Leaving Cert Music: Higher-level students had to negotiate ‘tricky corners’

Tchaikovsky’s Romeo and Juliet Fantasy Overture come up on listening paper

Students may have been thrown by the presentation of a question on this year’s Leaving Cert higher level music paper, but it was otherwise generally straightforward, teachers said.

“There were a few tricky corners to challenge the higher-level students,” said Siofra Cox, Association of Secondary Teachers Ireland subject representative and a music teacher at Scoil Muire Gan Smal in Roscommon.

“Overall the composition questions were quite manageable and students should not have had problems. Tchaikovsky’s Romeo and Juliet Fantasy Overture came up as the main question in the listening paper, and students should have found it manageable.”

Questions two and three in the listening exam were “reasonably challenging”, Ms Cox said.


“They tested their familiarity and aural memory of the overall works. Students would have been happy to see Irish Dance Music as a choice on the essay section. Overall the composition questions were quite manageable.”

Minor key

Dr Susan McCormick, a music teacher at the Institute of Education in Dublin, said that question five, in a minor key, was very similar to the question that appeared on last year’s exam paper.

“It was a nice question. The cadences were clear and the bass line was arpeggiated. Students had to make use of the dominant seventh chord, and there was call for the use of an inversion.”

Earlier, students sat the Leaving Cert design and communication graphics (DCG) exam. Gavin Berry, Teachers’ Union of Ireland representative and a DCG teacher at Coláiste Dún Iascaigh in Cahir, Co Tipperary, said the higher and ordinary level papers were fair overall.

“There was a wide range of topics examined, giving students the chance to showcase their skills.”

Modern architecture

Eóin ÓhAodha, ASTI subject representative and a DCG teacher at Meánscoil Gharman in Enniscorthy, Co Wexford, said the content of the higher level paper was topical and interesting with a particular focus on modern architecture.

“Students seemed happy with it. Three of the short questions related to contemporary buildings. The architectural theme continued in Part B with a question on the modern De Lacy suspension bridge in Drogheda as well as a modern glazed atrium for a hotel.”

Pat Murphy, a DCG teacher at the Institute of Education, agreed that students were happy with the range and standard of interesting questions presented.

The ordinary level paper included a question on the swimming pool structure at the new Centre Parcs holiday resort in Co Longford. Students taking DCG have already completed a project accounting for 40 per cent of their marks.