Music Skills NI is an annual music competition with participants made up from the music departments of the major Further Education colleges in Northern Ireland: Belfast Met, NWRC (Derry), SRC (Armagh), SERC (Bangor) and NRC (North Coast). It was first conceived in 2012, and the hosting of the event passes around the colleges each year.
Help Musicians Northern Ireland is delighted to be the charity partner of this year’s event, which took place on 13 March 2018, hosted by the Southern Regional College at the Armagh Marketplace. Help Musicians NI supported the colleges by bringing together a panel of judges that inspired and encouraged the students.
Judging the Original Bands/Cover Bands/Singer-Songwriter competitions:
Ralph McClean (BBC Radio Ulster)
Brian Coney (The Thin Air)
Francesca O’Connor (Champion Sound Music)
Judging the DJ/Live Electronics/Sound Design competitions:
Marion Hawkes (GIRL / Ponyhawke)
Mairead Campbell (BBC Radio One)
Ryan Vail (Artist)
Francesca O’Connor, Artist Manager at Campion Sound Music, commented:
"It is a real privilege to be joining Help Musicians NI for this venture. I am so grateful for the support and guidance they have given me as I begin my own career in the music industry. The level of talent and ambition in today's younger musicians is inspiring and it is their evident commitment and passion for music that will help them succeed."
Mairead Cambpell, Producer / Presenter at BBC Radio One, added:
“It’s an honour to be on the judging panel and for me, recognising and nurturing local talent is vital. We have such talented musicians in NI and with support we can help them grow and reach their full potential. That’s what competitions like this are all about and I think it’s brilliant.”
Keith Millar, Development Manager at Help Musicians NI, said:
"Help Musicians NI is very pleased to be involved with Music Skills NI, run by Northern Ireland Further & Higher Education Colleges. The charity supports musicians at all stages of their career through health and welfare, creative programmes and campaigning, and Music Skills NI offers us the chance to engage with not just artists at the beginning of their careers, but also the educators who shape thinking and inspire creativity within these talented young people. By doing so, HMNI can strive to support emerging artists from early on and throughout their career, ensuring awareness of the charity’s offering throughout the development of an artist and positively influencing how our young creatives are prepared for a career within the music industry."