GUITARIST The Edge has revealed that U2 never planned to become the biggest band on the planet – they just wanted to have "fun".
But the 53-year-old credits the music curriculum at Mount Temple School, where the group formed in 1976, with setting them on the road to million-selling albums, and sold-out world tours.
Stressing the importance of "access to music at a young age", The Edge told the Irish Independent: "We had it ourselves from first year onwards. We also had the encouragement and use of a music room when we first formed a band.
"At that stage, none of the band had any idea where it would lead. We were just doing it because it was fun."
The guitarist said what was "important" for U2 was "passing that opportunity on" and this was why they had provided funding for initiative Music Generation.
The scheme helps young people access high quality subsidised music education in their local area.
From July 2014, the Department of Education and Skills will start funding the programme on a phased basis.
The Edge said: "We are absolutely delighted that the Department of Education and Skills has committed to the long term funding of this brilliant Music Generation scheme. The response has been incredible, with over 5,000 children and young people getting music lessons.
"It is a source of pride for U2 that along with the Ireland Funds, we were able to keep it going after government cut backs put it in jeopardy in 2009."
Making the funding announcement, Education Minister Ruairi Quinn said that by 2016, the investment by local music education partnerships and Government is expected to be on a par with the €7m donation from U2 and The Ireland Funds.