office mobile – 087 7154 700 (office hours).

Cost

One-to-one lessons (mostly what we do) cost €22 for 30 minutes. We follow the school year and have 30 weeks of lessons. You pay in advance quarterly. We have some group lessons, such as with guitar, at €10 for half an hour. Two or three in the group.

Outstanding fees? Pay here 🙂

You’ll need the info we sent you when you registered – your family ID (starts with CD2), your six-digit PIN and the last four digits of the mobile number you gave us. Any difficulties, email musiceducation@donegaletb.ie

LATEST

For the DMEP’s latest developments, please check out our Facebook page DMEP-Donegal Music Education Partnership, and also the Facebook account of our music development manager, Martin McGinley – dmep.

PERFORMING GROUPS

ABOVE – The Errigal Singers and conductor Maghnus Monaghan performing at Donegal Castle.

We have several performing groups and they’re always glad to see new members. So you can join the likes of the Donegal Youth Orchestra (if you’re under 25 and at least Grade III standard), the Donegal Chamber Orchestra or Donegal Junior Strings; the Donegal Youth Choir (ages 12 – 18 approx), and Letterkenny Junior Choir (very keen on new faces). Some groups have been on a break since Covid – it will be great to welcome them back. Active now are the DYO, DCO, DYC, and DJS (see previous sentences to work out acronyms!)

Yes, you could be starring in a DMEP performing group! The cost for 2023 – 2024 is just €100.

Here’s the line-up in no particular order (ages approximate, rehearsal times may change for 2023-2024, starting September) –

Donegal Junior Strings, conductor Victor Yélamo – beginners, 6 – 12 yrs. Rehearsals weekly, Saturday afternoons, 4pm – 5pm  RCC Letterkenny

Donegal Youth Orchestra, conductor Vincent Kennedy – most instruments, grade 3 and up, 12 – 20 yrs. Rehearsals every second Fri, 5.30pm – 8pm, RCC, Letterkenny

Donegal Chamber Orchestra, conductor Victor Yélamo – strings, prob Grade 4/5 and up, mix of students and adults. Saturday afternoons, 1.30pm – 4pm, RCC Letterkenny

Donegal Youth Choir, conductor Sara Laughlin (usually), accompanist Evan McGarrigle (recently stepped temporarily as conductor last year) – ages 11 to 20. Every second Sunday afternoon, Vestry, St Conal’s Hospital grounds, High Road, Letterkenny. 4pm – 6.30pm.

Letterkenny Junior Choir – if you’re aged 6 to 12 and like singing, get in touch! Rehearsals every Thursday, 3.30pm – 4.30pm, RCC, Letterkenny. Conductor – tbc

Get in touch via musiceducation@donegaletb.ie or phone us on 07491 76293.

Check out what we do on Facebook or see our playlist on YouTube for loads of music 🙂

Note – we request data to allow us to run our programme. Our data protection policy is here.

WHO WE ARE

The DMEP is the music arm of the Donegal Education and Training Board, which is doing marvellous work in education and training across the county. The DMEP is supported by the Department of Education.

Martin McGinley is the DMEP’s Music Development Manager, John McIvor is the administrator and Orsolya Szabo-Yélamo is the full-time violin resource tutor. In terms of the DMEP’s web presence, there’s valuable support from hosting expert Jakub Józefowicz of LetsHost, based in Oranmore, County Galway.

We teach mostly classical, with some jazz and contemporary/rock. We cater for all ages and abilities. Details here.

Click here to enrol for music tuition or our groups

Leading trad guitarist John Doyle (closest to camera) working with some cracking Donegal guitar players and upcoming talent on a visit thanks to Music Network.
DMEP