The Mobile Music School is 10 years old!
We’re delighted, proud and excited to declare that the Mobile Music School is 10 – yes we have hit double digits!
We decided to sit down with our Managing Director Shay and ask him a few questions why and how the company came about plus lots of other things.
Q – Why did you start the Mobile Music School?
I had a vision to bring music classes to life and make sure that our classes were interactive, educational and fun while giving children and young people in schools and other educational settings the opportunity to learn about music but in a way that felt like a game or an activity as opposed to a class that felt like school!
Q – How did you come up with the idea?
When I was in 5th year in secondary school, the idea first came to me . I went to St Aidan’s in Whitehall. I chose not to do transition year and went straight from 3rd year to 5th year. One day, I was going into 5th year maths, across the corridor was the music room and I saw this guy bringing african hand drums into the school. At the time I played drums and percussion so what I saw grabbed my attention. I remember thinking “I didn’t know drumming in school was a thing”. The concept was developed there and then. The class doing the drumming were the TYs so I was raging I didn’t do TY!
The idea was then verified I guess when I was in St Pats where I did an arts degree and did a major on music performance and music education. At the time I was more or less gigging full time and missing a lot of college. My lecturer John O’Flynn knew I was a bit disillusioned at the academic side of things as I was more of a performer. Once day he said “Shay, do you have any idea how big a component percussion plays in the primary school music curriculum?”. After he asked me that question I realised the concept I came up with in secondary school was a runner. Within 2 years of that conversation with John the Mobile Music School was born!
Q – What was the first school the Mobile Music School worked in?
A friend worked in a school in South Dublin and was looking for somebody to come in and do some drumming classes with the children in the school. I went and I did that one myself. The children had a ball and I realized that the concept was brilliant and that it would work really well. It was the first cheque made out to “Mobile Music School” and was a really exciting moment!
Q – How did the company develop over the years?
After that first workshop I set about developing a team. Me being me I was quite particular about who joined us in the first year because I wanted really personable people to be representing us. Our first tutor was a really good friend, amazing musician and excellent teacher Cliona Malone! I remember when Cliona agreed to come and work with us and we were onto a winner because she was exactly who I needed to turn the “I” into “we” from there the team developed and year 1 we had 3 tutors – Cliona who did the classroom music stuff, Eoin who taught guitar & Aileen who taught piano!
Starting out in 2011 was probably the worst possible time as the IMF had been called into the country, Ireland was officially bankrupt and every possible bit of funding was cut. That said in 2011/ 12 we worked in 7 schools and by 2015/ 16 we worked in 100 schools. 2019/ 20 was set to be the busiest year. However, covid stopped that. So that makes 2019/ 20 the busiest year when we worked in 160 schools!
Q – What do you like the most about running the company?
Firstly people – I love people. I love talking to customers & I love watching my team develop as they do amazing things that continuously enable the Mobile music School to develop.
Secondly, the satisfaction I’ve gotten from turning an idea into a solid company that can stand on its own two feet! I love coming up with solutions to the challenges we get faced with as a company!
Q – How has Covid affected the business?
2019/ 20 was set to be a bumper year. We put in 18-24 months of work to make that a reality and we were up to all sorts of things behind the scenes. We realised our ambitions and then covid came – that was tough!
Covid has presented many positives too – it ensured we all quickly upskilled so as we were able to work remotely and deliver workshops and programmes via Zoom
We created one really cool workshop that means we can deliver a workshop to up to 480 pupils over a 2 hours time slot! It sounds crazy but it was brilliant and worked really well!
Covid demonstrated how much the schools and libraries we work in appreciate and value the work we do because many of whom were keen to continue with our classes either online or in person despite all of the challenges covid presented. We are so grateful to all of those people!
Q – What’s next for the Mobile Music School?
The next school year kicks off in September 2021. The theme within the Mobile Music School for 2021/ 22 is “collaboration”. By collaborating as a team and with customers we hope to get the volume of classes back to precovid levels, increase our online presence and become more connected as a team! I’m planning to bring my team zip lining!
We are also looking into other avenues but over the course of the next 12 months the primary aim to get the company back to the level is was at pre-covid.
Q – What’s the best way for people to find out about the Mobile Music School and the programmes they’re offering for 2021/ 22?
A good place to start is our website – www.mobilemusicschool.ie and then give us a call!