04 Jul 2022

Laois students are jamming up a storm in Portlaoise school

Portlaoise College students enjoy new music programme with Music Generation Laois and Laois School of Music

Music Generation Laois and Laois School of Music are delivering a new secondary school music programme, supported by the Laois Offaly Education and Training Board Local Creative Youth Partnership.

Students of Portlaoise College have had the opportunity to take up the ukulele, bodhrán, violin, and take part in weekly ‘jam’ sessions.

A group of 12 young musicians work with James O’Connor and Denise Boyle from Music Generation Laois each week, developing their music and song-writing skills. James Harvey, Portlaoise College Music Teacher and well-known Laois banjo player, is on hand each week, co-facilitating the sessions. This group recently wrote and recorded their own original song, ‘Is it Just a Bad Day?’

Third year music student and weekly jammer, Kayla Daly spoke about the programme. 

"There's only so much you can be taught from typical rote learning. Music Generation have bridged that gap and taught us something that we never could've learned in our own musical study. We got to play alongside accomplished musicians and get a first taste of how brilliant the music industry really is" he said. MORE BELO PIC.

Anastazja Bryszkowska is another young musician taking part in the weekly jam sessions.

"It’s been so much fun with James and Denise coming in and helping us write the song and I think it’s a great opportunity to have the chance to write a song and record it. I love the experience I had and I'm hoping to work with James and Denise more in the future," she said.

Music Generation Laois currently operate over 46 weekly music programmes in schools, youth facilities, Men’s Sheds, community nursing units across the county with over 2500 participants each week. The service has greatly expanded, due to demand, since stricter lockdown conditions ended in April. More below pic.

Both Music Generation Laois and Laois School of Music operate out of Laois Music Centre in Portlaoise, where an additional 700 young people and adults attend weekly music classes, and take part in a range of ensemble/orchestra/band opportunities.

James Harvey is a Music Teacher in Portlaoise College.

"Music Generation had such a positive impact on the students here in Portlaoise College. It was an amazing experience seeing the students create their own piece of music, watching it grow from an idea into a finished song. The students learned more than just music, they learned how to work as a team, how to communicate their ideas effectively while also setting goals of creating a song within a ten-week window.

"Not only did the students create their own song but they also enjoyed the process of making music with others too. A huge thanks to James, Denise, Dale, David and Victoria for bringing their talents and expertise to Portlaoise College, it’s a wonderful experience for all involved," he said. MORE BELOW PIC.

Pat Wallis is the Co-ordinator of the LOETB Local Creative Youth Partnership.

"LOETBs Local Creative Youth Partnership are delighted to have partnered with Music Generation Laois and Music Generation Offaly-Westmeath to support an after-school music programme across Laois and Offaly.  At the core of this work is identifying children and young people’s voices, their requirements, and needs, for the delivery of a creative programme," he said.

Music Generation is Ireland’s National Music Education programme, initiated by Music Network, and co-funded by U2, The Ireland Funds and The Department of Education. Locally Music Generation Laois is part of Laois Offaly Education and Training Board, and supported by Laois County Council. 

To find out more about Music Generation Laois, see


To continue reading this article for FREE,
please kindly register and/or log in.

Registration is absolutely 100% FREE and will help us personalise your experience on our sites. You can also sign up to our carefully curated newsletter(s) to keep up to date with your latest local news!

Register / Login

Buy the e-paper of the Donegal Democrat, Donegal People's Press, Donegal Post and Inish Times here for instant access to Donegal's premier news titles.

Keep up with the latest news from Donegal with our daily newsletter featuring the most important stories of the day delivered to your inbox every evening at 5pm.