ICO Community and Education Programmes

Irish Chamber Orchestra’s innovative ICO Schools (formally Sing Out With Strings) programme has been providing free weekly music sessions for children in Limerick’s inner city since 2008. Evolving from a creative response to the City’s Regeneration programme and inspired by the El Sistema programmes, ICO Schools collaborates with national schools to provide over one hundred hours of weekly singing, song-writing and string instrumental sessions for every child to experience as part of the school curriculum.

Now in its 16th year, the programme teaches 350 children every week; it has seen over 3000 children write their own songs, perform at events in prestigious venues and festivals around the county and beyond making music an integral part of their lives.

ICO Youth (formally ICO Youth Orchestra) was established in 2018 following engagement with ICO Schools’ graduates and parents, identifying a pressing need for a sustainable continuous pathway for aspiring musicians aged 11-18 years to develop their skillset, musically and personally, through weekly orchestral practice and regular public performances.

What is ICO Teach?

‘ICO Teach’ presents a series of flexible, engaging and accessible online resources for teachers and learners to enjoy at school or at home. ICO Teach was developed in 2021 to scale the impacts of ICO Schools and ICO Youth by nurturing musical talent on a worldwide platform through free access to music lessons and demonstrations by ICO musicians.

With generous support from AIB and KKR, we have created and developed this website which is completely free to access. We want to offer every child the opportunity to learn music and to benefit from the expertise of ICO’s professional musicians. We hope teachers and students alike will be inspired by our site’s repertoire and ideas. Today, the site reflects a local, national and global userbase.

ICO Teach, ICO Schools and ICO Youth aims to continue to expand, strengthening communities within Limerick and inspiring a new generation of children to discover the transformative power of music. View our funders and partners here.

What resources are available?

  • Performances by members of the Irish Chamber Orchestra, filmed using three different camera angles which enables a broad level of visual detail to enhance learning.
  • Various levels of difficulty ranging from open stringed parts to basic position changes.
  • Sheet music which is downloadable.
  • Each orchestral part is available for all string instruments, making it ideal for a wide variety of learning situations and ensembles.

Other features include Irish Chamber Orchestra players answering frequently asked questions about their instruments.  They also demonstrate ways to extend learning and make each arrangement your own.

This website was made possible through seed funding from AIB and further developed with funding from KKR.