Where words fail, Music speaks
All GCSE pupils receive 6 periods per fortnight. All class activities are based on the 3 components of Listening, Composing and Performing with the addition of Appraising in each component.
The examination weighting is as follows:
Listening and Appraising - 35%
Performing and Appraising - 35%
Composition and Appraisal - 30%.
There are 4 areas of study upon which the above components are based. Through Listening, Composing & Performing students will focus on the following areas of study (listed below).
Western Classical Music 1600-1910
Musical Traditions in Ireland
Music for Film
Composing and Appraising (Coursework)
Students must submit 2 pieces, one free choice and one based on a stimulus provided by CCEA. The combined pieces must last between 3- 6 minutes in duration.
GCSE students will have full access to the school’s digital recording studio and MAC Suite.
Performing and Appraising
Pupils are required to perform individually and as part of an ensemble. The pupils will also respond appropriately to a series of questions by the visiting assessor on points arising from the performance and in relation to the area of study.
Both performances last a few minutes and students may play any instrument of their choice (including voice). As with composition, the performance can be in a musical style of your choice including classical, jazz, Irish traditional or rock.
Listening and Appraising
In this part of the course, students learn about music of different styles and traditions (e.g. classical, folk, rock and pop, jazz etc.) and from different periods of history. They will also focus on several ‘set works’ in detail.
Examination will be through 1 test of aural perception lasting approximately 1 hour 30mins. Students will be expected to answer questions on the set works they have studied and also on unfamiliar music. They should apply their knowledge of the four areas of study to questions on unfamiliar music.
All AS/A2 pupils receive 12 periods per fortnight. The A level course is divided into three assessment components:
Listening and Appraising – 35%
Composing and Appraising – 32.5%
Performing and Appraising - 32.5%
Students study a wide range of musical styles through aural and written work. They undertake an in-depth study of 12 set works in the following areas of study:
Music for Orchestra
Sacred Vocal Music
Secular Vocal Music
In addition, they must submit an advanced composition which they will work on weekly with regular submissions throughout the year (internally assessed and externally moderated).
The pupils will also present a performance programme and engage in a short post performance discussion with the visiting examiner.
The rich variety of extra-curricular activities available within the Music Department supports the school ethos of fostering opportunities for young people to excel. Our music activities provide opportunities for creativity, enrichment, and personal development at lunchtime and after school.
· Extra-curricular activities help promote music as a thoroughly enjoyable interactive activity which in turn fosters good relations between staff and pupils and between the pupils themselves.
· Pupils learn about a wide variety of musical eras and style through performance. This reinforces class-based learning alongside composition and performance activities.
· Group/ Ensemble performance provides an avenue for teamwork and mutual respect whilst developing the skills or self-discipline, and perseverance.
· School based performances give pupils a sense of pride in their achievement whilst also promoting their self confidence
· Extracurricular music activities encourage links with the wider community with regular performance given at local festivals and in local environments.
Extra-Curricular Music Timetable
Junior Jazz Band
Senior Jazz Band
Where to next?
Music skills are highly relevant today in when pursuing a career, even if you are not considering specialising in music beyond school. It is particularly useful for any job where creative skills, self-discipline and energy are required:
TV & Radio – presenting or producing
Film Industry – writing & recording
Theatre – performing in or managing musicals, playing in resident orchestras etc
Recording industry – engineering/producing, technical assistant etc
Commercial Music Industry – management, recruitment, publicity, touring etc
Music teacher – in a school, private or peripatetic
Professional performer – in an orchestra, pop band, session musician, conductor
Composer arranger – pop songs, jingles, TV themes, adverts, film music, website & multimedia software, computer games.
Arts Administration – arts officer/ local promotions
Universities and employers always show an interest in musical experience on an application form. Perhaps it is because it usually tells them that you are disciplined, a creative thinker, can work in a group, that you can easily take or give directions from others, have good concentration skills, and the realisation that persistent hard work leads to a rewarding final performance.