Belvedere College - Music



Mission Statement

The Music Department endeavours to develop in each student of the college, an interest and appreciation of music through the implementation of a full and varied curriculum (curricular and co-curricular). The Department encourages active and enjoyable participation in a wide range of musical activities, from solo performance to chamber ensembles, orchestra, wind bands, college choir, liturgical music group, traditional Irish group, college musical productions and pop/rock groups.

Music Students are expected to commit to their involvement in the co-curricular music programmes throughout their time in the school.

The Music Department prepares students for entrance to state exams at both Junior Cycle and Leaving Cert level and endeavours to present TY students with a programme to develop musical appreciation and performance in line with the general aims of the TY programme.

The Music Department also seeks to develop cross-curricular links with other departments, including the various language departments, the Transition Year Exchange Programme and the RE/Pastoral Department.


Mr. David O'Hanlon (Head of Department, Director of Liturgical Music and Traditional Group)

Mr. Daniel Dunne (Co-Ordinator/Director of Instrumental, Wind Band and Jazz Programmes)

Ms. Aisling Bridgeman (Subject Co-ordinator, Director of Strings Programme)

Junior Certificate Music

Subject Overview

The Music syllabus aims to deliver a broad and balanced education in class music by providing students with the musical knowledge, understanding, practical competencies and attitudes appropriate to their age, needs, abilities and interests.


The syllabus content involves a series of interrelated musical activities aimed at developing performing, composing and listening skills.
In performing, students may choose from a variety of individual and group performing categories.

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 three interconnected strands: Procedural knowledge, Innovate and Ideate and Cultural and Context. A student will experience a variety of learning in each of these three strands as the progress through their junior cycle.

The syllabus content allows for considerable diversity in the choice of teaching materials and approaches and includes music from different musical styles, periods and genres.
The syllabus is designed to allow for mixed ability teaching as all students sit a Common Level examination.


The Junior cycle places a strong emphasis on assessment as part of the learning process. In music, there are two Classroom Based Assessments (CBA’s) that are completed in 2nd and 3rd year.  CBA 1 is a composition portfolio and CBA 2 a Programme Note. This optimises the opportunity for students to become reflective and active participants in their learning. Students negotiate success criteria against which the quality of their work can be judged by peer, self and teacher.

The final common level examination consists of a practical examination and a written examination. The practical examination is allocated 30% of the marks available. The written examination is allocated 70% of the marks available.

Leaving Certificate Music

Subject Overview

The Leaving Certificate Music syllabus provides continuity and progression from Junior Certificate Music. The general aims and overall shape of both is broadly similar. In providing the musical knowledge, understanding, practical competencies and attitudes appropriate to their age, abilities and interests, the syllabus caters for the varying needs of all students including those who wish to pursue further studies in music.


The content of this syllabus involves a series of interrelated musical activities within each of the three core areas of musical experience - performing, composing and listening.
In performing, students may choose from a variety of individual and/or group performing activities.

In composing, students may select from a range of prescribed exercises or, at higher level, choose to present free composition in part fulfilment of the composing requirement.
The listening component spans different musical periods, styles and genres. Students study:

  • prescribed works
  • Irish music
  • aural skills
  • a special study topic (a higher level specialism in listening)

Students may specialise in one of the three areas of musical experience. The structure of the syllabus allows them to undertake 50% of their work in the musical activity that best suits their interests and talents. The syllabus content allows for considerable diversity in the choice of teaching materials and approaches. All musical genres are encouraged.

The syllabus is designed to allow for mixed ability teaching. Ordinary level students undertake exercises appropriate to their stage of musical development. Higher level students undertake similar exercises, but at a more advanced level, together with additional work in a chosen specialist area.


Leaving Certificate Music is examined at two levels, Ordinary level and Higher level. The modes of assessment include

  • a practical examination in individual and/or group performing
  • a combined aural and written examination in composing and listening to music.

Higher level students whose specialist option is composing will also present samples of their work for assessment.

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