Head of Department

Lynn Sullivan 


  • To contribute to the development of artistic awareness and understanding, self-expression, self-esteem, imagination and multicultural sensitivity, and therefore, to the development of the whole person.
  • To develop the knowledge, skills and understanding necessary to produce and engage with authentic and original music that is both theirs and the music of others.
  • To develop the music literacy, critical skills and language necessary to engage with today’s musical world.


Music is an optional subject at Junior Cycle level and Senior Cycle Level. The study of Music provides a general education in music for all students. Studying Music gives all students a basis for a lifelong leisure interest whether or not they proceed to further study or a career in music. The study of Music encourages the development of musical creativity, sensitivity and potential through active involvement in performing, composing and listening to music. Ukulele, recorder and basic keyboard skills are introduced in 1st year and developed through to 6th year.

There is no need for students to have prior knowledge or experience of Music before beginning Junior Certificate Music.

New Junior Cycle

The new Junior Cycle Music specification will be introduced to schools in Autumn 2018. The specification for Junior Cycle Music focuses on giving students the opportunity to develop their musical knowledge, skills and cultural awareness through the practical and cognitive engagement with music. This can be achieved through the three interconnected strands:

  • Procedural knowledge
  • Innovate and ideate
  • Culture and context

A student will experience learning in each of these three strands as they progress through their Junior Cycle. The assessment of music for the purposes of the Junior Cycle Profile of Achievement (JCPA) will comprise two Classroom-Based Assessments: Composition portfolio and a Programme note; a practical examination and a written examination. All assessments will be at a common level. The State Examinations Commission (SEC) will assess the practical examination (held towards the end of third year) and the written examination in June of third year.

Senior Cycle Music

Leaving Certificate Music involves a series of interrelated musical activities within each of the three core areas of musical experience:

  • Performing (including technology) (can be 50%)
  • Composing (25%)
  • Listening (25%)

In performing, students choose from a variety of individual and/or group performing activities. In composing, students develop an understanding of musical structure and form, while the listening component provides for rich aural experiences through exposure to music of different periods, styles and genres. The syllabus is assessed at Higher and Ordinary levels.

The Leaving Cert Syllabus outlines two groups of Set (Prescribed) Works (A and B) which rotate in a three year cycle. Group A will be assessed in 2019 and Group B will be assessed in 2020, 2021 and 2022. Here are the set works:

 Leaving Certificate Course A

Bach’s Cantata No.78 Jesu der du meine Seele

Tchaikovsky’s Romeo and Juliet Fantasy Overture

Queen/Mercury’s ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’

Gerald Barry’s ‘Piano Quartet No.1′

Leaving Certificate Course B

The Beatles’ Songs from Sgt. Pepper Album

Mozart’s Piano Concerto No.23 in A Major K488

Berlioz’s Symphonie Fantastique

Raymond Deane’s Seachanges (with danse macabre)

Career Opportunities

This subject opens the door to a huge variety of careers. Music graduates can go on to work in a wide range of professions inside and outside music. If you choose to follow a music career, be mindful that no two career paths are the same. Approach career planning creatively and be prepared to develop a portfolio of roles. You may want to combine teaching with freelance performance work, as well as doing contract/session work on particular projects. It is common for graduates to take several years to establish themselves in creative industries.

Music therapistMusicianPrivate music teacher Secondary school teacher Arts administratorCommunity arts workerCustomer service managerEditorial assistantEvent organiserRetail merchandiserSound technician, broadcasting/film/video

Links to websites