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Christina Burke B.Mus Grad. Dip in Ed – Teacher of Junior and Leaving Certificate Music Courses at Maoin Cheoil an Chláir.

‘Music Makes the Difference’

Junior and Leaving Certificate music courses are designed to suit all students of all abilities.

Continuity is maintained from Junior to Leaving Certificate music courses by providing a balanced musical experience integrating aural skills, compositional techniques and performance opportunities.

Students are given the opportunity to perform in a class setting, concerts are arranged at different times throughout the course and invitations to perform at local events are an excellent platform for students to display their talents.

Students study the development of Irish music from a solo traditional art form to the addition of non-traditional influences/fusion of styles and modern-day performing styles heard today.

Prescribed works take students on a ‘Classical’ journey of Mozart’s Piano Concerto in A Major. This is followed by a ‘Romantic’ journey of Symphonie fantastique by Berlioz which features a graceful waltz ‘Un Bal’ followed in stark contrast by a later terrifying movement ‘March to the Scaffold’. A ‘Popular’ element is then introduced by taking a trip with the recording of the album ‘Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band’ by ‘The Beatles’ in 1966/’67. Students final challenge is the comprehension of a contemporary work ‘Seachanges’ by the Achill Island composer – Raymond Deane. Here, they are exposed to dissonance, cluster, disorder, interference, addition/subtraction principles, prime numbers, retrograde, augmentation, diminution, unusual ethnic percussion instruments and unusual instrumental techniques which in turn provides a wonderful insight into the complex musical nature of the masterpiece.

Analysis of these complex works, the fostering and development of aural awareness, a working knowledge of melodic and harmonic composition, together with the provision of performance opportunities enables all students of all abilities to gain the confidence to become the ‘composers’ and ‘performers’ of the future.