Mr. M Bradley (Head Of Department)
Mrs K McNay

WELB peripatetic tutors: 
Teacher of Violin/viola John Bergin 
Teacher of violin Clare Cunningham 
Teacher of Woodwind Karen McGillian
Teacher of Brass David McGarrigle 
Teacher of double bass Michael McGinty
Teacher of Cello Elaine McCann 
Teacher of Oboe/Bassoon Anne Bergin


Key Stage 3

All pupils have a double period of music each week lasting 60 or 65 minutes.
Class sizes range from 19 to 23. Pupils take part in a wide range of music activities involving composing, performing and listening. These include:
  • Composing individually and in groups. 
  • Composing using graphic and staff notation. 
  • Composing and improvising by ear. 
  • Composing music from a given stimulus. 
  • Performing individually, in groups of 2, 3, & 4 and as part of a whole-class performance. 
  • Performing music from a variety of styles by ear, from memory and from notation. 
  • Performing their own music and that of others. 
  • Performing in class, in the school chapel and in concerts for the public. 
  • Taking part in group rehearsals and taking responsibility for directing rehearsals. 
  • Listening to and appraising music from a wide variety of music from different periods, styles, cultures and contexts. 
  • Listening to and appraising their own compositions and that of their peers. 
  • Using the Multimedia Suite to access and use information from the internet and CD-ROM's. 
  • Visiting the school library to access information for projects 
  • Using Smart board technology and audio visual resources to enhance learning. 
  • Learning how to read and write conventional staff notation and associated music theory.


All GCSE pupils receive 5 periods per week - 2 double periods and 1 singe period. Typically 35-40 pupils will study GCSE music in 2 separate class groups.

Activities centre 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 two areas of study upon which the above components are based. Through Listening, Composing Performing students will be expected to embrace the following areas of study (listed below).
  • Repeated patterns in Music (compulsory) 
Optional areas of study (2 from below):
  • Musical traditions in Ireland 
  • Incidental music 
  • Vocal music 
Composing and Appraising (Coursework)
Students work on a series of compositions and musical arrangements. Some of these (in Year 11) are specific tasks but eventually the students must submit a portfolio of at least 2 pieces 3- 6 min in duration - at least one of which must be related to one of the 2 areas of study. The portfolio must be accompanied by a composition diary.

In the area of composition students should work to their own particular strengths. You might find someone working on a sequenced piece, or a pop song while someone else experiments with a piece for 15 drums. If it's your idea- go for it!

GCSE students will have full access to the school's digital recording studio and MIDI computer 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 its 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 any 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 2 tests of aural perception lasting approximately 45 mins each. Students will be expected to answer questions on both the set works they have studied and also on unfamiliar music. They should apply their knowledge of the 2 areas of study to questions on unfamiliar music.

Pupils selected for GCSE music should have a good record in the subject at Key stage 3, take lessons on an instrument and commit to the schools' extracurricular music programme.

A Level

Entry Requirements
  • For AS level, pupils must have reached at least grade 4 standard on their principal instrument.
  • For A2 level, pupils must have reached at least grade 6 standard on their principal instrument

In addition the following entry criteria will be applied:

  • The pupils' work rate and attitude at GCSE
  • The pupils' level of competence at composition.
  • The pupils level of general musicianship and aural ability.
  • The pupils' willingness to show loyal commitment to extracurricular music in the School.
  • The pupils trustworthiness with the facilities of the music department

Outline of the Course
All A level pupils take the AS course in year 13 but this can also be taken as a standalone qualification. The complete A level comprises 3 AS assessment units (50%) and 3 A2 Assessment units (50%). Students choose from Unit 1 or 2. Unit 3 is compulsory.

Unit  Nature of Assessment  AS  AL 
AS 1  1 piece of free composition and 1 additional composing/performing/technology related task 60 30 
AS 2 Solo or ensemble performance and 1 additional composing/performing/technology related task 60 30
AS 3

Test of Aural Perception (general and set works - 60 mins) and written exam on set works and one area of study (75mins) from:

Music for Orchestra and

  • Chamber Music 1750 - 1830 or
  • Music for solo piano 1825-1890 or
  • The Musical 1900 to present.
40 20 
A2 1   1 piece of composition and commentary - 30% and 1 additional performing/technology/research related task 60 30% 
A2 2 Solo or ensemble performance lasting 10-12 minutes - 15% and viva voce - 5%(performance related interview) and 1 additional composing//technology related task (10%) 60%  
A2 3 Test of Aural Perception(general and set works - 60 mins) and written exam on area of study and set works (75mins) from:
Compulsory Area of Study - Music for Orchestra in the 20th century and
English Secular Music 1580-1600 or
New Directions in 20th Century music or
Jazz in the USA 1930 - 1960



 Assessment of the above units is similar to the GCSE format:

  • Performances are externally assessed by a visiting examiner
  • Written and aural exams are externally assessedComposition and technology related tasks are coursework components and are also externally assessed. (This differs from GCSE where they are assessed within the music department and then moderated by CCEA)

School Assessment:

Students work will regularly be accessed through listening, written and research-based homework, written and aural perception tests in class as well as class-based and public performances. Composition, sequencing and multi-track recording will be continuously assessed (on a weekly basis).

What is expected of an A level student:
AS and A2 level music pupils will be active musicians who are continually striving to develop all aspects of their general musicianship.

Pupils should devote considerable time to their own individual coursework and performance projects. This requires a great deal of self discipline and self motivation together with the ability to organise and manage personal study time and allocated studio time. Students will be expected to work hard to achieve their full creative potential and will join musical ensembles and attend concerts/recitals where appropriate in order to enrich their own work and broaden their musical horizons.
Pupils will be expected to contribute to the musical life of the school and if committed to an extracurricular event they will be expected to show loyalty and determination to honour that commitment.

Extra Curricular

The music department will run various extracurricular ensembles for various events in the school year. 
Extra-Curricular activities within the department

School Orchestra
Conductor - Katey McNay

The school orchestra currently has about 30-40 members. Rehearsals take place after school every Wednesday in the Assembly Hall. The orchestra performs at school concerts and larger events such as the Carol Service and Spring Concerts. In the past the orchestra has won numerous trophies at the local Feis Doire Colmcille and a sizeable portion of its members are also members of the WELB senior orchestra. Entry to the orchestra is by audition or recommendation by instrumental tutors.

Junior Choir
Conductor - Mark Bradley 

The junior choir performs a range of music, which includes unison and two-part, chosen from the sacred and secular repertoire. The choir has a strong focus on contemporary Disney music. Rehearsals take place on Mondays in MR1. The choir usually sings at masses in the chapel, school concerts and shows and has also competed successfully in local competitions. Entry to the choir is initially by audition but any additional pupils who show a keen interest in choral singing are usually accommodated.

The Senior Choir
Conductor - Mark Bradley 

The senior choir was formed in Sept 03 and has between 30-40 Girls and Boys. It performs a range of 4-part music from the sacred and secular repertoire and has performed at the school carol services, masses, charity events and choral competitions - twice finalists of the UTV Choir of the year in 2004 & 2005 and Gold award winners in the International Youth Choral festival in Prague in March 09 - their finest achievement Despite losing many key members to University annually the choir maintains a formidable reputation and strives to keep choral standards as high as possible.

Irish Traditional Group
This is a more informal gathering of interested pupils. Numbers in the group range from four to ten and rehearsals are either at lunchtime or after school. The group performs at the school Ceili and competes in local competition. The group will usually form for the school Ceili and the annual spring concert in April.

Instrumental Ensembles
These are mostly student led, and range from string quartets, recorder consorts, brass groups and pop/rock bands. 

The music department in LCC is privileged to have pupils of very high academic ability and typically a very high percentage already possess a variety of musical talent because of this we have a Gifted and Talented Policy.

Other articles of interest:

January 2022
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