Music has a strong presence in St. Mary’s Secondary School. The Junior & Senior Cycle Music course has been specifically devised to suit the entire range of student aptitude and ability. The course has been created to enable all students to acquire musical skills suited to their age, varying abilities and musical experiences.

Aim: To encourage the development of musical creativity, sensitivity and potential through active involvement in performing, composing and listening to music.

Curriculum: All First Year students sample music as part of a taster module. Lack of instrumental skill should not put any student off taking Music. Students that decide to study music will be taught the ukulele in class and are also involved in class-based singing.

‘’Music gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and charm and gaiety to life and to everything” - Plato

Junior Certificate ExamPerforming – 30%(The practical exam takes place in March/April) Written paper – 70%. During this assessment, students will be required to engage with, demonstrate comprehension of, and provide written responses to stimulus material that include listening and composing skills.

Leaving CertificateThe Leaving Certificate Music syllabus provides continuity and progression from Junior Certificate Music. Students build on the skills and knowledge obtained at junior cycle and achieve a greater understanding and appreciation of  listening, composing and performing skills.

Leaving Certificate ExamThe exam is based around the three components: Listening (25%)Composing (25%)Performing (25%)Students choose one of these three components to complete the remaining 25% of the exam.

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

Transition Year: The school offers two main music modules for Transition Year which include a musical drama module and an instrument learning and performing module( guitar/ukulele). 


  1. Do I need to play an instrument outside school to study music for the Junior Certificate? No, students that decide to study music will be taught the ukulele in class and are also involved in class-based singing. Some students decide to take up an instrument after they choose music as a subject but this is not a necessity.
  2. Can I do music if I don’t want to sing? Yes, although class based singing is taught in class, it is not necessary to sing for the practical exams in music.
  3. Do I have to perform on my own for my practical exam? No, at Junior Cert you can opt to perform in a group.
  4. Is music a recognised subject for the Junior Certificate and Leaving Certificate?

Yes, music is a recognised subject for both the Junior Certificate and Leaving Certificate.

Some benefits of studying Music: 

  • An enjoyable subject like music can keep students interested and engaged in school.
  • Music can help with the development of Maths and memorization skills.
  • Increased coordination: Students who practice with musical instruments can improve their hand-eye coordination.
  • Recent studies have shown that people who are musically trained have better working memory skills
  • Learning music also requires significant levels of concentration, training children to focus their attention for sustained periods.
  • Learning music teaches children to work towards short-term goals, develop routine and practice self-discipline. Setting aside regular time for practice develops commitment and patience.
  • Music can give children a way to express themselves, to unleash their creativity, to be inspired and uplifted, to relax, and to relieve stress and tension.
  • Making music with other people (like in the Open House orchestra or choir) improves children’s social and emotional skills. They learn to work together as a team and develop their sense of empathy with others.

We value the development of self-expression and creativity as a key part of the girls’ academic and personal development. Other musical activities that support this are:

  1. The Open House orchestra performs as part of the Open House school event.

  2. Choir is timetabled for first years. The School Choir is made up from the music classes and performs for the school community at certain events throughout the school year. COVID restrictions are due to be lifted on singing this year.

  3. The TY Musical until COVID-19 restrictions had been a major calendar event for all concerned. This was held in early December.  

  4. There are opportunities for creativity and performance at various school concerts throughout the year.