- 19 Jun 20
The CAO ‘Change of Mind’ deadline is fast approaching, but it’s not too late to look around at your options. At Dun Laoghaire Further Education Institute, there are several music-centred courses on offer for school leavers and reskilling adults alike.
On July 1, the CAO’s ‘Change Of Mind’ facility closes – which means that the final course choices listed on your form are set in stone. However, you still have time to explore your possibilities, and look around the vast array of course options available to you.
Planning for your future can feel like a terrifying notion, but by prioritising your passions and interests, the process can open up exciting new paths that you may have never even envisioned. During this stressful time, it’s important to remember that there’s more than one route to a successful and fulfilling career – so why not think outside the box?
At Dun Laoghaire Further Education Institute (DFEi), there are several courses that specifically cater for those with an interest in music – including the two-year Higher National Diploma course in Music Production, the one-year Level 5 course in Sound Engineering/Sound Production, and the one-year Level 5 course in Musical Instrument Making and Repair.
DFEi is currently the only Further Education Institute in Ireland that delivers a musical instrument making course involving stringed and fretted instruments – providing a unique opportunity for students to design and construct their own instruments in a workshop environment, while gaining an internationally recognised certification.
“We’d have different cohorts of people on the course,” says Musical Instrument Making teacher Declan Sheils. “The course is ideal for working musicians – people who’d be out gigging at night. We also have school leavers, who might use this certification to progress onto a degree programme. We make two instruments throughout the year – a mandolin to start with, and then after Christmas we make an electric guitar, from scratch.
“We’re a totally trades-based course,” he continues. “Our time spent in the workshop is huge compared to any of the ITs. We’re making things from scratch, and we’re all trade teachers – we’ve worked in the trade for years, and we’re all musicians. It’s very music-focused – we’re talking music and we’re making music.”
A passion for music is also a prerequisite for DFEi’s one-year Sound Engineering/Sound Production course and two-year Higher National Diploma in Music Production, according to coordinator Patrick Wall.
“The Level 5 course is all about learning how to make music on the computers and using the studio,” he says. “A lot of the people doing that course wouldn’t necessarily have that much official experience – but loads of them would have played in bands, or have DJed.
“Lots of people who do the Level 5 would progress into the two-year Higher National Diploma,” he continues. “That takes it up to a higher skill level. The Music Production course is basically the first two years of a degree – so loads of students would go on to do one more year afterwards in Ballyfermot, or over in England or Wales, and get a degree at the end of that.”
Like Musical Instrument Making and Repair, DFEi’s two music production-related courses are highly practical – with recently upgraded, state-of-art facilities, including brand new iMacs.
“It’s hands-on, and we’re working in small groups,” says Patrick. “All the teachers are working musicians, which means you get to learn a lot of specific industry skills. One of our teachers is Paddy O’Halpin, who is DJing around town all the time. So, when you’re learning from him, you’re actually seeing what people use in clubs.
“For both of those courses, most of your marks come from practical projects. There’s no exams at all in our Higher National Diploma course – the way you learn about producing for a band is by literally producing for a band.”
For more information about Dun Laoghaire Further Education Institute, visit dfei.ie.