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Model School Primary School, Northland Rd, County Londonderry



St Joseph's College has a thriving Music Department where pupils of all ages have the opportunity to be involved in Music in a variety of ways. Music is studied by all pupils in Key Stage 3 and it is an optional subject at GCSE. Music tuition is provided by the Southern Education and Library Board peripatetic music tutors and a range of independent tutors. There is a strong tradition of Irish traditional music in St Joseph's College, and the traditional group has grown since its formation many years ago.

The Department provides opportunities for all pupils from Years 8-12 to come together to enjoy and perform music. Pupils are involved in the preparation of music for the many school liturgies, assemblies and concerts. St Joseph's College has a strong choral tradition and pupils are invited to become members of the school choirs. In addition to the School Choir and Traditional group there are other musical ensembles that perform at a wide range of events both local and beyond. The vision of St Joseph’s Music Department is to meet the needs of all pupils whether they are composers, performers, or those who simply enjoy listening to music.



Key Stage 3 Music Pupils in Key Stage three are introduced to the three musical activities composing, listening and performing. These are the foundations to every Music lesson in St Joseph’s. Pupils are encouraged to listen to music from 1600 to the present day and to be aware of its historical and cultural context. All pupils are introduced to music notation. Through the methods of imitation and improvisation pupils will be encouraged to perform short pieces of music in unison and in harmony. All class music is performed using keyboards, tin-whistles and classroom instruments.

In Years 8, 9 and 10, pupils work as individuals and in groups and enjoy opportunities to arrange and compose short pieces of music which may be enhanced by including orchestral instruments and keyboards. All pupils are given the opportunities to record their class assignments. Music Technology plays a pivotal role in the department and is utilised fully through the use of 1-1 iPads. 

Year 8, 9 and 10 pupils are timetabled for one hour of Music each week.


The topics covered in Year 8, 9 and 10 include:

  • Elements of Music

  • Graphic scores

  • Instruments of the Orchestra

  • Keyboard Skills

  • Rhythm and Pulse

  • World Music (Samba)

  • Music Technology (Sibelius Groovy City, Sibelius, Garageband)

  • Motif to Melody

  • Fanfares

  • Film Music

  • Layers of Sound

  • Chords

  • Music in Advertisements


Key Stage 4

Examination Board: CCEA


The Music course at GCSE aims to help students to:

  • enjoy and appreciate Music through learning to listen, perform, compose and appraise music from a range of different styles and periods of history;

  • acquire skills which will allow them to progress to further academic or vocational study, or to follow a Music-related career.


Course Content

  • Composing and Appraising (Controlled Assessment): Students submit a portfolio of two compositions (lasting between three and six minutes in total) and a logbook. 30%
  • Performing and Appraising (External examiner): Students give a solo and ensemble performance at the end of second year. Each performance lasts up to five minutes each. Students can play any instrument or sing. 35%
  • Listening and Appraising (Examination Paper): This element involves listening critically to a wide range of music from classical to traditional, jazz and pop. Students undertake four areas of study 35%:
  1. Western Classical
  2. Film Music
  3. Musical Traditions in Ireland
  4. Popular Music 1980-Present

Entry Requirements

Students aspiring to study GCSE Music should have some skills in singing and/or playing an instrument. Students should be prepared to perform music of at least grade 3 standard in Year 12 to be able to access the top mark band. Please note that students are not required to have taken any graded examinations but must undertake lessons with a singing/instrumental tutor.

Further information on GCSE Music is available on the CCEA Music Microsite here.