New return to music program for the over 55s

Catherine McEvoy.

Age Friendly Ireland and Music Network are looking for people aged 55+ to enroll in music lessons through a scheme based at Mullingar Library.

The invitation is for people living in counties Westmeath, Longford, Offaly, Laois and Roscommon and is about ‘Making Music in the Midlands: Music Network Teaching Residences’.

Sessions will be led by musicians Alec O’Leary (guitar), Angelina Carberry (banjo/mandolin/whistle), Dan Brouder (button accordion), Adele O’Dwyer (violin/viola/cello), Phil Robson (guitar) , Ciaran Wilde (saxophone/clarinet), Catherine McEvoy (flute) and Jacinta McEvoy (guitar/concertina).

The project focuses on getting back to playing an instrument and sharing the joy of making music in a group.

Applicants must be 55 or older, reside in one of the five counties above, and have previous music experience.

People living in all five counties can apply to participate in any of the residencies, but priority in each county will go to applicants from that county. The ability to read music is not essential.

To apply, visit or call Music Network on 01-4750224. Deadline for submitting applications: July 22 at 2 p.m.

The program runs in August and September, tuition is free and instruments will be provided if needed.

If demand is high, one of the residencies may be offered online to ensure that financial circumstances or lack of transportation are not barriers to participation. Technical support to enable e-learning will be provided to participants if needed.

For eight weeks, three individual lessons and two group lessons and two ensemble sessions will be delivered in each county. Two coffee sessions will also be organized per county to give people the opportunity to socialize and reflect on their musical journeys.

The project will end with two ensemble sessions per county, where the participants and their teachers will play together the music learned during the project. Spaces are limited to nine per county and priority will be given on a first-come, first-served basis.

Additional criteria will, however, be used for selection, including county of residence, availability of teaching slots, ability to participate in the full program and geographical distribution within the Midlands.

Midlands Teaching Residences are presented by Music Network and Age Friendly Ireland. Music Network is funded by the Arts Council of Ireland. The initiative is supported by Creative Ireland.

Residence details

Westmeath: Participants will receive individual and group lessons on traditional flute, guitar or accordion from Catherine McEvoy and Jacinta McEvoy between August and September 2022 at the Mullingar County Library.

Longford: Participants will receive individual and group lessons on the banjo, mandolin, whistle or button accordion from Angelina Carberry and Dan Brouder between August and September 2022 at the Ballymahon Library.

Offali: Participants will receive individual and group lessons in violin, viola and cello from Adele O’Dwyer between August and September 2022 at Tullamore Library.

Additional information about the five residencies (including key project dates) can be found at

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