Tipperary, Kerry, Kildare, Meath and Longford have been announced as the next five counties to join the Music Generation programme.
Each of the counties will receive funding to create access to affordable performance music education for children and young people in their communities.
Its first two phases, from 2010 and 2017, saw the programme expand into 20 areas, creating more than 48,500 opportunities for young musicians annually.
Projects involved in the programme this year are benefitting from €3.485m worth of funding from the Department of Education and Skills.
Music Generation was originally co-funded with donations from U2 and The Ireland Funds, supported by the Bank of America Charitable Foundation and the Stavros Niarchos Foundation, along with funding from local partners. The programme also received the funding from the Department of Education and Skills.
Participants are given the opportunity to engage in inspiring musical experiences with 400 professional musicians.
Locally, Music Generation programmes are managed by Local Music Education Partnerships (LMEPs) – groups of organisations and individuals that come together under the leadership of education and training boards and local authorities to offer young people the choice of access and chance to participate in music.
In December 2017, Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar announced the Government’s commitment to supporting the roll-out of Music Generation to all remaining areas of the country by 2022, as part of the Creative Ireland Programme.
Minister for Education and Skills Joe Mc Hugh welcomed the news today, saying it brought the Government “even closer to our goal of giving children in every county access to this opportunity”.
“Music and the arts inspire us all and Music Generation is having enormous impacts in communities, with young people having instrument, ensemble, voice and choral experiences that simply wouldn’t be possible without this programme,” he said.
It is a fantastic chance to instil a love of music and a lifelong skill and passion or awaken a hidden talent in our young people.
U2’s The Edge said: “Every milestone reached on this journey is a source of great pride for the band as well as everyone who has worked so hard to make it happen.
“With this latest announcement, the finish line is firmly in sight and our dream of an accessible music education for every young person in Ireland is getting ever closer. We are beyond excited.”
The new Music Generation counties will begin with the recruitment of Music Generation Development Officers in each area.