• Reflect the overall aims of Holy Trinity College.

  • Develop pupils’ musical ability.

  • Create an atmosphere in which the pupils’ learning experiences in the music class is a happy and enjoyable one.

  • Give pupils the opportunity to experience the making of, and responding to, music.

  • Enhance self-esteem by encouraging the growth of pupils’ own sets of values.

  • Enhance the creativity of pupils by stimulating talent, curiosity and imagination.

  • Create tasks suitable to the attainment of the pupil.



These aims, which incorporate the key elements of the Programme of Study for Key Stage 3, will be met by working through a range of topics/units of work, throughout the academic year

Departmental Staff

Miss Roisin McCurry: (Head of Department)

Mr Plunkett McGartland


Curriculum Key Stage 3 (Years 8, 9 and 10)


“All children are potentially musical.”

“The fundamental aim of the music curriculum is to develop pupils’ musical ability.”



These opening sentences from the Northern Ireland Curriculum (The Arts: Music) for music encapsulate the philosophy against which the quality of provision in music should be judged.  The curriculum aims to develop the pupil as an individual; as a contributor to society and finally as a contributor to the economy and environment.


Pupils are involved in the process of music-making, working as musicians and engaged in ‘musical thinking’. They develop musical concepts and skills through:


Listening to music

Composing music

Performing music


LISTENING – provision is made for pupils to listen to both live and recorded music and to develop the ability to describe and discuss what they hear.  Pupils have the opportunity to listen to and appraise their own music and that of others.  Pupils also have the opportunity to listen to a wide range of music of different styles and genres and have the opportunity to respond critically to what they hear.


COMPOSING – pupils have opportunities to experiment with sounds to enable them to develop and refine compositions.  They have the opportunity to improvise, compose and perform music in a range of styles.  It would be hoped that the pupils would use existing and emerging music technology resources when composing. 


PERFORMING – pupils have the opportunity to perform individually and in small and large groups.  They will have the opportunity to discuss and decide on points of interpretation in their own music.


Music learning only takes place in an environment which is conductive to creative, practical activity.


Pupils are encouraged to extend their musical interests and abilities through extra-curricular activities.



Curriculum Key Stage 4 (Years 11/12)


GCSE Music


Experiences in music at Key Stage 4 continue to foster pupils’ musical potential and personal development by building upon the knowledge, skills and understanding which they have acquired through following appropriate and relevant programmes of study for music at Key Stage 3. They provide a foundation for the subsequent development of specialism within the subject. 



All courses in music at Key Stage 4 enable pupils to develop musical skills, knowledge and understanding. Their experiences of composing, performing and appraising should be interactive so that a coherent and holistic musical education is acquired.



Pupils will explore four areas of study:

This specification gives students opportunities 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 informed judgements about musical quality;

  • develop a lifelong interest in music; and

  • learn about music-related careers.


In GCSE Music, students must complete one compulsory area of study: Repeated Patterns in Music. They must also complete two optional areas of study from a choice of three. The optional areas of study are:

  • Musical Traditions in Ireland;

  • Incidental Music; and

  • Vocal Music.


The areas of study cover a wide range of musical styles and genres from around 1650 to the present day. We have chosen the set pieces as typical examples from this period.

Students are assessed on their ability to:

  • compose and appraise;

  • perform and appraise; and

  • listen and appraise.


The musical content of the pieces identified for aural study within these areas should be used to develop candidates’ aural perception skills and to stimulate composing, performing and appraising activities.  These will help develop candidates’ knowledge and understanding:

  • The use of musical elements

  • The use of resources

  • The contextual influences that affect the way music is created, performed and heard.



Candidates will also develop awareness of the ICT related issues set out in the syllabus.




Composing is a coursework activity which the teacher will assess initially. The composing component of the course provides opportunities for candidates to manipulate, experiment with and organise the elements of music to create something which is original for the candidate.


Compositions must be submitted in the form of a written score and/ or recording on CD or minidisk and be accompanied by a commentary in accordance with the outline set out in the Scheme of Assessment.


Pupils are required to submit two compositions with commentaries. At least one of the pieces must be the outcome of one area of study-related task.



Performing is an activity which will be assessed by the department and moderated by CCEA.  The performances are recorded and marked by CCEA.  The performing component of the course provides opportunities for the candidates to show off their skills at playing a particular instrument.



Key Stage 5 Curriculum (Years 13/14)


BTEC Level 3 Diploma in Music (Performing)


The BTEC qualifications in this specification are QCF level 3 qualifications designed to provide highly specialist, work-related qualifications in a range of vocational sectors. They give learners the knowledge, understanding and skills that they need to prepare for employment. These qualifications accredit the achievement for courses and programmes of study for full-time or part-time learners in schools, colleges and other training provider organisations. The qualifications provide career development opportunities for those already in work, and progression opportunities to higher education, degree and professional development programmes within the same or related areas of study, within universities and other institutions.



Pupils will complete 12 units during Year 13 and 14.  

Holy Trinity College 9-29 Chapel Street Cookstown / email:

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