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Departmental Aims

Dominican College has a flourishing Music Department, with a large number of pupils enjoying tuition from specialist Peripatetic Teachers in orchestral instruments, piano, guitar, drums and solo singing.


Students have modern facilities to enhance and develop their musical ability including two classrooms with piano keyboards, a Music Technology Room kitted out with Apple Mac Computers and Sibelius Music Software, and five Peripatetic/Group rooms.


Mrs E Caraher (HoD)

Miss N McCloskey

Choir in Cabra.jpg

Music Ensembles

The Music Department puts great emphasis on extra-curricular activities and students are encouraged to participate in these.  There is an enormous variety of vocal and instrumental ensembles ranging from larger groups to smaller ad hoc ensembles. These are listed below:

Senior Choir

Junior Choir

Senior Orchestra

String Orchestra

Junior Orchestra

Flute Ensemble

Chamber Choir

Traditional Group

Our departmental aim is to support students to reach their full musical potential.  Students have the opportunity to learn an instrument from Grade 1 continuing through to Grade 8.  Students are prepared to undertake their practical and theory graded examinations through UK certified boards including Trinity College London and the Associated Board.  They may also take exams in Musical Theatre Performance and Traditional Music.  We are extremely proud of our achievements in this subject and our students have enjoyed success at a variety of competitions and events at all levels.

Music is compulsory in the curriculum from Year 8 to 10.  At Key Stage 3 students develop their musical skills through a wide variety of activities which incorporate listening, performing, composing and appraising.  In Year 11 students may opt for Music as a GCSE subject and following this they may continue their studies at AS and A2 level.

Key Stage 3

The units of work undertaken are designed to reflect and fulfil the Northern Ireland Curriculum at Key Stage 3:

Year 8

Musical Theory, Instruments of the Orchestra, The Elements of Music.

Year 9

Musical Theory, Fanfares, Rhythm and Pulse, Exploring Musical Structures.

Year 10

Exploring Blues/Jazz, Film Music, Musicals.

Key Stage 4

The GCSE Music specification is for everyone who loves all facets of music: composing, playing an instrument, listening to music, or using music technology.  It encourages students to develop their musical potential by focusing on performing, composing and listening.


Students explore a range of music, including Classical, Pop, Film, and Irish Traditional Music.  This wide range of genre deepens their appreciation of the diverse heritage of music and promotes their personal, social, intellectual and cultural development.


In the performance element of GCSE Music, students develop the skills they need to communicate effectively as musicians. This element of the course increases their self-confidence and enhances their communication skills.  The opportunity to write their own music encourages them to be creative.  The GCSE Music qualification also builds on their ICT skills in composition as they use the Sibelius Software Programme.


The specification is a linear qualification: students take their examination at the end of Year 12.


The NI CCEA Specification has three components:


  • Component 1: Performing and Appraising

  • Component 2: Composing

  • Component 3: Listening and Appraising.


Specification Snapshot link:


Music at A Level

The GCE AS/A2 Music specification enables students to create and perform music which expresses their own interests and style.


This specification is available at two levels: AS and A2.  Students can take the AS units plus the A2 units for a full A level qualification.  They can also choose to take the AS course as a stand-alone qualification.


In the AS and A2 units, students study music from the Baroque, Classical and Romantic eras, right through to popular musicals and sacred vocal styles.  Students who continue to A2 will get to explore, in greater depth, the orchestral music of the twentieth century alongside secular and sacred vocal music spanning over 400 years.  Students at A2 continue to develop their instrumental or vocal skills, and they have the opportunity to compose music in a form and style of their choice.


The specification has three units at AS and three units at A2:


  • Unit AS/A2 1: Performing

  • Unit AS/A2 2: Composing

  • Unit AS/A2 3: Responding to Music.


The AS units make up 40% of the full qualification, and the A2 units make up 60%.


Specification Snapshot Link:

Careers with a degree in Music

Why study Music at university?

A degree in Music is both intellectually and musically demanding but immeasurably rewarding.  It requires you to engage in a broad range of practical and intellectual activities including performance, composition, improvisation, analysis and research.


Studying Music at university also allows you to grow as a performing musician.  You will experience a wealth of opportunities to develop your musical skills with leading professional performers and composers.


At the same time a music degree enables you to develop a high level of professional and transferable skills which, coupled with academic excellence, is greatly appreciated by a broad range of employers, helping you to succeed in your future career.

What jobs can a Music degree lead to?

Graduates who want to use their Music degree in their work often progress to become self-employed musicians, performers, composers, teachers, academics, music therapists, studio-managers or sound engineers.

Other opportunities related to music include arts administration, music production, specialist magazine journalism, music librarianship or music publishing.


The wide range of transferable skills that you will have as a Music graduate, however, means that you can easily move into the career or training pathways that are open to graduates of any discipline such as law, education, management, marketing, journalism, events management and IT.


Many graduates go into teaching – allowing them to continue playing music while passing on their enthusiasm and knowledge to others.

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