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Realists like to find practical solutions to problems using tools, technology and skilled work. Realists usually prefer to be active in their work environment, often do most of their work alone, and enjoy taking decisive action with a minimum amount of discussion and paperwork.

Subject Choice for Leaving Cert...

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Music

Ed Zone

These courses enable learners to gain recognition for the achievement of considerable knowledge in a range of subject areas, as for example in the Leaving Certificate and one-year Post Leaving Certificate courses.

Courses may be academic or practical in focus, and awards that are recognised by the National Framework of Qualifications may lead to progression opportunities higher up in the framework.

Employment Opportunities
The majority of people with certificates at this level are well prepared for occupations that involve using their knowledge and skills to help others. Examples include office secretary, customer service representatives, special needs assistant, retail salespersons and childcare workers.

Level on the National Framework of Qualifications
2 Years
Duration of course
Grades Awarded

Marks Distribution 2018:
Listed below are the percentage distributions of marks from the 6060 students who sat the Higher Level Music exam in 2018.

Listed below are the percentage distributions of marks from the 459 students who sat the Ordinary Level Music exam in 2018.

In brief... header image

Leaving Certificate Music involves a series of interrelated musical activities within each of the three core areas of musical experience - performing, composing and listening.

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.


Why Study this?header image

Why Study Music

  • Students can get up to 50 per cent of the total marks in the musical activity that best suits their talent before they even sit the written paper
  • In music you can develop your talent and knowledge in this area and continue your studies in a wide range of colleges

What kind of student would Music suit?

  • Students who have shown an aptitude for music, such as by getting high grades in Junior Cert Music and are keen to develop and practice more.
  • If you can read music and have a competence in singing or playing an instrument
  • Anyone considering a career in a creative discipline such as singing, playing in a band, music production and performance technology and management.
  • Those interested in the rock and pop areas of music can develop their talents in a number of PLC courses in Rock and Jazz Music, including management.
  • Students who are looking for a break from intensive memory-work in their other subjects

Recommendations/Tips

  • Because of the practical nature of this subject, students and/or parents should discuss this with the senior level music teacher before choosing it as a Leaving Certificate subject.


Videos & Interviews header image


Read what others say about their Leaving Cert. Subject Choices...
Solicitor  - Niamh Cacciato
Niamh Cacciato, Languages ConnectI chose two languages in school- French and German. I had the choice of German or Art and Music. Most people chose Art and Music and there was only one class out of six classes of first year doing two languages. I believe that doing two languages improved my proficiency in language in general and my ability to learn new vocabulary and grasp new concepts.

I realised I was good at working out how to express myself in French and German and I always wanted to learn new words and phrases and this led me to then choose languages as two of my three subjects for an Arts Degree at third level. I knew that I would like to do French at university and then when I learnt that Italian was on offer I thought why not try something new! I also knew that Italian was similar to French as they are both Latin-based languages and I could guess some of the Italian vocabulary from my knowledge of French. 
  go to interview...
 
Software Engineer - Karl Stanley
Karl Stanley, Smart FuturesFor my Leaving Cert. I took Maths - higher, Applied Maths - higher,  Physics - higher, Chemistry - higher, Music - higher, English - higher, German - higher, Irish - ordinary As you can see my abilities and interests were more in the maths+science sphere than anything else.

I was very lucky that at the time Mt. Temple had very capable maths+science teachers, which certainly made things easier for me. To be honest, in school I didn't really think about 3rd level or careers or anything until I was in 6th year (by which stage I'd already picked my subjects). I just picked the subjects I enjoyed and felt I had a natural knack for.

For the career I'm in now I don't think I could have picked better school subjects. It might have helped me to know a bit more about business-related subjects, but I had no interest in accountancy or commerce at the time.

I am considering taking an evening course in the legal+financial aspects to running a business to make up for this. However, as a teenager I think I was better off studying subjects that I had a genuine interest in, otherwise I would have found it very hard to motivate myself to study. 
  go to interview...
 
Opera Singer - Sharon Carty
Sharon Carty, Languages ConnectMy advice if you're uncertain about choosing subjects is to choose things you're interested in, rather than what you think will be good for your career. A broad education will serve you really well not only in terms of college options, but also can enrich your life outside of school and work. I have a huge interest in astronomy and loved studying physics in school, and although I'd never have had the talent in Maths to study it at 3rd level or have a career in it, it meant I can really enjoy reading popular science books and keep up with what's going on in space exploration, as a hobby. For Leaving Certificate I studied English, Irish, Maths, Physics, Music, Biology, German and Classical Studies. Looking back, the subjects I did (specifically English, Music, Classics and German) meant that I was well-equipped with a lot of background knowledge that was helpful in my career as a singer, in terms of literature, language and musical training. Without having studied Music at 2nd level, with the wonderful teacher I had, I am 100% certain I wouldn't be a singer today. 
  go to interview...
 
Planetary Scientist - Caitriona Jackman
Caitriona Jackman, Smart Futures

For Leaving Certificate I did the usual English, Irish, Maths, then Physics which I loved, Chemistry which I wasn’t great at (kept breaking stuff in the practicals), French, Geography and Music as an extra. I really enjoyed English actually, and even though a lot of my job involves computer programming and some hard maths and physics, I still rely heavily on my writing skills.

As important as it is to have technical ability in my job, it is still crucial to be able to communicate any results I find. One of the main tasks for me is to write papers for scientific journals, and occasionally to write articles for a more general audience.

My French is also useful because I collaborate with several people from a lab in Paris and they like if I make an effort to speak a bit of French, even though my accent is very embarrassing!

 
  go to interview...
 
Dancer - Megan McEvoy
Megan McEvoy, Languages ConnectAside from English, Irish and maths I did music, French, art and chemistry. I did business studies until the Junior Cert but dropped it then. Although I didn't enjoy business studies I really wish I had kept it on as had I known that I'd be self-employed in the future it would have helped me greatly in terms of tax, loans, self-marketing and starting a business.

Essentially I am now running a small business by being self-employed. While I didn't use French and ended up living in Spain for 4 years I do feel having had a second language in school made picking up Spanish easier for me and I was really willing to learn it. Music of course has helped greatly in my career as there is nothing worse than a dancer who has no sense of musicality. Music has always played a big part in my life and many teachers have commented on my strong sense of musicality through dance. 
  go to interview...
 
 

Course Overview header image

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. You do not need music to progress into a music course in college but, needless to say, it would help.

The syllabus structure has been adopted to provide a fully balanced musical experience central to which is the development of musicality. Studying music at Leaving Cert. provides a vital basis for further education in the area and if students are good at music they can gain valuable points in the Leaving Certificate.

Quick Facts

Performance - Examined in April of 6th year
Listening Paper - Examined in June of 6th year 90 minutes duration

Composition Paper -Examined in June of 6th year 90 minutes duration 


Course Contentheader image

The course consists of three main components: (1) Composing (2) Listening (3) Performance  

Ordinary level

Students will choose one of the three activities to represent 50 per cent, e.g.

  • Performing 50% Composing 25% Listening 25% or…
  • Performing 25% Composing 50% Listening 25% or…
  • Performing 25% Composing 25% Listening 50%

Higher level

Students will undertake additional studies (a Higher level elective in one of the three activities, e.g.: Performing 25% Composing 25% Listening 25% + One Higher level elective 25%.

This will allow Ordinary level and Higher level students to gain up to 50 per cent of the total marks in the musical activity that best suits their talent.

 

Musical Performance:

As mentioned above, you can choose to designate 50% of your assessment to musical performance. If you choose this option you have a few further options open to you:

Perform 6 pieces of music on one instrument

Or 

You can be examined on two instruments. If you choose this option you are required to perform fours pieces of music on each instrument.

Or

You can choose to perform four pieces of music (25%) and be examined in Music Technology (25%). Music Technology involves inputting music into a software package on the computer and being able to perform music edits on it, e.g. add dynamics or tempo markings, or transpose the music. If you have good computer skills, this could be a nice option for you.


Exam Structure header image

Listening Paper 
Examined in June of 6th year
90 minutes duration
Four set works, Irish music and general listening skills.

Composition Paper  
Examined in June of 6th year
90 minutes duration                     
Melody writing and harmony

Performance 
Examined in April of 6th year
Candidates may perform as a soloist or as part of a group or both.

Ordinary Level: 2 pieces on one instrument and one unprepared test.

Higher Level: 3 pieces on one instrument and one unprepared test
OR 2 pieces on each of two instruments and one unprepared test

 

Electives for extra 25%: Higher Level only Each candidate must choose one of the above components to study for this extra credit. The majority tend to opt for a Performance elective.

Listening Elective: The candidate must work on a music project over the course of 5th and 6th year. They must submit some work to the State Examinations Commission and sit an extra written paper in June.

Composition Elective: The candidate must undertake a large scale composition to be submitted to the Examinations Commission in their final year.

Performance Elective: This involves a more substantial performance during the examination period in April of 6th year.


Career Possibilities header image

Music is useful for media work or studies, primary teaching, sound engineering, public relations, library work, speech therapy, film, physical education, communications, production, performance and music at third level.

Note: Students are required to be able to read music to study this subject. Little knowledge of music theory or history is not a problem, but a working knowledge of a musical instrument (piano, guitar, voice etc.) is essential. 



Career Guidance