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Guitars for Kids

by Musical Youth Foundation
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Guitars for Kids
Guitars for Kids
Guitars for Kids
Guitars for Kids
Guitars for Kids
Guitars for Kids
Guitars for Kids
Guitars for Kids
Guitars for Kids
Kids throw surprise party for their guitar teacher
Kids throw surprise party for their guitar teacher

Greetings from Musical Youth Foundation HQ,

I hope you are keeping well and with the changing of the seasons have a spring in your step.

Firstly, I'd like to apologise for the short delay in issuing this report, I had hoped to bring you an update at the start of March. It's been a particularly hectic year so far as I push to bring the Musical Youth Foundation to another phase of its development. On top of this I've been moving house, or more accurately "house boat". Believe it or not I've actually just moved onto a 1928 M Series Canal Barge on the beautiful Grand Canal from where I will be working harder than ever to secure the vital support needed to keep our Guitars for Kids projects running and expanding.

Over the last few months there's been a huge amount of hard work going on behind the scenes. We've been working with a team of volunteers from Salesforce Ireland and are in the process of preparing to launch a brand new music festival which has been designed to showcase new music from emerging artists while also generating awareness and much needed funding for the Musical Youth Foundation. We’ve been working on this exciting project for a while now, we’ve finally picked a name for the festival…but more on that another time. Our aim is to create two major annual events that will cover the basic day to day costs while also allowing us an opportunity to offer our life-changing services to even more children.

We've also been working with Bank of Ireland as part of their Be Our Inspiration programme - funding secured from the bank is helping to keep one of our centres running for 12 months. We've also been running a nationwide call for instrument donations across 88 of the BOI branches around Ireland. We've had some lovely instrument donations which have been passed on to our various centres around the country where the kids can access them. Drums, guitars, keyboards and even a flute are among the many instruments donated by the public so far.

In the class room...

Lessons are on-going across all our Guitars for Kids programmes in Cork, Dublin, Galway, Kilkenny, Mayo and Offaly. We've increased the number of teaching hours in some of our centres due to some additional funding secured at the end of last year - not a huge amount but enough to double some teaching hours and give the kids additional lessons and practise sessions.

Feedback from our teachers remains very positive, below just one of the regular little updates I receive from our teachers around Ireland.

"The more advanced group are making good steady progress and starting to become proficient at chords and songs which has made them quite pleased with themselves. The newer group are coming along quite well, too.  Attendance has been high and consistent also, alongside the help from the centre has been making things go well overall!" - Kevin O'Byrne, Guitar Teacher

Students in our Offaly based Guitars for Kids programme had reason to celebrate recently as their much loved teacher, Katie Cassidy, won the Le Crunch Apple of My Eye Song Contest - the final of which was held in popular Dublin music venue Whelan's of Wexford Street last week. On hearing the news of their teacher’s success her students surprised Katie with a little celebration party at the next music lesson. She wasn't expecting anything but of course was moved by the lovely gesture. It's a sign of how wonderful a job she is doing to help these kids develop their musical abilities - I can't ever imagine throwing a party for any of my teachers back in my own schooldays, admittedly a long time ago now.

Special Congratulations from everyone at MYF to Katie - she's a valued member of our teaching team and we're really thrilled for her. Onwards and upwards!

Students from our St Andrew's project in Dublin are gearing up for a live performance at the end of April. We'll bring you news of how they get on in our next update.

Lessons and practise sessions continue weekly as normal across our other centres with 259 kids receiving weekly support, something we couldn't continue to do without your financial contributions.

Although 2016 was our strongest year to date, we can't pretend we had a good year - donations were few and far between leaving us under pressure to find the required funds needed to keep the project alive past the coming summer.

Now more than ever we need your support, with your help we can continue to make a life-changing difference to the lives of the kids we are helping. Remember, these kids would not have the opportunity to learn to play a musical instrument if not for you - that's the plain and very sad truth.

I'm never sure I'm the best person to convey the power music education has on the kids we help, I only hope you can deduct from my updates the vital role it plays in helping these young children reach their full potential.

If you can, please donate what you can afford via our Guitars for Kids project page right here on GlobalGiving.

Thank you!

As always, please don't hesitate to get in touch with any questions or queries you may have.


Young Rockers
Young Rockers
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Peacock Guitar (front) by Kevin McSherry
Peacock Guitar (front) by Kevin McSherry

Seasons Greetings from Musical Youth Foundation HQ,

I hope you are keeping well and looking forward to a happy and healthy Christmas and New Year!

Here at the Musical Youth Foundation we are more determined than ever to make 2017 our best year yet. We want to increase the number of vulnerable children we support through our life-changing music education programmes from 259 to 500 over the next few months, but we can't do it alone. In fact, without your support this is just a dream...your donation, no matter how small, will make the difference. Will you consider making a donation to our Guitars for Kids project?

As a Thank You for anyone that supports our project via GlobalGiving we're going to put your name in a draw for an exclusive piece of Instrumental Art created by renowned Irish artist Kevin McSherry. The Peacock Guitar was lovingly created by Kevin for the Musical Youth Foundation and features a beautiful Peacock on both the front and the back of the guitar, it is also a fully functional instrument.

Here's a little youtube video of Irish musician OWildYouth playing a song on The Peacock Guitar, enjoy!

To support our cause and be in with a chance of winning all you have to do is make a donation to our Guitars for Kids project via GlobalGiving making sure to include your name and contact details so if yours is the lucky name drawn we can contact you and make arrangements to deliver your prize.

All funds raised will be used to purchase new instruments and pay for weekly music lessons in our projects across Ireland.

To date we have projects in Cork, Dublin, Galway, Kilkenny, Mayo and Offaly supporting 259 children that otherwise wouldn't have the opportunity to benefit from learning to play a musical instrument. Music really does change lives and your donation will make a difference.

In closing I'd like to thank you again for your support to date and ask if you would consider helping by making another donation? If you've donated recently then perhaps instead you might share our GlobalGiving project with your network? The power of social media and word of mouth will help us to reach more supporters and to achieve our goal of helping every child access life-changing music education.

Wishing you a wonderful Christmas & New Year!


Peacock Guitar (back) by Kevin McSherry
Peacock Guitar (back) by Kevin McSherry
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Unwrapping my new guitar
Unwrapping my new guitar

Season's Greetings from Musical Youth Foundation HQ,

I hope that you're happy, healthy and looking forward to a wonderful holiday season! Hard to believe we're on the final countdown to Christmas 2016, it seems like only yesterday we were planning our Summer Guitars for Kids programme.  It's true what they say, time flies when you're having fun. We've been working very hard over the last few months to ensure we can continue to run and indeed expand our Guitars for Kids programmes.

With your invaluable support over the coming weeks we can bring our proven music education classes to even more vulnerable children in Ireland that otherwise wouldn't ever get the chance to benefit from all that music education has to offer.

Your support makes a real and lasting difference, donate now and help us change a young life for the better!

So what did we achieve together in 2016?

It has been a really great year with lots of achievements on our journey to provide every child in Ireland with access to life-changing music education classes. Your donations have meant we were able to provide 259 more children with access to our weekly Guitars for Kids classes. That's 259 children that without your support would never have had the opportunity to pick up a musical instrument. This year we have provided more than 646 hours of professional guitar classes, 1,292 practice session hours and dozens of new and used instruments including; guitars (acoustic, bass & electric), keyboards, electronic drum kits, trumpets, saxophones and violins to our Music Education Partners across Ireland. We've invested over €14,000. ($14,865.) on music education - that's almost 3 times more than we received in donations via GlobalGiving.

With one eye on the future and plans to further expand our education programmes in 2017 we've welcomed many new supporters into our growing family of Music Education Champions including: Ticketmaster, Litton Lane Studios, Universal Music, Tower Records, Celtic Collections and Bank of Ireland to name but a few.

We're also working with a team of dedicated staff from Salesforce Ireland to build an exciting music festival which will raise awareness and vital funds for the Musical Youth Foundation in 2017 and beyond. Stay tuned, we'll be revealing lots more news on this and other exciting projects in Q1 of 2017.

We've also almost completed version 1 of our Music Memory App which is being finalised by our partners at Steadfast Global and hope to release the first working version in the New Year.

Also this year we welcomed 6 new board members to our team, together we're working hard in the background to prepare the Musical Youth Foundation for further growth in 2017. We'll be posting details on our website very soon - just need to organise a little team photoshoot first.

All in all we've a lot to be thankful for as we approach the end of 2016. We really couldn't have achieved anything without your support, so please give yourself a big pat on the back because together we have changed the lives of 259 children, dramatically boosting their confidence and keeping them engaged with the overall education process - ensuring they can achieve a brighter future.

As our young students prepare for the annual Christmas shows in schools and community centres around Ireland we caught up with some of them to ask how they've been getting on. Here's what they had to say;

"I started the classes in January, it was hard and I wasn't sure I'd ever be able to play the guitar and now I'm rehearsing for the Christmas Show. I'll be on stage in front of friends and family in a couple of weeks actually playing the guitar. It is so exciting." - Dean, age 14

"I joined MYF in October (2015) and had no music talent. I'm in a band now, we're writing our own songs and practising every week and at weekends too. I sing and play the guitar. I love it." - Shelly, age 15

"I love the guitar, I never miss a class. I've made new friends and can play Jingle Bells and Silent Night already." - Aidan, age 10

We also welcomed some new teachers into our musical family, here's what they had to say:

"I'm thrilled to be a part of the Musical Youth Foundation. I love their mission and am honoured to be a part of it. Teaching the kids how to play the guitar is so rewarding for me as a teacher. They're so keen to learn, they really appreciate the opportunity they've been given by the MYF. We've got some stars of the future on our hands too I reckon." - Greg, Guitar Teacher

"It's a really super education programme. Watching the young people as they develop is very rewarding for me as a teacher." - Sara, Guitar Teacher & Singing Coach

Great to get such positive feedback from everyone involved with the project. Over the coming weeks our students will be performing a variety of Christmas Shows for friends and family. Stay tuned to us here on GlobalGiving or follow us on Facebook or Twitter to keep up to date with developments. We'll be posting plenty of pics and video snippets so you can see the impact of your support.

As always if you have any questions or queries please don't hesitate to contact me - I'm always available to you our valued supporters.

Peace and good wishes,


First day at Guitars for Kids in Dublin 12
First day at Guitars for Kids in Dublin 12
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MYF Kids Mayo - Performance Day
MYF Kids Mayo - Performance Day

Greetings from Musical Youth Foundation HQ,

As usual it has been a busy summer backstage at Musical Youth Foundation HQ. While the kids are all on summer break, there's always plenty to keep us busy with all the end of term feedback to review from teachers, students and our Guitars for Kids Music Education partners. We're constantly reviewing our music programmes to make sure we're on the right track and giving the young people the best chance to succeed.

End of term feedback...

I'd like to share just a quick sample of what we get back to give you an idea of what our teachers and students are telling us;

Q: Has the project had an impact on the participants? (please give examples)

"Most definitely. It's amazing. There is a marked increase in the children’s confidence in their own ability, increase in their ability to perform in front of others, increase in musical ability, increase in self-esteem and self-belief, improved behaviour and participation in academic lessons also.It's great to be a part of it all." - Tracy, Guitar Teacher

"They loved experimenting with different rhythms and tunes that they composed themselves – I was surprised by how quickly they took to it. Only one girl dropped out towards the end due to poor energy levels. There is a high demand for places with many more children waiting to get involved. These children would not have had the opportunity to access guitar lessons out of school so it’s really great for them." - Katie, School Principle

Q: General Feedback: (please share any other thoughts or feelings you have in relation to the project)

"It’s a fantastic project – so grateful to have been able to introduce it to this school. It is great to see the children engaged in learning a new skill. A great success so far and we’re so thankful for being included in it.” - Maeve, Youth Worker

Q: How could the project be improved?

"The project worked well as all young people were at the same level beginning. The session times worked well also the numbers and content. In my opinion in relation to the children here and this centre the programme worked well and has little need for improvement , as it has introduced these young people to an instrument at a young age and without the barrier of expense which would have been a hindering factor for most if not all of our service users." - Conor, Youth Centre Manager

Q: How did you feel about being part of the Guitars for kids programme?

"Loved it a lot. I was always listening to music on the radio and playing air guitar in my room when my brothers weren't around to tell me to stop acting the ejit. Now I'm actually playing an actual guitar and they're something for us. haha I can't wait for the summer to be over and get back to it now." - Adam, age 13

"Yeah it's deadly but it would be better if the lessons didn't stop during the summer but I'll keep practising and the teacher has given me loads of chords to work on so I guess its not to bad." - Sarah, age 12

Well that's just a snapshot of what's being said. We're going to try and put it all together and make it visible online at some stage because keeping you, our valued supporters, informed is also important to us. We want you to be sure we're putting your investment in us to good use. With that in mind, if you've ever got a query don't forget you can always get in touch - we're always happy to answer any questions you may have.

Fundraising is never far from our minds. After all without vital funds we wouldn't be able to continue supporting children, that otherwise wouldn't get the opportunity, with access to life-changing music education classes.

Improving times...

We've still got a long way to go but I'm delighted to report that things are slowly starting to pick up. We've noticed a change in attitude as businesses seem to be in a better position to offer support now than they have been over the last number of difficult years. We're currently talking to a number of high profile brands about how they could get involved and make a real and lasting difference to the lives of some of Ireland's most vulnerable children. As usual, we've got some really exciting projects in the pipeline. Can't say too much just now but stay tuned as we will be revealing all over the coming weeks and months.

Champions of Music Education..

Our Champions of Music Education programme is up and running and over the coming few months we'll be asking businesses to invest just €500. (that's just €1.36 a day) in music education for kids. We're looking for 300 businesses to join the programme. In return for their support we're offering some exciting benefits including a limited edition framed Champions of Music Education certificate featuring Irish music icons. The original artwork was created by artist Aga Szot. We've already got some great brands on board - but we'll be sharing more news about that a little later in the year.  Most important though, is our desire to increase the number of young people we support to over 500 - that's a big challenge but we've always believed in dreaming big. It's what's got us this far along the road and we're sure it won't be too long before we reach our next target.

The new term...

All the young people are starting back to school now and can't wait for their guitar classes to start up again over the coming two weeks. We've been working with our Music Education Partners in this regard and are thrilled to be able to announce that we've even managed to find some funding which will allow us to increase the number of hours we provide in some centres. Hopefully, with your support, we'll be able to increase the number of lessons and young people across all our centres before the end of the year.

We're also working on improving how we tell our story, inspired by online tools from Global Giving and of course seeing first-hand what your investment in our projects is yielding for the young people involved. Expect to see more photos and videos of our young musicians in action over the coming months.

In the meantime, check out this little snippet of a song written by some of our students in Galway. The song is called Watermelon Man and we're going to record it professionally later in the year and might even see about releasing it via itunes and spotify etc.

A slice of Watermelon

Be warned though, I've been humming this on and off all summer! #CatchyTune

Thank you as always for your support, it really is making a difference!

Hugs, flowers and tears - end of term June 2016
Hugs, flowers and tears - end of term June 2016
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Guitar group showing off their Certificates
Guitar group showing off their Certificates

Greetings from Musical Youth Foundation HQ,

A very grandiose sounding introduction indeed but I should point out that our Headquarters are basically wherever I can get a power source for my laptop and a Wi-Fi connection. Usually this means working from home, which can be challenging to say the least but today it means working from a local coffee shop, just a stone’s throw from the mouth of the River Liffey in Dublin. The buzz and atmosphere is a welcome change from my small apartment.

As usual the last few months have been completely hectic and as I sit down to write this update for you I am wondering where all the time goes!? It seems like only last week I was preparing for the start of the new school year and now here we are in June and I’m compiling end of term reports and planning for the new term in September. (Planning on where I’ll source the funds to keep classes going mostly.)

My grandmother always used to say to me “time flies when you’re having fun” so I guess I must be having a lot of fun, although it doesn’t always feel like that when you’ve exhausted every option and still don’t have the funds to help all the kids that currently don’t have access to Education Equality.

Fundraising frustrations aside I’m happy to report that we are making slow but steady progress and that is surely something to be proud of. We’re moving forward, creating new partnerships, forging new alliances and generally preparing to take our project to the next level. Over the coming weeks and months I will reveal more details as the time comes to show the world what we’ve been working on. Exciting times ahead for sure!

Next up will be the launch of our “Champions of Music Education” fundraising drive which has been designed to secure a basic level of funding for the Musical Youth Foundation to do its work and plan for the medium to long-term future instead of having to firefight for fundraising all the time. Our goal is to help a minimum of 500 young people over the next 18 months. Over the last few weeks we’ve been working with a very talented artist based in Dublin to create an exclusive artwork which will be given as a limited edition framed print to our “Champions of Music Education” in recognition of their support. Ah but I’m getting ahead of myself, all will be revealed in good time!

In the classroom…

Our Guitars for Kids programme is really flying now. We’ve got 17 programmes running every week in locations across Ireland. Over 200 students ranging in age from 8 to 16 are benefiting from our successful music education programme on a weekly basis. As lessons finish up for the summer holidays students are busy preparing for end of term performances. It’s great to see how excited and motivated they all are. I’ve been fortunate to be able to visit all the centres and present Certificates of Achievement to the young people on your behalf. You can see the pride in their eyes as they look over their personalised certs….many of these kids don’t get much encouragement never mind an award in recognition of their effort over the last year. I already know this will help to keep them focused on what more they can achieve next term.

With your support we’ll provide over 1600 hours of professional lessons and 3200 hours of practise sessions by the time this year draws to a close. Confidence is sky high and the results are evident outside of the music lessons as the young people engaged with our programme are demonstrating improved academic results.

In short your donation is helping us to do all this and in areas where without your support these young people would be surrounded by nothing but misery. To give you an idea of the surroundings many of our young people are growing up in we have 3 centres helping over 40 children all within 5 minutes’ walk of where 5 out of 7 recent gangland murders have taken place in the last couple of months alone.

As I walk the streets of Dublin 1 where we operate a number of Guitars for Kids programmes I pass dirty streets littered with human excrement (sorry, but I’m really not exaggerating) and overflowing litter bins. In the last week alone I’ve seen old fridges dumped on the side of the road along with a variety of other odds and ends that people just discard on the side of the road…someone else’s problem now I imagine they think though in truth people prepared to dump their rubbish on a public street where young people are growing up probably don’t give much thought to anything outside of their own self-interest. I regularly see drug dealers selling to junkies in the open, making no secret of their activity and I wonder how all this impacts on the young people who are growing up around these mean streets of Dublin City!? I’m talking about an area that is between 5 and ten minutes from the very heart of Dublin. It’s no wonder many young people get sucked into anti-social behaviour and much worse in some cases. I’d say it is a miracle if you can avoid such things when growing up around such deprivation.

It’s not all doom and gloom though, there are many wonderful things happening in these and other communities and the Musical Youth Foundation is having a real and lasting positive impact and that is with thanks to YOU! Seriously, without your donations all we have is a wonderful idea but it is your donations that make it possible for us to deliver our programme to hundreds of vulnerable young children in Ireland and make a world of difference to their lives.

What the kids say…

I got chatting with some of the young people that recently finished their lessons for the summer and here’s what they had to say;

“I never thought I’d be sad to see the summer holidays but I’m really gonna miss my guitar group.” – Layla, age 14

“Deadly, I never got an award for anything before. Maybe my Ma will stick it up on the fridge.” – Rob, age 11

I’m gonna practise all summer long and master all the chords in time for September.” – Luke, age 15

“Really love doing the performances, it makes me want to do more and better.” – Kate, age 12

Instrument Bank

While financial donations are what we need most of all to keep the show on the road we’ve been lucky to get many instrument donations too. All working instruments are distributed amongst our partner community centres, youth groups and schools around Ireland where the young people can try them out and if they like them they can take them home to play and practise with. I recently presented a young African girl with her very own guitar…having recently moved here under difficult circumstances she has never had her own guitar but was attending a local centre and getting some one on one lessons with a youth worker. She was in tears when I gave her the guitar. She eventually was able to explain that she loves music and playing the guitar helps to distract her from missing her family and friends back home. Not having a guitar of her own meant practise was restricted to the times she could visit the centre for lessons…now she can practise whenever she likes.

That’s all for now, I’ll have more news and updates for you in the coming months. As always, thank you for your help and support so far and please don't hesitate to contact me with any questions you may have!

Peace and best wishes,
Guitars for Kids Group - Cork
Guitars for Kids Group - Cork
Very Happy Students in Galway
Very Happy Students in Galway


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Organization Information

Musical Youth Foundation

Location: Dublin - Ireland
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @RightToMusic
Project Leader:
Chris Maher
Dalkey, Dublin County Ireland
$5,400 raised of $35,000 goal
69 donations
$29,600 to go
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