Charity begins at home for U2 after they forked out €5m to ensure 10,000 youngsters learn music.
The band stumped up the money to bring a pilot scheme nationwide and search for hidden talent.
U2 guitarist The Edge said it was exciting that the group’s millions would give so many children an opportunity in music.
“Music is – obviously – the world to us and we were lucky enough to have it at school,” he said. “But even if you choose not to make it your job, learning music is proven to have a hugely positive effect on society in general.
“It’s exciting that thousands of Ireland’s children and young people will have the opportunity for tuition.”
Money from U2, and €2m from the Ireland Fund, ensures the Music Generation project has enough money to run until 2014.
It is hoped 12 schemes will be set up in separate counties in the next three years teaching thousands of children how to play an instrument or sing.
Music Generation has issued a March 31 deadline for schools, youth clubs, parishes, community groups, councils and other organisations to apply for funding to set up music classes.
Some 400 expressions of interest have already been made in relation to classes and teaching.
Rosaleen Molloy, Music Generation director, said the pilot project in Donegal and Ballyfermot, Dublin was in danger of stalling until the band stepped in.
“U2 have done something very blatant about it and provided the funding,” Ms Molloy said. “U2 have set the standard in coming forward in a very generous way.”
The Music Generation has already been teaching 1,000 children in Donegal and hundreds more in Ballyfermot. The extended scheme will offer €200,000 a year over three years for projects.
The Department of Education are expected to take on funding after the three year programme runs its course.
Dr Tony O Dalaigh, chairman of Music Generation, said, the scheme will change the lives of thousands of children and young people.
“Simply put, this scheme would never have seen the light of day without U2 and the Ireland Funds,” Dr O Dalaigh said.
“Cutbacks did not allow the promise of the pilot schemes to be realised and a significant opportunity for a breakthrough in music education in Ireland seemed lost.
“However, U2’s vision and commitment have now made Music Generation a reality and young Irish musicians will be the beneficiaries.
“Their generosity will enhance and enrich quality of life, nurture the careers of musicians, empower the musical life of communities and energise partnerships among the public, private, community and voluntary sectors in the spirit of making music education happen throughout Ireland.”