First Steps in Music

Our First Steps in Music outreach programme aims to provide opportunities for young people to be taught and learn music. This involves our two tutors teaching brass and woodwind instruments, either within a school environment or in our band hall in Garryowen (scroll down to read about our teachers).

We offer an after-school programme with the aim of continued opportunity for musical expression. We encourage all pupils to join our band practice so that we can form a Junior band. This enables them to learn key skills such as team work and responsibility, further their musical education, forge new friendships and be part of a community of music-lovers.

In these challenging times, where purchasing instruments or having music lessons may be difficult, we aim to give young people support and the opportunity to have access to a bank of musical instruments, subsidised music lessons, and to be part of a musical group.

Meet our teachers

Ken Hinchy – Woodwind

From a family of musicians in our very own Garryowen community, local musician Ken Hinchy grew up with music all around him, picking it up himself at the age of 7.

Ken started out in St. John’s Brass and Reed Band as a young boy on the triangle. Under the tutelage of his father, clarinet and saxophone player Mick Hinchy, Ken started to learn the clarinet and saxophone. Mick Hinchy taught many band players through the years, and is a former St. John’s Band conductor.

Over the years, Ken took lessons with jazz educator Jean Toussaint at the Guildhall School of Music in London, and also learned with internationally acclaimed Irish jazz musicians Len McCarthy and Richie Buckley.

Throughout his school and college years, Ken played for cover bands. He has played for many different groups such as The Savoy Jazz Orchestra, Million Dollar Swing Band, Riverside Big Band, The Bootleggin’ Band, among others. Currently, Ken plays with Trees Fall Down, The Sidewinders, Sonic Big Band, The Guests and Limerick Jazz Workshop Big Band.

Keeping his strong personal tradition of music going, Ken is now inspiring other young and adult players in woodwind and musical education.

Jonathan Luxton – Brass

International musician Jonathan Luxton was Principal French horn in the Gulbenkian Foundation Orchestra in Lisbon, Portugal, for 30 years.

He started playing the horn at the age of 12 in rural England. His mother was his driving force as she would encourage him to listen to classical music from a very young age and to become a member of every local orchestra.

He studied at the Royal Academy of Music in London with James Brown, and played Principal French horn with the European Youth Orchestra and the Snape Maltings Chamber Orchestra.

A great part of Jonathan’s passion has always been to inspire and mentor other musicians at all levels. Whilst at the Academy, he taught Brass for Brighton College and Cheam School. When he left the Academy, Jonathan taught at the Kent Music School and, once in Portugal, he went on to teach the French horn at the Lisbon University of Music (ESML) for 25 years.

Since retiring from the Gulbenkian Orchestra in Portugal, Jonathan has become Musical Director for various projects and continues to teach. Now based in Ireland, Jonathan plays as a freelancer in orchestras, teaches French horn, trumpet and trombone at The Munster Music Academy in Killaloe, is our conductor at St. John’s Brass and Reed Band, and continues to work towards making music accessible to everyone. You can read more about Jonathan and his work at