An tAcadamh Ceoil

Music Bridge

Community Music Leadership Training Programme

Music Bridge is a multi-year training programme, employing the expertise of Musicians without Borders, an international non-profit organisation which uses music as a tool for peacebuilding and reconciliation in current and post conflict regions, in partnership with Cultúrlann Uí Chanáin, a pioneer in bringing a multi-ethnic approach to the exploration of arts and culture in the city of Derry-Londonderry. This project trains musicians and youth workers in the principles of community music, leadership and non violence as well as builds the capacity of local organisations to facilitate cross-community work, making a substantive contribution towards peacebuilding and reconciliation efforts in the region.


Danny Felsteiner Mekori (Lead Trainer)
Danny is a community music trainer and musician who has given workshops and trainings in the Middle East, Africa and Europe. From 2012-2014, he served as the project manager of Rwanda Youth Music for Musicians without Borders, setting up the project and training the first group of youth leaders affected by war and conflict.

Amanda Koser-Gillespie (Assistant Trainer)
Amanda is an ethnomusicologist, music educator, band director and performer. She is the founder and director of Second Line NI, which has introduced New Orleans jazz street performances known as ‘second lines’ to promote social cohesion through community music making in Northern Ireland. She also works closely with local community organisations and charities like Inter-Faith North/West, Active Citizens Engaged, the Foyle BME Forum, the Britannia Concert Band and St. Joseph’s Brass Band.

Josie Nugent (Music Coach)
Josie is an accomplished Irish folk musician, music educator and music therapist. She is an active committee member and creates and coordinates community music events, such as the Singing the Bridge festival and the Traditions of Ulster cross-community workshops.

Community Music Leadership – Year One Training:

Description: The year one training consists of four periods of four day intensive training sessions. The training offers an introduction to the principles of Musicians without Borders, training participants to work with vulnerable children/youth in the community as music workshop leaders.

To become a music workshop leader, as defined by Musicians without Borders, a trainee should gain skills in four aspects of leadership: pedagogical, didactic, musical and workshop leadership.

1. Pedagogical Skills

When addressing pedagogical skills, Musicians without Borders refer to the behaviour and attitude of the workshop leader. Good pedagogical skills lead to a higher emotional and social well-being, receptiveness, and feeling of safety. These are crucial in (post-) conflict areas.

The following pedagogical skills will be covered in the training:

  • Principles of non violent communication
  • Non verbal communication
  • Behaviour management
  • Group safety
  • Improvisation and creative leadership

2. Didactic Skills

The workshop leader uses didactic skills to transfer knowledge to and build competence in the group. This refers to the how. In a good pedagogical framework, didactic skills have a stronger effect.

  • The following didactic skills will be covered in the training:
  • How to introduce an activity
  • How to lead an activity
  • How to provide constructive feedback

3. Musical Skills

During a music workshop, the goal of Musicians without Borders is foremost empathy, and then musicality. Nevertheless, workshop leaders are expected to gain a certain level of musical skills during their training, in order to fully utilize the power of music so that they can nurture a culture
of non violence.

The following musical skills will be covered in the training:

  • Singing
  • Body percussion
  • Improvisation
  • Creative movement
  • Rhythm instrument techniques
  • Drum circle facilitation
  • Songwriting

4. Workshop Skills

These skills define all the preparations to carry out a workshop. This includes describing the structure and content of the workshop, ensuring the optimal conditions of the space, and making an inventory of the required materials.

  • The following workshop skills will be covered in the training:
  • How to select an appropriate activity
  • How to create and modify an activity
  • How to promote teamwork
  • How to structure a workshop
  • How to structure a series of workshops
  • How to structure an event


At the completion of the training, trainee participation will be evaluated by the Musicians without Borders trainers and the local music coach. Pending positive evaluation, they will receive a certificate and be qualified to work as MwB Community Music Workshop Leaders. Evaluation is based on trainee participation in training sessions, ongoing work in the community and mastery of required skill sets.

Selection Process:

As a prerequisite for participation, we require the following skill sets of trainees:

  • Musical background or familiarity with basic musical skills: good sense of rhythm (can play or clap different rhythmic figures, can sing (control of the voice), body-voice coordination (can sing and walk or move in time to the song);
  • Preferably: can play an instrument suited to accompany singing (i.e. guitar, accordion)
  • Leadership qualities: not afraid to step up to a challenge, good communicator, socially aware, good listener, capacity for empathy
  • Commitment: willing to learn, willing to invest in the community
  • Availability to participate in all required trainings, community workshops and supplementary events

Training Goals & Structure:

The goal of the training corresponds with the overall mission of Musicians without Borders, which is to use music to connect communities, bridge divides, and heal the wounds of war and conflict. There are three core values that we aim to convey during the training:

  • Cultivating a culture of non violence;
  • Increasing empathy among all participants;
  • Using music as an inclusive, all-embracing tool to bridge divides.

Interim Work:

Trainees are required to complete three workshops in the community in between each training period, in order to practice the skills introduced during each training. Examples of workshop placement sites include primary schools, community centres and programmes for youth with intellectual disabilities.

Community Music Leadership – Year Two Training

Description: The advanced training consists of eight intensive training days (four training periods of two days each) that deepens the principles of community music leadership and non violence for those graduated from the year one training.

The training will be supplemented by ongoing practical work assigned to the trainees, under the supervision of the music coach. Additionally, the trainees will have the opportunity to lead training activities and provide workshop supervision to first year trainees.

As a result, trainees will emerge as experienced community workshop leaders and trainee supervisors.

Through assuming local leadership roles, they will play an integral part in shaping the future direction of the Music Bridge programme. They may also be considered for assistant traineeships in Musicians without Borders’ projects worldwide.

Selection Process: Eligible participants are those who complete the first year training and receive certification by Musicians without Borders as Community Music Workshop Leaders. They must demonstrate a commitment to participate in all required training sessions and workshops.

Community Music Leadership – Year Three Training

Description: The final year of the three year trajectory will be comprised of two training sessions of two days each focusing on deepening community music workshop skills with the trainee’s target population of choice.

Each trainee will develop their own ‘mini-thesis’ in which they design a full length workshop with different activities and musical approaches. The trainee will implement this workshop throughout the training year, exploring various strands of development and variations according to the situation and context, and collecting data on the outcomes.

The trainee will benefit from one-on-one coaching from MwB trainers, culminating in a final workshop and paper presentation.

Selection Process: Eligible participants are those who complete the first and second year training and receive certification by Musicians without Borders as Community Music Workshop Leaders. They must demonstrate a commitment to participate in all required training sessions and workshops.

Training Courses

Year One Training:

Week 1: Nov 13-16 (9.00 am – 5.00 pm)

Week 2: January 29-Feb 1 (9.00 am – 5.00 pm)

Week 3: April 2-5 (9.00 am – 5.00 pm)

Week 4: May 21-24  (9.00 am – 5.00 pm)

Cost of Course: £350

Year Two Training:

Week 1: Nov 12-13 (9.00 am – 5.00 pm)

Week 2: January 28-29 (9.00 am – 5.00 pm)

Week 3: April 1-2 (9.00 am – 5.00 pm)

Week 4: May 20-21 (9.00 am – 5.00 pm)

Cost of Course: £175

Year Three Training:

Week 1: Nov 10-11 (9.00 am – 5.00 pm)

(no training weeks 2+3)

Week 4: May 18-19 (9.00 am – 5.00 pm)

Cost of Course: £87.50


Online booking now open, if you wish to register and make a part payment, please contact info@acadamhceoil.ie

Contact Us

An tAcadamh Ceoil / Traditional Music Academy

Cultúrlann Uí Chanáin
35 Great James Street, Derry, BT48 7DF

Contact Info

t: +44 (0)2871 363 365
e: info@acadamhceoil.ie


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