Ballyfermot Senior College is teaching song writing, performance and how to survive in the music business.

Getting into the music business can be a hard slog, and those who succeed will often admit to making many mistakes along the way. A pioneering post Leaving Certificate course hopes to help the next generation of musicians avoid the many pitfalls encountered by those who have gone before them.  

Taoiseach Charles Haughey officially opened Ireland and Europe’s first full time course in rock music today. The Taoiseach said that he believed the entertainment business had huge employment potential for Ireland.  

The course is divided into practical and theory sections. Students learn theory, business and song writing in the classroom, and music lessons and all aspects of performance in the college’s studios and performance areas.  

Student Hugh Lehane refutes the premise that school and the music world do not mix,

I wanted an insight into the business of the rock n roll industry, and I have learned loads since I’ve come here. 

All students are in bands or perform solo, and are now picking up all sorts of useful information. For Paul McQuillan, health and safety is one thing that had not occurred to him when planning a gig, 

A lot of people have been killed through faulty will save you from worrying about things like that, you can be prepared and expect them.

Students also gain hugely from the experience and wisdom of their lecturers, all of whom have been involved in the business. Moving Hearts percussionist Matt Kelleghan is hopeful for the class of ’89,

It’s like any business, you can go out there and there mightn’t be a job for you. But hopefully they won’t lose the enthusiasm for playing.

Gerry O’Beirne, himself a singer, composer and songwriter, also teaches on the course. His advice for songwriters is

Make it as clear and simple as you can.

This report for ‘Newsline’ was broadcast on 10 March 1989.  The programme presenter is Theresa Mannion and the reporter is Eileen Magnier.