The funding awarded by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland through its Musical Instruments Programme will be a giant leap forward for the students who have been developing their skills under the guidance of experienced tutor Katy Bustard from Causeway Harp School.
Currently a small number of 20 string harps are being rented for school use and pupils need to purchase their own instrument to practice at home, potentially presenting a financial barrier to young players. Today’s good news will mean the school can purchase six new 26 string harps and one 34 string learner harp, providing a clear path for students hoping to develop their skills and improve their public performance.
Leanne Smyth, Principal of Dunseverick Primary School, commented: “We are absolutely delighted to have received this grant to purchase new harps for our school. This will allow our harp tuition to be more accessible to all our pupils and the musical culture in school to be further enhanced. We strongly believe, especially during these current times, that music is of great benefit to the mental health and wellbeing of all our children.”
The grant given this week by the Arts Council to Dunseverick Primary School is just one of sixty-nine awards made, worth a total investment of £494,000. Thanks to capital investment from the Department for Communities, the scheme, set up to increase the quality of music making in Northern Ireland, offers grants to a range of professional and non-professional musicians and groups. Among those will benefit are schools groups, community choirs, marching and brass bands, and individual professional musicians.
Ciaran Scullion, Head of Music at the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, commented: “Northern Ireland has a fine history of musicianship, one which is celebrated all over the world. Today’s funding announcement will go a long way in supporting that legacy, benefitting so many performers across a broad range of genres including classical, jazz, traditional, contemporary and electronic.
“We are very pleased this year to have been able to award grants to several schools, including Dunseverick Primary School. The students there are obviously hugely talented and eager to learn and this grant will provide them the instruments they need to continue their musical progression.”
Communities Minister, Deirdre Hargey also welcomed the programme, saying: “The Arts Council’s Musical Instruments Scheme supports players at all stages of their musical journey, from those just starting out, through to highly skilled professional musicians and non-professional groups and bands, ensuring their skills can continue to grow and that our musicians have everything they need to reach their full potential as players and performers.
“This programme makes a significant contribution to the quality of music and musicianship here. It supports our professionals and our talented youth and recognises the vital role that amateur bands and players have in our rich musical heritage. The importance of music and the wider arts sector is appreciated now perhaps more than ever and I am delighted to continue to support this very practical measure.”
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