Third Level Trad Courses: Do they have any discernable affect on the genre?
It’s around 14 years now since third level courses such as the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance in UL was set up to deal with trad and many other courses then sprang up either entirely dedicated to trad or at least having a module concentrating on it. This can be seen as a major breakthrough in the development of the tradition, as the primary focus of most of these courses is on trad performance. And, after a person choosing to do their only degree in trad music, it better be commercially viable trad performance, otherwise, they’re going to struggle to make ends meet. It’s all good fun at the time but what after fourth year when reality kicks in?
So my question is; with all the hundreds of students studying this new third level idea, are we seeing the production of super-stars as promised? or is the current system simply not working and with ample evidence to prove it.
I am aware of musicians like Sean Og Grahm of Beoga fame but in fairness, he was on the path to greatness before UL so people who have it in them like that don’t really count! So outside of the production of teachers, what is your opinion on the current state of the degree and masters programmes? If you’re a student, do you feel confident about the course and your future as a professional musician? If you’re a past pupil, what have you got out of it and where are you now? (not meant in a bad way) And for everyone else, do you think that the courses are of value to the tradition? Or a source of disillusion and waste of money….
Looking forward to hearing your opinions and hope that I’ve conveyed my opinion as objectively as possible.