Who We Are

The Society for Music Education in Ireland (SMEI) was established in June 2010 following extensive consultation and correspondence, and a series of planning meetings during 2009 and early 2010. The first meeting took place against the background of the 6th Annual Symposium on the Sociology of Music Education, held in Limerick, Ireland, July 2009. INA status was granted in August 2010, and immediately afterwards representatives of the group held a meeting at the ISME World Conference in Beijing.

SMEI’s first annual national conference took place in November 2010. The day-long event included the first general meeting of the organisation in which the constitution was ratified by a wider membership. The initial committee was elected to continue its work until the first AGM scheduled for May 2011. Officers of the committee were also formally ratified at this meeting. The annual conference also featured several research papers, a showcase event involving young brass players, and an interactive community music workshop. Overall turnout was in the region of 50 participants despite adverse weather conditions at the time. Several messages of support and goodwill were received from music educators nationwide, while greetings from ISME members the world over helped situate the SMEI event within the broader international context and network.

The SMEI committee took on a national advocacy role in January-February 2011 following a draft report published by Ireland’s Department of Education and Skills in which it was proposed, inter alia, to reduce curricular time allocated to music and other arts areas in order to allow more time for the development of literacy and numeracy skills. SMEI submitted a response to this report, contesting the bases of its primary arguments, and re-affirming the centrality of music and the arts in holistic education. The SMEI response was also circulated to all group and individual members.


The SMEI acts as an advocacy group for music education and we aim to raise the profile and status of music education in Ireland on a national and international level.  Our aim is to present a strong, unified voice in support of music education activities, while recognising the diversity of individuals, organisations/associations and institutions involved in music education in Ireland.  We also actively encourage professional development initiatives in music education and we would be delighted to hear from members about the way that they are developing their practice and engaging in music education.


The SMEI also represents Irish music educators as an ISME National Affiliate (INA) for the International Society for Music Education (ISME) and a number of our members participate in ISME events worldwide.

SMEI Responses to Education Policy Documents

SMEI Response DES Literacy & Numeracy Strategy

Download Constitution

Smei Constitution

Feel free to download SMEI’s constitution.Download Constitution

International Society for Music Eduction


SMEI is the International Society for Music Education’s National Affiliate for Ireland.

ISME is a worldwide organisation that seeks to celebrate the diverse ways that people engage with, and develop in and through, music. Founded in 1953, ISME represents an international, interdisciplinary, intercultural network of professionals who strive to understand and promote music learning across the lifespan. ISME shares a commitment to culture, education, conservation and the durable development of our cultural heritage, and to evidence-based policy and practice.For more information on ISME see www.isme.org

ISME is affiliated to the International Music Council and UNESCO
ISME is present in over eighty countries
ISME is the premiere international organisation for music education
ISME respects all musics and all cultures
ISME believes that every individual has a right to music education

July 2016 promises to be an inspiring month for music educators from across Ireland and the globe. From the 24th to 29th of that month the 32nd ISME World Conference will be taking place in the vibrant city of Glasgow. ISME is a worldwide organisation that seeks to celebrate the diverse ways that people engage with, and develop in and through, music. ISME represents an international, interdisciplinary, intercultural network of professionals who strive to understand, promote and deliver music learning across the lifespan. The World Conference 2016, hosted by the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, promises to be a remarkable and unmissable celebration and exploration of current issues in, and practice of, music education.

SMEI, which is the ISME National Affiliate for Ireland, will be well represented at the 32nd world conference with Irish delegates presenting papers, posters and at symposia. SMEI chair, Dr Gwen Moore is now a member of the newly established INA Council and will attend meetings on behalf of SMEI.

ISME are now offering a day rate for delegates. For more information click here http://www.isme2016glasgow.org/registration