Peace Through Music Northern Ireland

In Northern Ireland Since 2004

Community Center Classes

Because the majority of children in Northern Ireland attend segregated schools and live in separate communities, we bring children from both sides of the community together through community center-based music classes and concerts. Socialization across secular and ethnic differences through shared activity is crucial to helping children build the common experiences and relationships which serve as a foundation for peace. Classes are currently based in two Belfast-area community centers: The An Droichead Irish Community Center and St. Vincent de Paul Afterschool Club. Our classes include

  • Beginning and Intermediate Harmonica
  • Beginning Drum
  • Singing

Community Center Staff Training

In keeping with our commitment to sustainable, locally-staffed programs, we are training community center staff and volunteers to conduct our children’s music classes and furnishing classes with free instruments. During their training, local staff teach alongside Liz, then continue center-based classes with the aid of local volunteers. Staff also receive free ukuleles in their second year in our program. We offer training in the following areas:

  • Reading, writing, and counting music
  • Beginning and advanced harmonica
  • Basic, intermediate, and advanced music pedagogy
  • Beginning, intermediate and advanced ukulele

Youth-Teacher Volunteer Program

Our PTMNI youth-teacher volunteer program follows the model of our highly successful Kosovo youth volunteer program. Person-on-person and random acts of violence are woven into the fabric of everyday life in Northern Ireland, and teenagers are especially vulnerable both to being victims of violence and to being lured into acts of violence. Our youth teacher volunteer program is focused on helping teenagers build their self-esteem, pride, and positive relationships with their own community, as well as to develop a personal commitment to peacemaking. Youth teachers also assist Liz and Community Center Staff in providing music instruction to PTMNI children. Training local youth volunteers allows us to teach more children in more locations. Belfast Youth Volunteers receive weekly training in these areas:

  • Reading, writing, and counting music
  • Singing
  • Playing harmonica and ukulele
  • Music pedagogy for children, including reading, counting, singing, and playing music
  • Lesson planning and reporting
  • Conducting
  • Tolerance and peace training

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Community Concerts

As in Kosovo, children participating in our community center programs come together to perform singing and instruments at free community concerts. These concerts serve not only as an important learning experience and confidence-builder for our children, but as a crucial opportunity for tolerant interaction among community members from differing religious background. The father of a child performing at a Belfast Shropshire Music Foundation concert told us: “I never thought that I would see my daughter become friends with Protestant children during my lifetime. It is amazing.”

Click through the slides below to see our Northern Ireland programs in action!