Leaving Certificate Music consists of three areas; Listening, Composing and Performing. Each area amounts to 25% of the examination and, at higher level, pupils undertake an ‘elective’ [additional work] in one of the three areas to make up the final 25%. Most pupils opt for the Performing Elective.
If you’ve done Junior Certificate Music: There are no set songs but all four set works are examined. In September 2015 for 6th years, the ‘B’ syllabus will consist of works by Mozart, Berlioz, Deane [Irish composer] and the Beatles. In September 2015 for 5th years, the 'A' syllabus will consist of works by Bach, Tchaikovsky, Barry [Irish composer] and Queen. Irish Music is 25% of the Listening Paper. There is no dictation as you know it. Instead you are asked to fill missing notes/rhythms in music on the Listening Paper. Overall, Leaving Certificate Music is a direct ‘follow-on’ from the Junior Certificate and you will not notice a sudden ‘jump’ in level.
If you’ve not done Junior Certificate Music: You may join Music in Fifth year if you can already read music in the treble clef and have a basic understanding of bass clef. If you have been going to regular lessons in an instrument, Grade 4/5 is an acceptable level of performance to begin Fifth year with and you will be able to follow the music in the set material and have sufficient theory to know what is going on in the music being studied, and to learn the required descriptive vocabulary. As an alternative to the ‘double’ performing, some pupils opt for just a core performance of four pieces [max.] and take Music Technology, which involves the inputting and editing of music on a computer. Although some pupils use their out-of-school instrumental pieces for all or half of their performance, you can do a very good performance with songs/ pieces taught in class/choir.