Belfast School Of Music

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updated on 28/05/2020


Douglas Dawn was Belfast’s first Music Adviser, inaugurating in 1955 the City of Belfast Youth Orchestra whose earliest players included the young James Galway. It was not until a year after the appointment of Leonard Pugh as Music Adviser in 1964 that the City of Belfast School of Music was opened in Donegall Pass. Robin Hewitt, who had been a member of staff from the opening of the school retired as Principal Tutor in 2002 and was succeeded by Dr Joe McKee as the newly designated Head of the BELB Music Service until his retirement in December 2010. Initially there were three full-time teachers and some thirty part-time tutors whose aim was to provide high quality music teaching in schools, as well as providing advanced individual instrumental tuition in the evening Music Centre.

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From modest beginnings the School of Music has expanded to the extent that there are now 16 full-time teachers, with administrative and library support, and two hundred part-time tutors. Upwards of three thousand young people from all parts of the city are involved in the work of the School of Music and the BELB Music Service each week. The profile of music in schools has grown beyond even the most ambitious dreams of the earliest staff and the CBSM can look with immense satisfaction at hundreds of individuals involved in the music profession, the most celebrated being Sir James Galway, Professor David Strange, Kenneth Montgomery, Angela Feeney, Barry Douglas, Kevin Mallon, Peter Corry and Katie Melua.
In 2005 the School of Music celebrated its 40th anniversary with a splendid Gala Concert in the Waterfront Hall with Sir James Galway, while the City of Belfast Youth Orchestra has been training young players and providing public concerts at home and abroad for over 50 years. The role of the City of Belfast School of Music, an integral part of the Music Service of the Belfast Education and Library Board, is to ensure that as many young people as possible gain musical insights that will enrich their entire lives.
Above all, we want to encourage young people to enjoy music. We believe passionately that the process of learning to play a musical instrument or to sing offers immense benefits for children and young adults, not only in terms of educational development but also in regard to enhanced physical well-being, the promotion of personal skills and attributes, as well as wider social awareness.
Music School, Musicians, Tutors, Teachers, School, Music, Drums, Musical Education, Instrumental Teachers, Peripatetic Instrumental Service
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