St Brendans College Killarney

Music is, in its own right, a way of “knowing” and a form of knowledge and it also encourages the cognitive processes used in other subject areas. It is an immensely useful subject.

The new syllabus – first examined in 1999 – continues to emphasise the integration of the three activity areas introduced at Junior Certificate level:

  1. Performance (25%): Students may perform individually or as a group (Senior choir, band etc). The standard required is that of a student who has been performing in a school context for 5 years.
  2. Listening (25%) – includes: (a) Four prescribed works of different historical context; (b) Irish music; (c) General aural skills, i.e. rhythm, melody, vocal & instrumental timbres
  3. Composition (25%) – includes: melodic & harmonic composition, melody writing, adding chord symbols (e.g. guitar chords) to melody, adding bass notes (base line) to melody, exploring various styles of writing from popular to ‘classical’.
  4. Remaining 25%: Students may undertake any one of the above activities as a “higher elective” e.g.

performance could total 50 % of total.

The syllabus structure has been adopted to provide a fully balanced musical experience central to which is the development of musicality.


Note: it is possible to begin this syllabus with little knowledge of music theory or history but a working knowledge of a musical instrument (piano, guitar, voice etc.) is desirable.