What is The Core?

Listen from 21min 21sec  to learn about The Core

Do you play a musical instrument or sing? Are you curious about music production in the studio or in a live setting? Maybe you have a band or perhaps you would like to start or join one? Do you want to meet like-minded creative people and make music in a positive and supportive environment? No matter what your musical style and taste is, we would love to hear from you here at The Core!

What is The Core?
The Core is a resource for young musicians and schools in the Mayo community. It is run under the auspices of Music Generation Mayo and housed within Ballina Arts Centre. At The Core, young people aged 12 to 18 can engage in instrumental tuition, workshops, camps and regular performance opportunities such as open mics and showcases.

We also have a dedicated members only creative space which is kitted out with high quality equipment. We have lots of instruments including electric guitars, drums, piano, synths, a range of amplification, PA, and studio recording equipment. Members are introduced to a  community of like minded musicians and music enthusiasts from all around the county. They can communicate on our private members only group chat and are encouraged to organise collaborations and jam sessions. Members are not only from the Ballina area but come from across the county engage in musical activity at The Core. Members of The Core also have access to a range of performance opportunities and get member discounts on all our classes, camps and workshops!

Western Pic


Students can avail of Guitar, Ukulele and Piano lessons delivered by Cathal Faughnan. Music Generation Mayo also have an extensive panel of tutors with just about all the instruments and genres one could imagine so if you need a Vocal or Keyboard tutor for example, please do not hesitate to contact us. For information on the latest tuition schedule or to register your child please visit www.TheCoreMayo.com or contact [email protected] / 087-748-5954


We deliver a wide variety of workshops and we are constantly updating and innovating. We also welcome suggestions from our members and programme activities based on their musical wants and needs. Here are some examples:

  • Recording Basics
  • How to set up a PA system
  • Guitar Technology
  • Drum Technology
  • Percussion Ensemble Workshop
  • Song Writing & Collaboration
  • Preparing for a live performance
  • How to release your music.

Camps are delivered and/or facilitated by Cathal Faughnan. Cathal typically takes on the role of lead tutor, however The Core will oftentimes collaborate with other organisations, specialists or industry professionals. Here are some examples of previous camps:

Collaboration Camps
This camp has proven to be very popular. Young people of all ages and musical skillsets immersed themselves in a world of musical discussion, critiquing, song writing and performance both in a solo and collaborative capacity. Musical groups organically emerged, collaborated together and recorded a demo in our recording facility.  Some of the bands/ensembles have even continued to play together after the camps and now perform in live events run by The Core.

Recording and Production Camp.
Members of The Core had the opportunity to have their song professional produced by an Industry Professional. The successful applicant “Lean” had their track produced during a weeklong intensive camp. All participants engaged fully in the recording process and even performed on the track alongside the band. Participants also had the opportunity to do their own remix! This camp was extremely beneficial to those who were considering pursuing 3rd level music education in Engineering or Performance. In fact some of the Participants are now studying in Berklee Institute of Modern Music Dublin.  The song “Stop” by Lean has since received radio play and is now on all online retailers including iTunes & Spotify. It can also be streamed on our website.

Music Industry, Band/Artist Camps
Participants had an opportunity to learn the workings of the music industry from real working, touring and recording musicians.  Topics and activities explore all aspects of the profession from rehearsal to royalties and everything in between.

Electronic Music Production Camps
We live in a world of constantly evolving technology and the possibilities are endless when it comes to making music. In these camps, participants got a view into the world of Hip-Hop, House and Electro production under the guidance of a professional in that field. This was especially beneficial for young people who wished to expand their IT skillset whilst expressing themselves creatively.

School Programmes 
There are range of school programmes available through The Core for all years including Transition Year Programmes. All services from our Tuition, Workshops and Camps can be adapted and incorporated into a programme that best suits your school’s needs. School programmes and community projects can take place both at The Core or in the school itself if required. Here are some examples of  school programmes:

Example A

  • A group of TY students visit The Core to participate in weekly collaborative workshops. Students engage in performance, jamming, improvisation, song writing and recording activities over a 12 week period. They can then perform live representing their school at the Christmas (or end of term) showcase at the Ballina Arts Centre auditorium or venue of your choosing.

Example B

  • A tutor visits the school on a weekly basis to deliver a similar programme to the one above. Students can also engage in an activity (or blend of activities) of your choosing from our camps and workshops listed in this brochure.

Free Consultation
Email [email protected] or call 0877485954 to arrange a free consultation with zero obligations. You can have an informal chat to get a better feel for what might suit your school or centre.


Members of The Core…

  • Have access to the rehearsal space and recording facility.
  • Are first to hear about our upcoming industry workshops and performance opportunities.
  • Get added to our private members only WhatsApp group where they can interact with members from all over the county.
  • Get special discounts on workshops and tuition.
  • Get free mentoring and feedback sessions from an experienced touring, recording artist.
  • Can book free advice clinics.
  • Can participate in our frequent open mic evenings, camps & workshops without the sign up procedure.
  • Get help in organising and preparing for a live performance
  • Get help in organising and preparing for recording and releasing their music.
  • Have a say in what we programme at The Core. After all it is YOUR music space.
  • Members also get concession tickets to shows at the Ballina Arts Centre. This a exciting way to see professional touring artists at a fraction of the price.

Open Mic
The Core open mic is a monthly event where we transform the mezzanine area of the Ballina Arts Centre into a vibrant and intimate performance space. The stage is open to young musicians and performers aged 12 to 18 and can even accommodate full bands! It’s a fantastic opportunity to meet likeminded musical people from across the county and get experience performing in front an attentive and appreciative audience. It’s also an opportunity to meet members of The Core, get a tour and even sign up to become a member yourself! As always, friends and family are more than welcome to come along and our performers always appreciate the support! More info is listed on our website and social media.

Performers have gone from their first performance at The Core Open Mic to performing at our showcase events and festival stages and some of our members have even feature on radio and TV!



“My 13 year old son attended a Core camp this summer for the first time. He loved it so much he signed up for a second camp and has now joined as a member of The Core. His experiences have infused him with confidence and has grown him in branching out from classical piano to try other musical styles as well to his great delight. Philip’s great experience and encouraging style has had a tremendous impact on my sons’s music and his person.  The new friends my son now has to jam with are an added bonus!”
-Brendan Meyerink, Ballina.

“I like The Core because it is an accessible, informal and non-competitive space for young people where their love of music is nurtured. It’s very well organised and a place where each student is encouraged to express themselves and try out different styles of music. Each student is valued as an individual and supported in their journey to build on their ability and follow their dream”
-Kathleen Collins, Cooneal.
“Ben has been a member of The Core since it began.  He attends the open mic sessions throughout the year and The Core music stage lunchtime concerts during the Ballina Salmon Festival. Even though he doesn’t perform on stage, he prefers to concentrate on the sound/equipment offstage.  Philip also runs music workshops throughout the year where they write, perform, record and produce songs, which Ben really enjoys as he gets tips and advice on sound engineering/production from fellow Core members and Philip. On the whole I find Philip very encouraging and approachable. He involves all Core members in all their musical interests and I know Ben is enjoying being a member.”
Ann Lynott, Crossmolina.

“My Daughter was diagnosed with higher functioning Autism when she was 13,she felt very lonely and different from anyone else she knew. Her one love was music. We were told about Music Generation by Western Care ,she started out going to Jam Bands in Claremorris and then onto The Core in Ballina where she has thrived ! She has lots of friends who accept her for who she is and tutors /musicians who treat her as an equal and give her and every member all the support and encouragement she could ever need. She has performed in front of small crowds and in front of crowded streets in Ballina. Her confidence has soared and looks forward to every minute she spends with everyone in The Core. Joining was the best thing we’ve done for her.”

“The Core is a great outlet for young musicians to develop their talent with recording facilities provided and added opportunities for performing. It’s wonderful!”
Aine Bashford, Carrowteige.