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:
- 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.
- 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
- 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’.
- 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.