“deadly” craic at the Swan Youth Service
Laughter and banter can be heard between teacher and pupils at the guitar lesson in Swan Youth Service on Dunne Street, Dublin 1. Playing instruments donated by Dublin City Soul Festival’s charity the Musical Youth Foundation, the group are not only enjoying a new hobby but learning a skill that will stay with them for life.
Teacher Dave Mooney, a professional musician, relates the different chords and techniques to the gang by introducing them to rock ballads and classics like Elvis’ ‘Heartbreak Hotel’: “Tapping into their enthusiasm for music is great”, says Dave “And I can see their confidence building each week.”
Indeed the benefits of playing musical instruments is the inspiration behind the Musical Youth Foundation. Set up by Chris Maher in 2009 as part of the Dublin City Soul Festival, the charity aims to make a positive impact in the local community. “It is known that playing music can improve performance in all areas of learning”, says Chris “As well as being great fun of course!”
Research has revealed that the benefits include better concentration, coordination, relaxation, patience and perseverance. Self-confidence is another factor and the group practice sessions are an opportunity to communicate and join in with peers.
The children at Swan Youth Service are certainly proud of their newly gained musical skills, listening to Dave’s instruction and swapping tips amongst themselves. I spoke to the gang as they strummed acoustic guitars at their Tuesday night practice session.
“It’s deadly!” says Sean Moloney. “Still learning,” adds Jade Flood “But I love it.” When I asked if anyone would like to be in a band, Darren Deans delighted answer is “Wherever it takes me!”
Seeing the camaraderie between the kids underlines the purpose of the Musical Youth Foundation. “The long term aim is to set up a Music Academy,” says Chris “I would like to see this grow into something really positive for Dublin, before rolling it out further a field.”
By Lorna Keating