Dominican College
Griffith Avenue, Dublin 9

JC - Music

‘This music specification aims to contribute to the development of artistic awareness and understanding, self-expression, self-esteem, imagination and multicultural sensitivity, and therefore, to the development of the whole person. Students will develop the knowledge, skills and understanding necessary to produce and engage with authentic and original music, that is both theirs and the music of others. In doing so, they will develop the music literacy, critical skills and language necessary to engage with today’s musical world.’ (NCCA, Specifications for Junior Cycle Music, 2017)


The statement Examples of relevant learning:

  • SOL 3: The student creates, appreciates and critically interprets a wide range of texts. Students will explore the creation, appreciation and interpretation of musical texts in various notated formats, including staff notation, graphic notation, using technological means and other appropriate formats.
  • SOL 4: The student creates and presents artistic works and appreciates the process and skills involved. Students will create a range of compositions; capturing and presenting the processes and decisions made through portfolios, manuscripts or other appropriate media.
  • SOL 8: The student values local, national and international heritage, understands the importance of the relationship between the past and current events and the forces that drive change. Students use their musical ideas and outputs to reflect life and living in their own community and the broader context; they consider the role and impact of the past in their musical choices.
  • SOL 16: The student describes, illustrates, interprets, predicts and explains patterns and relationships. Students understand patterns and relationships in music through exploring tonalities, chords, keys and time signatures in a variety of musical experiences. .
  • SOL 23: The student brings an idea from conception to realisation. Students work out a creative concept and decide how to bring it to fruition. This process involves moving through brainstorming, researching, practising, presenting, capturing, evaluating and reflecting.
  • SOL 24: The student uses technology and digital media tools to learn, communicate, work and think collaboratively and creatively in a responsible and ethical manner. Students can use technological and digital media to create collaborative compositions; record and critique group performances and explore the works of composers, while being aware of issues related to copyright and plagiarism.


The specification for Junior Cycle Music focuses on giving students the opportunity to develop their musical knowledge, skills and cultural awareness through the practical and cognitive engagement with music. This can be achieved through the three interconnected strands: Procedural knowledge, Innovate and ideate and Culture and context. A student will experience learning in each of these three strands as they progress through their junior cycle.

Strand 1: Procedural knowledge To explore fully their musical imagination, creativity, and potential requires students to develop their music literacy and skills in a range of ways. Students learn music through engaging in, reflecting upon and evaluating their musical experiences. Through this process, students develop a range of musical skills (technical, aural, analytical and notational) that leads to musical understanding. In this strand, students will develop this procedural knowledge so that they can pursue and realise their possible musical selves and their ideas with confidence. The development of procedural knowledge involves developing a vocabulary in music by learning and using symbols to represent sound, exploring and responding to expressive qualities in music and imagining and creating short musical motifs and soundscapes. It also involves experimenting with elements of music such as pulse, duration, tempo, pitch, dynamics, structure, timbre, texture, style and tonality.

Strand 2: Innovate and ideate In this strand, students draw on their personal experiences and perspectives to develop, refine, showcase and seek feedback on their musical ideas. They develop an awareness of different sounds and the potential of sound for resourcing and generating ideas, and for communicating feelings. Students will innovate and ideate through composing/arranging and performing music for specific purposes, experimenting with music to communicate ideas derived from a variety of stimuli, and collaborating with others to develop and extend musical ideas. Students will make interpretative musical decisions by demonstrating an integrated understanding of music elements and by using technology to innovate and share ideas.

Strand 3: Culture and context The understanding of music in context and its cultural positioning helps to shape our ability to create, participate and appraise the music we engage with. In this strand, students will investigate the contextual and cultural environments that impact on purpose and intent in music. This includes developing an understanding and a knowledge of music in past and present contexts; considering musical works as social commentaries on cultures and peoples; investigating music associated with particular times, places, social groups and feelings and sharing and discussing examples of music experienced at home, at school and in the wider community. While the learning outcomes are set out under strand headings, this should not be taken to imply that the strands are to be studied in isolation. The students’ engagement and learning are optimised by a fully integrated experience across the three strands. To give further emphasis to the integrated nature of learning, the outcomes for each strand are grouped by reference to three elements:

  • Creating and exploring
  • Participating and music-making
  • Appraising and responding. (NCCA, Junior Cycle Music, 2017)




The final examination will consist of a practical examination and a written examination. The practical examination will be allocated 30% of the marks available. The written examination will be allocated 70% of the marks available.

Practical examination:

The practical examination will take place in third year. Students will perform three musical songs/pieces. Solo and group performing may be freely mixed. The songs/pieces may also be presented on a variety of instruments or through a combination of voice and instruments. Technical control, fluency and musicality will be assessed. The standard required will reflect what can be attained in three years class-based tuition.

Students will also take an unprepared test. They will choose from aural memory (rhythmic or melodic), sight-reading (instrumental/vocal/rhythmic) or improvisation. Aural memory and sight-reading tests will be four bars long. In the case of improvisation, students will be required to improvise for at least four bars.

The practical examination will be allocated 30% of the marks available and will be marked by the State Examinations Commission (SEC).

Written examination:

There will be one examination paper at a common level. This paper will be set and marked by the SEC and will be allocated 70% of the marks for the final assessment. The examination will be of one hour 30 minutes duration and will take place at the end of third year. During this assessment, students will be required to engage with, demonstrate comprehension of, and provide written responses to stimulus material.

In any one year, the learning outcomes to be assessed will constitute a sample of the relevant outcomes from the tables of learning outcomes.

*The Composition Portfolio and the Programme Notes are an opportunity to further assist the student on their learning journey over the course of the three years.


Music is a central part of both curricular and extra-curricular life at Dominican College. There are many opportunities to get involved and music is available as a subject at both junior and senior levels.

Click here for the powerpoint presentation made to incoming First Year students in January 2019.

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