The Cork Academy of Music is a Music and Arts Centre situated in the Griffin Burke Building on the North Monastery Campus.

Cork Academy of Music Ltd was established as a voluntary initiative in 1994 to fill a social need on the north side of cork city and to provide an access route to music education for people who are socially economically or culturally disadvantaged.  The Cork Academy of Music was largely brought about by a high degree of voluntary commitment from the Cork Academy of Music’s Board of Management, the support of State funding under SOLAS and the Cork Education Training Board. The Cork Academy of Music was created to give people the opportunity to study music using music as a tool for social inclusion.

The holistic model employed has proved to be hugely successful in providing a foundation and access programme in music education, music notation and the playing of musical instruments. Community Education has a strong ethos and has the capacity to reach large numbers of participants, frequently in disadvantaged settings; pioneer new approaches to teaching and learning in non-hierarchical, community-based settings taking the lived experience of the participants as a starting point.

Cork Academy of Music provides opportunities to people of all ages and all abilities with access to a wide range of musical styles irrespective of their background at all levels in both formal and informal settings. Participants in Academy programmes ages range from 8 years of age to 80 plus years.

A comprehensive range of full and part time courses are available in the Academy and in outreach programmes. Daytime courses are non fee paying and no points are required.

Courses catering for young adults aged 16 to 35 include two full time Local Training Initiatives at levels 4 and level 5 which run for a duration of 44 weeks from October to August, depending on applicant’s personal circumstances they may be entitled to a training allowance for these courses.

For long term unemployed adults aged 21 years upwards there is a full time Community Employment Scheme which runs for 52 weeks.

For people looking to return to education that need a more flexible course that suits their lifestyle and family commitments there is a part time Back to Education Initiative available that runs for 30 weeks.

Outside of the above day time courses the Academy also cater for a number of groups that are open to all members of the community in the afternoons and evenings that meet once or twice a week. Community groups include a drama ensemble, an appreciation of Irish music group, an age friendly group that caters for senior citizens and an inclusive music awareness group that caters for people with intellectual disabilities and autism. These community groups perform in public on a regular basis.

Academy outreach programmes in partnership with Music Generation Cork City also provide access to music to over 500 children in 8 locations across cork city including 6 primary schools and 2 community Hub settings.

Children involved in the outreach programmes gain access to a range of musical genres including Brass and Wind, Rock and Pop and Traditional Irish Music.

Lessons are provided within the school day at primary level and children are encouraged to participate in ensemble and rehearsals in groups outside of school time that lead to regular public performances.

Performances include the St Patrick’s Day Parade, May-Hum and the Glow Festival along with numerous in school and local community performances. Progression routes for children when they complete primary level are also available in 2 community hub settings.

The Academy’s work is supported by the Cork Education and Training Board, the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection and the Cork City Council.

Located in the Iconic Griffin Burke Building in the North Monastery Campus the Academy continues to grow from strength to strength.

The need for the work that the Academy carries out is still as necessary today as it was 25 years ago, in 1994 the academy engaged with an average of 24 students per week while today we engage with over 700 students of all ages in a wide range of settings on a weekly basis.

Since its foundation in 1994 the Cork Academy of Music has catered over 2,000 students who have successfully achieved national and  internationally recognised standards, through our external examination boards The Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music, Trinity College of Music London, The Rock School, London College of  Music and The Royal Irish Academy of Music. Many former students have progressed to further education and have successfully completed 3rd Level Education and a number of our past students have progressed to Post Graduate Level in Universities in Ireland. Former students of the Academy have returned as tutors on our programmes and significantly high numbers of past students have obtained gainful employment in the Music Industry.

The excellent results achieved by the Academy are an example of how, with non-exorbitant sums of money, people can reach their full potential with non-reliance on the structure and dependence of social assistance.