Waltons Music for Schools Competition

A National Competition and Celebration of Music in Irish Schools


Waltons Music for Schools Competition YouTube Channel


• Are you a primary or post-primary school teacher or principal?

• Would you like to engage your students in a creative and original music project?

• Do you want to expand your school music resources
– or start a new school music programme?

• Would you like to see a music group from your school
perform in the National Concert Hall?

• Would you like the opportunity to win up to €3,000 worth of
musical instruments or equipment for your school?


• Then enter the Waltons Music for Schools Competition!


The Competition

Now in its fourth year, the Waltons Music for Schools Competition is a national competition and celebration of music in Irish schools. The competition awards a total of €10,000 worth of vouchers for musical instruments, accessories, books, music technology or PA equipment from Waltons Music, to be divided among six winning primary and post-primary schools, including two first prizes of €3,000 vouchers, and music groups from twelve finalist schools will have the opportunity to perform before their peers and distinguished adjudicators in the National Concert Hall on Monday, 11 May 2015!

To enter your school in the 2015 Competition, please send, by Friday, 13 February 2015, an entry form, photo and video of a single piece or song, performed by an instrumental, vocal or mixed group from your school (maximum 45 performers), that in some way addresses the Competition theme of ‘Why Music’. It can be in any musical style or combination of styles – classical, popular, traditional, jazz, etc. – and can be performed by any combination of singers or instrumentalists you choose. Anything goes!

This is an opportunity for you to work with any combination of students to develop a creative and original musical project that has learning potential at every stage of the process.

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Comments about the Competition

2014 Finalists

'To win this competition has truly been a dream come true. The Waltons Music for Schools Competition has been such an uplifting and positive experience for the students and teachers involved in Borris Fusion. Blending the genres of Pop, Rock, Rap, Classical, Traditional Irish Music and Voice brought about an opportunity for students from First year to Fifth year to collaborate, work hard and bond in a most remarkable way. This exposure to music fusion has provided a platform for each student to broaden their educational experience and complement their classroom lessons. It has been a thoroughly worthwhile experience, and I recommend this competition and process to every school and music department in the country.'
– Ciarán Somers, Teacher, Borris Vocational School, 2014 Post-Primary Winner

'Participation in the Waltons Music for Schools project has brought our pupils to a musical place, both physically and emotionally, that we never dreamed we could reach. It made us go beyond what we thought was our best effort, and found a creative musical niche for every child involved.'
– Joan Mc Namara, Teacher, Knockanean National School, 2014 Primary Winner

‘It was a privilege for a school such as ours to be on stage there, a once-in-a lifetime experience for many of those involved. Of course, coming home with a prize was the icing on the cake but the preparation, enthusiasm and excitement of the children over the whole event was a joy to us all.’
– Maire Nic Gairbhe-Uí Bhaoill, Príomhoide, Gaelscoil Adhamhnáin, Leitir Ceanainn, Co. Dhún na nGall

‘The Waltons Music for Schools competition is without a shadow of a doubt one of the best events in the country at the moment. It allows students to perform in the most prestigious venue in the country, mix with so many other schools and most importantly it fosters a wonderful sense of creativity in students, allowing them to have an input into creating a performance and does not exclude any style. This sense of inclusivity makes preparing performances a pleasure with nobody being left out. To look around at 1200 people smiling cheering and singing during the interval act was certainly uplifting and it will be a memory never forgotten.’
– Cara Murray, Our Lady’s Secondary School, Castleblaney, Co. Monaghan

‘I thought excitement levels upon qualifying for the final could not be topped, but the entire experience on Monday was incredible. It was such a privilege to be a part of the Finalists Concert. The standard of talent was exceptional, and the concert was incredibly uplifting and beyond inspirational. I am left dumbfounded at the organisation it must take to put an event like this together…. I am not aware of any other such platform or opportunity for schools to showcase their musical work, and the open and all-encompassing nature of your competition is inspiring. From the bottom of my heart I would like to thank you all for such wonderful work. It has been an incredible journey.’
– Niamh McCarthy, Lisheen National School, Skibbereen, Co. Cork

‘I can't describe how inspired we all were after the concert. It was such an uplifting event. The pupils were alive with ideas for next year in the bus on the way home. It has given us a huge boost and the pupils are walking the corridors as celebrities since. Sincere thanks to yourself and your team on organising the event and on giving the pupils this wonderful opportunity to play in such an amazing venue…. It is certainly a day we will remember forever, and we can only hope that in the future we may be so fortunate as to be involved again.’
– Aileen Kennedy, Bunscoil Loreto, Gorey, Co. Wexford

2014 Adjudicators

'Two things stood out in my mind during this superb display of talent at the NCH. The first was the tremendous lift to the spirit that comes from seeing so many young musicians, singers and dancers perform. The second was the ease and confidence with which they moved from traditional Irish music to classical to contemporary – it was truly music without boundaries and a credit to all involved.'
Bill Whelan, Adjudicator, 2014 Finalists Concert

'I would like to congratulate all the young people on the stage today. It is really inspiring for me to see the truly excellent work that you have made, and what is most palpable is the passion oozing from every note, move and nuance. Outstanding to me also are your teachers. Thank you for being such wonderful catalysts in this beautiful event. Without a doubt my head is fizzing. Thank you, thank you, thank you.'
Julie Feeney, Adjudicator, 2014 Finalists Concert

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The value of music and music education is undisputed. Numerous international studies* have shown that music instruction and active music making supplies intellectual, emotional and physical components critical to young people’s development. Yet despite the acknowledged results of these studies and the recent Department of Education and Skills music curriculum guidelines for primary schools, Ireland still has a school system where many young people have little exposure to music making of any kind. The Waltons Music for Schools Competition thus offers a unique opportunity for primary and post-primary schools to kick-start or develop their own music programmes.

(*For more information and specific studies on the benefits of music education, see the Why Music? page on the Waltons New School of Music website.)

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Julie Feeney, Bill Whelan and Aideen Walton present the First Prize, Post-Primary Schools trophy and certificate
to Ciarán Somers (teacher) and Declan Quirke (student) of Borris Vocational School, Co. Carlow on Monday, 12 May 2014.


The following prizes will be awarded to three primary schools:

  • First Prize Trophy and €3,000 voucher (may be applied towards musical instruments, accessories, books or recording/PA equipment) for Waltons Music, as well as advice and assistance in setting up and/or developing the school’s music programme.
  • Second Prize Trophy and €1,500 voucher for Waltons Music
  • Third Prize Trophy and €500 voucher for Waltons Music

The following prizes will be awarded to three post-primary schools:

  • First Prize Trophy and €3,000 voucher (may be applied towards musical instruments, accessories, books or recording/PA equipment) for Waltons Music, as well as advice and assistance in setting up and/or developing the school’s music programme.
  • Second Prize Trophy and €1,500 voucher for Waltons Music
  • Third Prize Trophy and €500 voucher for Waltons Music

All performers in the Finalists Concert will also receive individual Finalist Certificates.

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All primary and post-primary schools, as well as special schools, recognised by the Department of Education and Skills in the Republic of Ireland, are eligible to enter this competition. It is not necessary for schools to have existing music programmes in place to enter, and we encourage schools without programmes to participate.

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Participating schools must submit the following materials:

  1. A completed entry form (see below).
  2. Either a DVD or an MPG, AVI or MOV video recording* of a single ensemble piece or song (no more than five minutes long) performed by an instrumental, vocal or mixed group of no more than 45 students, all of whom must be current students at the school. The piece or song can be in any musical style (classical, traditional, rock/pop, musical theatre, jazz, world, etc.) and can be existing or original, but it should in some way address the theme of ‘Why Music?’ – that is, the importance of music in our lives. Possible groups include: choir (with or without instrumental accompaniment), instrumental ensemble, band, traditional group, school musical group, etc. The video must be prepared specifically for the Competition; videos of school concerts or other events are not acceptable.
  3. A JPG photograph of the performing group.

(*While some schools have adequate video recording equipment to create their video entries, others may not. For this reason Waltons Music is offering all schools participating in this year’s Competition a 20% discount off Zoom Q4 Video Recorders, purchased either from Waltons or from participating retail shops around the country (see table below). If you would like to avail of this discount for your school, please contact us and we will send you a voucher to use when purchasing your video recorder. Only one voucher per school.)

Schools may enter more than performing group, but each should be submitted separately, along with its own video, photograph, entry form and information.

Initial entries are judged in three areas:

  1. Musicality, presentation and originality of their performance. Special attention will be paid to the inclusiveness of the performance – range of abilities and/or different ages that are involved.
  2. Ambition, imagination and clear goals/intentions for starting or developing a music programme in the school.
  3. The school’s resources and how imaginatively it uses them.

Entry forms are available to download below.

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Sending Your Entry

Since video files can be quite large to send by email, we strongly recommend that you use a file sharing service such as wetransfer to send them, although they can also be emailed directly to:


Although file sharing or email is preferred, we also accept entries and materials posted to:

Waltons Music for Schools Competition
Waltons New School of Music
69 South Great George’s Street, Dublin 2

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The Process

After all entries are received, a shortlist of twelve Finalist schools (six primary and six post-primary) will be chosen by our judging panel. Music groups from the twelve Finalist schools will perform in the National Concert Hall before their peers and distinguished adjudicators, and the six winning schools will be announced at the concert. Tickets for the concert are free, and each Finalist school will be given an allocated number of tickets to distribute.

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Past Finalists Concert Adjudicators

  • 2012 Carl Corcoran (RTÉ lyric fm), Deborah Kelleher (Director, Royal Irish Academy of Music)
  • 2013 Ellen Cranitch (RTÉ lyric fm), Dónal Lunny
  • 2014 Bill Whelan, Julie Feeney

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2015 Competition Calendar

  • Friday, 13 February 2015 Entry deadline
  • Friday, 20 March 2015 A shortlist of twelve Finalist schools (six primary and six post-primary), chosen by our judging panel, is announced. Finalist school videos are posted on the Music for Schools Competition YouTube channel.
  • Monday, 11 May 2015 Schools travel from all over Ireland to perform in the Finalists Concert at the National Concert Hall, and their performances are judged by two prominent musicians/educators (to be announced). The six winning schools are announced after the concert.

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Presented by

The Waltons Music for Schools Competition is presented by Waltons Music and Waltons New School of Music.

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Entry Forms

Entry forms are in pdf format and require Adobe Reader. They can be printed directly and filled out by hand. Alternatively, you can save an entry form to your computer, then open it in Adobe Reader and fill it out as follows:

  1. Click on the 'Sign' tab on the upper right. A new menu will appear below.
  2. Click on 'Add Text', place the cursor on the lines where you want to type and fill in the form.

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Terms & Conditions

  1. All primary and post-primary schools, as well as special schools, recognised by the Department of Education and Skills in the Republic of Ireland are eligible to enter this competition.
  2. All entries must include a contact name (school principal, music co-ordinator or teacher) for all correspondence relating to the competition, and must be signed by the school principal.
  3. Prizes will consist of trophies and vouchers for purchases of products from Waltons Music, as follows:
    Primary schools: First Prize €3,000, Second Prize €1,500 and Third Prize €500
    Post-primary schools: First Prize €3,000, Second Prize €1,500 and Third Prize €500
  4. Vouchers are non-exchangeable and non-transferable and may only be applied towards musical instruments, accessories, books, recording or PA equipment from Waltons Music. Vouchers will not apply to products already on sale or at special discounts, and may not be exchanged for cash.
  5. There is a maximum of 45 students in each performing group, and all students performing in submitted video recordings must be current students in the entrant school and available to perform, if the school is chosen as a finalist, in the National Concert Hall on the date chosen for the Finalists Concert.
  6. Other audio recordings, videos and/or photographs of music activities that have taken place at your school will also be accepted as part of the submission but are not essential.
  7. Finalist schools may be asked to provide evidence and verification of such activities.
  8. Participating schools and their entries may be used by Waltons Music, Waltons New School of Music and/or RTÉ lyric fm in publicity relating to the competition. Their names, entries, recordings and/or photographs may be featured on RTÉ lyric fm, the competition web pages, and/or other media.
  9. The initial judging panel will consist of representatives of Waltons Music, Waltons New School of Music and RTÉ lyric fm. The judges' decisions will be final.
  10. Although Second and Third Prize winners are eligible to enter the competition again next year, First Prize winners are not eligible to enter for the next two years.

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Participating Retail Shops Stocking Zoom Video Recorders

County Shop Address Phone
Carlow The Music Vault 4a Hannover Court, Kennedy Avenue, Carlow (059) 914 2771
Cavan Musicman Unit 2, Loughtee Business Park, Drumalee Cross (049) 433 2131
Clare Custy’s Music Shop Francis Street, Ennis (065) 682 1727
Cork Pro Musica 20 Oliver Plunkett Street, Cork (021) 427 1659
Cork Tom Baylor Music 3 Newmarket Street, Fermoy (025) 31012
Donegal Bredin’s Music Cooley, Moville (074) 938 2130
Donegal Reynolds of Letterkenny Station Roundabout, Letterkenny (074) 910 2222
Donegal Reynolds of Raphoe Raphoe (074) 910 2222
Dublin Goodwins 134 Capel Street, Dublin 1 (01) 873 0846
Dublin Jimi's Music Store Unit 2b, Ballymount Drive, Walkinstown, Dublin 12 (01) 456 9586
Dublin Monastery Music Monastery Road/Main Street, Clondalkin, Dublin 22 (01) 464 3389
Dublin Music Minds 33 Lower Liffey Street, Dublin 1 (01) 872 0233
Dublin Music Outlet Chapel Lane, Swords (01) 870 0999
Dublin Perfect Pitch 35 Exchequer Street, Dublin 2 (01) 677 1553
Dublin Sound Gear South Richmond Street, Dublin 2 (01) 475 5794
Dublin Waltons Music 69 South Great George's Street, Dublin 2 (01) 475 0661
Dublin Waltons Music Blanchardstown Centre, Dublin 15 (01) 960 3232
Galway Modern Music Corn Stores, Middle Street (091) 563113
Galway Powell & Sons Four Corners, 15 William Street, Galway (091) 562295
Kerry Hugh Culloty & Co. 28 The Mall, Tralee (066) 712 4909
Kerry Soundz of Music 9 Henry Street, Kenmare (064) 664 2268
Kerry Variety Sounds College Street, Killarney (064) 663 5755
Kildare Ambrose Donegan 30 North Main Street, Naas (045) 876497
Kildare Jam Music Company 56 South Main Street, Naas (045) 883788
Kildare K ‘n' B Music Unit 2, Main Street, Maynooth (01) 629 3320
Kildare Musico Hibernian Building, Charlotte Street, Newbridge (045) 431662
Kilkenny Broderick’s Music Store New Mill Lane, Kilkenny (056) 776 5401
Kilkenny Essaness Music 1 Kieran Street, Kilkenny (056) 776 5693
Laois Anthem Music 59 Main Street, Portlaoise (057) 866 2188
Laois Eamon Donegan Electrical Market Square, Portlaoise (057) 862 1838
Limerick Future Sound & Vision Newtownmahon House, Mulgrave Street, Limerick (061) 207955
Limerick Savins Music Centre 111 O’Connell Street, Limerick (061) 414095
Louth Beat It Music Main Street, Blackrock (042) 932 1700
Louth B Sharp Music Unit 11, Williamson Mall, Dundalk (042) 935 1903
Louth Sound Shop Ireland East Coast Business Park, Matthews Lane, Drogheda (041) 983 1078
Mayo Collins Music Shop Castle Street, Castlebar (094) 902 8668
Mayo The Music Store Linen Hall Street, Castlebar (094) 902 6166
Meath MG Music 22 Brews Hill, Navan (046) 902 3932
Offaly Tullamore Sound Centre Harbour Street, Tullamore (057) 935 1575
Sligo The Record Room Grosvenor House, Grattan Street, Sligo (071) 914 3748
Tipperary Danny Ryan Music Shop 20 Bank Place, Tipperary (062) 51128
Tipperary Premier Music Store O’Connell Street, Clonmel (052) 612 9811
Waterford Ben O'Neill Music Shop O'Connell Street, Dungarvan (058) 41933
Waterford John Palmer Music Centre 7 George’s Street, Waterford (051) 879333
Westmeath Midland Sound 10 Castlemaine Street, Athlone (090) 647 5418
Westmeath Rochforts 40 Dominic Street, Mullingar (044) 934 0626
Westmeath Sound Factory Upper Irishtown, Athlone (090) 647 8983
Wexford Making Music 47 Esmonde Street, Gorey (053) 948 4779
Wexford Trax Music Store Whitemill Road, Wexford (053) 914 6896
Wicklow Everest Music Unit 2, Raven Hall, Dargle Road, Bray (01) 286 1933
Wicklow Track One Fitzwilliam Square, Wicklow (0404) 67389

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© 2015 Waltons New School of Music
  • 69 South Great George's Street Dublin 2 Ireland 
  • Phone: +353 1 478 1884
  • Fax: +353 1 475 1346
  • Email: info@newschool.ie
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