Young library users in north Mayo can now pick up a trombone, flute or even a set of bagpipes from their local library thanks to a new rent-an-instrument scheme to be launched next Thursday.
Music Generation Mayo, which is part of a national music education programme partly funded by U2, has developed the North Mayo Music Instrument Bank in partnership with Mayo County Library Services and the arts section of Mayo County Council.
The music bank allows library users under 18 in Ballina and Belmullet to rent a range of instruments at a nominal fee, including strings, brass, woodwind and percussion, for up to six months at a time.
The idea of the music bank is to give more young people the opportunity to try out a new instrument and to make music education more accessible.
Tara Timlin, of Music Generation Mayo, said a similar music bank has been operating from Castlebar library since May 2013 and has been a great success.
“We are very happy with the way it has gone. Eighty per cent of the instruments are out on loan at any time,” she said. “It was always in the pipeline to roll it out in north Mayo and we are delighted to now be getting it up and running.”
The Voice UK contestant, Sharon Murphy, who moved singing legend Tom Jones to tears with her rendition of ‘Forever Young’ earlier this year, will be in Ballina Public Library to perform the official launch on Thursday at 6.30pm.
Ms Murphy will also perform at the event along with some of the recipients of Music Generation Mayo’s bursary scheme for exceptional music students.
Music Generation Mayo tutors will also be on hand to give demonstrations on some of the instruments available from the music bank.
To find out more about renting an instrument, contact Richard Hickey (Castlebar ) on (094 ) 9047921; Barbara Varley (Ballina ) on (096 ) 70833; or Kate Healy (Belmullet ) on (097 ) 82555.