St Columbanus' College

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Head of Department: Mrs R. Kennedy
                                                  Mrs M. Keag
Peripatetic teachers:

  • Mrs K Marston (Vocal)
  • Mr R Gay (Drums)
  • Mrs A McAleer (Piano)
  • Mr B McClean (Traditional Music)

The music block is the place where everybody has the opportunity to express themselves in a fun, creative environment.

As a rockstar, I have two instincts, I want to have fun and I want to change the world. I have had the chance to do both.

- Bono, U2

Subject Information

Music is a combination of sounds, silence, rhythm, pitch, tone, melody and harmony that communicate emotions and ideas. It has great power to excite and to relax us, to bring back memories and to make us feel nostalgic.

Research shows that studying music can help students develop critical thinking, spatial reasoning and cognitive skills. It also helps develop communication skills and encourages creativity and expressiveness. Students who play music as part of a group develop team-working skills, self-discipline, self-esteem and the ability to listen to others.

Music can change the world because it can change people!

- Bono, U2

Key Stage 3

At key stage 3 all pupils have the opportunity to develop skills in performing, composing, listening and appraising. All pupils have one period a week.

In year 8 pupils learn the 3 skills through topics such as musical elements, rhythm, melody, music notation, tribal music, graphic scores.

In year 9, pupils learn the 3 skills through topics such as chords, blues, film music, reggae, pop songs, music and media.

In year 10, pupils learn the 3 skills through topics such as Ground bass variations, music and media, film music, telling the story.

Key Stage 4

At Key Stage 4 we offer a GCSE in CCEA Music.

This course allows pupils to:

  • Develop their knowledge, understanding and appreciation of a range of different kinds of music;
  • Take part in music-making and communicate through music;
  • Develop their creativity;
  • Make judgments about musical quality;
  • Develop a lifelong interest in music;
  • Learn about music-related careers 

Course Description

Areas of Study:

All pupils must study one compulsory area of study: Repeated Patterns in Music. They must also study two optional areas of study: Incidental Music, Vocal Music. The areas of study cover a wide range of musical styles and genres from around 1650 to the present day.  They will learn about 16 different pieces; their background and analysis of each.  Pieces include: Pachelbel – ‘Canon in D Major’, Hans Zimmer – Pirates of the Caribbean, Dead Man’s Chest, ‘Davy Jones Theme’, Stephen Schwartz – Wicked,  ‘What is this feeling?’ and Snow Patrol – ‘Run’.

Assessment Methods

Pupils will be assessed on their ability to:

Compose and appraise (30%): Pupils will create two contrasting compositions one of which must be related to one of the areas of study.

Perform and appraise (35%): Pupils will present one solo performance and one ensemble performance, each lasting up to 5 minutes.  One of the performances must be related to one of the areas of study.  Pupils will also discuss your performance with the visiting CCEA examiner.

Listen and appraise (35%): Pupils will complete one exam which is divided into two parts. Each part lasts approximately 50 minutes.  Part 1 is based on the core area of study: Repeated patterns in music.  Part 2 is based on the optional areas of study: Incidental Music and Vocal music.  Both parts of the exam will contain questions on familiar and unfamiliar music. CCEA sets and marks the exam. This exam will take place at the end of Year 12.


Individual instrumental lessons

College Choir

College Traditional Group

Pupils in the choir and traditional group perform at many occasions both inside and outside the college. They perform for all the liturgical services in college and visit nursing homes in the local community several times each year. The pupils participate in competitions throughout the year.

It’s easy to play any musical instrument: all you have to do is touch the right key at the right time and the instrument will play itself.

- J.S. Bach