Music is offered as a choice subject from 1st Year to 6th Year. Both Junior and Leaving Cert Music are offered as an exam subject. TY Music is available to all students.
In 1st Year, students sample certain choice subjects for two weeks at the beginning of the first term. Music is offered along with Technology, Business Studies, Art, Materials Technology (Wood). Students choose two subjects and classes are formed in November.
Music is divided into three areas.
For Junior Certificate, 25% of the total marks are awarded to performing. This rises to 50% for the Leaving Certificate which makes it an excellent subject choice for students who already play an instrument. The practical exams are held around Easter every year. In the past few years, Music has an excellent record in high results with upwards of 96% of Higher Level Students securing an honour.
Music in St Gerald’s College
Although a small department, music students in St Gerald’s have the opportunity to take part in several musically based activities throughout the year. Each year we try to vary the activities. Music students play at various Masses throughout the year, most notably Opening School and De La Salle Day. All music students sing in the school choir or play for these occasions. Students have participated in Scór na nÓg, Siansa, 2fm School of Rock competitions, Fleadh Ceoil, EPTA Piano Festival, Our Schools Got Talent as well as local Battle of the Band competitions. The school very proudly produced its first ever musical in 2006-‘Joseph and the amazing Technicolor dream coat’. This was followed by ‘Honk’ in 2012. We have also hosted Carol Services and Trad days in the past including raising money with ‘Trad for Trócaire’. As classes are small, students get individual attention and are encouraged to reach their potential by working hard and taking part in all musical activities. Students are encouraged to join local musical groups in and around Castlebar e.g. Mayo Youth Orchestra, Comhltas, Youth Choir etc
Music classes go on various musical education trips over the six years. These include the Colman Irish Music Centre, National Concert Hall and local theatres such as T.F. and the Linenhall Arts Centre. We invite in speakers in various topics as well as having master-classes in choir e.g. with Ann Barry and ensemble e.g. with Mary Curran. We invite past pupils who are studying music back to speak about their college experiences. Students have the also have the opportunity to participate in locally organised workshops e.g. Rhythms of the World with Robbie Harris in Turlough House or we invite musicians to host workshops for us e.g. Samba Drumming with Anthony McNamee
Taking Music as a Junior or Leaving Certificate subject is highly recommended for any students who already play musical instruments. It is also an excellent option for any students who enjoy singing or who are interested in Music
Junior students have a weekly practical class where they learn to play orchestrally arranged pieces. Our Junior ensemble is comprised of students from 1st to 4th Year and includes instruments from all sections of the orchestra. Masterclasses/workshops are arranged from time-to-time.
Our choir has been growing from strength to strength in recent years. We now have three part TTB or TBB choir. We compete at the Annual Sligo Choral Festival in November. We have been asked to perform with the Reading Male Voice Choir to launch the Mayo Choral Festival 2013 in May. Senior choir is open to all music students in TY, 5th and 6th Year.
Our Trad Group practice Thursday lunchtimes in the Music Room. This enthusiastic group have been very busy this year. They raised €160 through Trad for Trócaire, they entertained the guests at the official opening of the new extension and they played at Open Night. All trad players of any instrument and any level are welcome.
Music Technology is available as an option for Leaving Cert Music as part of Performance examination. Both Finale and MuseScore are offered to Music Students in St Gerald’s in both the Computer Room and in the DCG Room. Students are encouraged to publish their own compositions using Music Technology software.
We are building up a bank of instruments which are available for student use in the school. At present we have guitars, violins, recorders, tin whistles, a cello, a banjo, two pianos and a variety of percussion. There is a Keyboard Room with four full size keyboards available to students to practice piano/keyboard at lunchtime.
Annual Spring Recital:
The highlight of our year is our Annual Spring Recital held in the Linenhall Arts Centre in Castlebar. This gives our students from 1st to 6th Year an opportunity to showcase their talents to the wider community. A range of talent is on show, the Senior Choir, Soloists, the Junior Ensemble, the Trad Group, Duets, Trios, Bands and even Irish dancing. It is truly a wonderful night of music and song which is hugely anticipated each year.
Samba Drumming was introduced in to TY Music in 2012. Initially the drums were borrowed from Mayo Education Centre but we are now looking into purchasing our own set. Samba Drumming gives every TY Student the opportunity to be involved in Music Making whether having had musical experience or not. TY Music students also participate in Choral Singing as part of this module. They learn how to read music and sing in two or three parts.
Music Student of the Year Award
Every year we award one Leaving Cert student who we feel has contributed the most, over his six years, to the musical life in the school.
Past winners include:
2003: Tommy O’Hora
2008: Darragh Healy
2010: Paul Cecchetti
2011: Kevin Barry
2012: Jack Boyle
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