Link Music School opens its doors

Mark Forbes, Mark O'Doherty and Denis McLaughlin from Link Studios.  (0609JB06)
Mark Forbes, Mark O'Doherty and Denis McLaughlin from Link Studios. (0609JB06)

Five local graduates of music, frustrated at the lack of opportunity in Derry, have set up an ambitious new community interest company that aims to make music education accessible to the wider community - The Link Music School in Castle Street.

Local musicians Paddy Danagher, Denis McLaughlin, Mark O’Doherty, Kevin McGowan and Marc Forbes are all well known in musical circles in the city. With so many graduates leaving the city in droves, the entrepreneurs share a vision of retaining Derry’s talent.

Paddy Danagher and Kevin McGowan of Link Studios. (0609JB07)

Paddy Danagher and Kevin McGowan of Link Studios. (0609JB07)

Paddy Danagher spoke of the reasons behind Link Music. “Firstly, we are all graduates from the University of Ulster and we’ve all been unemployed for over two years. There’s no work in the area and so we came together and decided to have a go at opening a music school.”

The team contacted the building’s owner, Phillip Gilliland, VP of Derry’s Chamber of Commerce.

“Phillip Gilliland has been really good to us and is really into the idea of having a music school,” Paddy reveals. “The whole building hasn’t been done up since the 1970s so it needed quite a bit of work! We held a fundraiser to raise the money to buy basics like paint and materials .”

The team behind this exciting venture will combine their considerable talents to make the new school a success. “We’re pooling our expertise for the school,” Paddy reveals. “We have a lot of backgrounds in engineering, production, performance, we all bring something different to the table. All of us have been teaching and all of us love what we do.”

Link Music will boast a range of state-of-the-art facilities for the benefit of its clients.

“The music school has a studio in it, which we intend to run at a reduced cost to the public. That idea, in turn, led us down the avenue of becoming a community-interest company, which is a non-profit company, but will allow us to go for funding.”

Paddy says they aim to work with a wide variety of clients, linking them with other potential help and resources in Derry.

“That’s where the ‘Link’ in Link Music comes in, Paddy says. “We want to work with all parts of the community, youth elderly, marginalised, and of course, bringing musicians together across the religious divide. We can help beginners, advanced or any level that’s needed.”

Link Music has plenty of rooms for its programmes.

“We built the studio, it has three live rooms, a control room with the Pro Tools HD rig in it,” Paddy explains. “Then there are practice rooms, and separate rooms for teaching drums, brass, guitar and bass guitar, a classical music teaching/piano room and a vocal coaching room so far.”

“If someone comes in with a wish to learn a certain instrument, we will go out of our way to find a teacher in that particular instrument,” Paddy promised.

“We aim to accommodate teachers, who might teach at home, and give them the option of renting rooms here at a small price instead. The idea is basically to encourage more musicians, who are teaching, to become self-employed and work for themselves instead of remaining unemployed.”

Courses available at Link Music include: Music technology, Live Sound, Mixing and Mastering, Popular Music Theory, ‘Messin’ with Theory, and of course tuition in every instrument known to man! Based at 11 Castle Street, next door to Masons Bar, Link Music will cover all spectrums of music and musical tuition.

Contact Link Music on: 71. 360113 or email: For information on the courses available and its impressive programme, see: or look up Link Musicschool on facebook.