Music

Music

Music is regarded as important at St Mary’s. The central philosophy has always been to involve as many individuals as possible, in as many areas as may be provided, to the highest standard attainable.

The musical life of St Mary’s may be viewed as two parallel aspects - curricular activities and extra-curricular activities. Each tends to complement the other.

For a list of performing groups, please see the extra-curricular section.

Teaching Staff:

  • Mrs C Morris-Spillane (HOD)
  • Ms K Porter
  • Ms D Murphy

Peripatetic Tutors:

  • Mr Aide McElduff (Drums and Percussion)
  • Mrs Christine Fitzpatrick (Violin, Viola, Music Technology and DJing)
  • Mrs Nicola Foy (Piano and Cello)
  • Mr Eugene Ward (Acoustic Guitar, Electric Guitar and Bass Guitar)
  • Ms Claire McDaniel (Woodwind)
  • Mr Brendan Loughran (Irish Traditional Instruments)

Curriculum:

In St Mary’s Music is studied by all pupils from Year 8 to Year 10. In Key Stage Three we try to ensure a progression of skills, which include Listening and Appraising, Composing and Performing. This gives us a good basis on which to start the GCSE course in Year 11. Music is studied to AS and A Level also, with most candidates attaining A-C Grades in external examinations.

I.T is used in nearly all aspects of the music course. Years 13 and 14 have a class in the recording studio each week to develop multi-track recording techniques and skills. They use Logic-pro and Garageband. Composition classes for Year 11-12 are held in a computer suite and classes have the opportunity to use Sibelius software to create their own pieces. Year 8-10 also use their Samsung tablet to create, perform and record music using Walkband, Real Guitar and Real Piano apps. This greatly enhances their music making opportunities.

Facilities and Resources:

The Music Department building is the left full wing of the front of the school. It is a purpose-built unit with 3 large classrooms, a recording studio and 5 practice rooms.

St Mary’s have instruments which are made available to pupils to borrow, on request for lessons.

Instrumental Lessons:

For many years the instrumental lessons in St Mary’s have been subsidised by the school, ensuring that all pupils inclusively can avail of specialist tuition.

All pupils are encouraged to learn a musical instrument and all Year 8 pupils can opt to play an instrument from the moment they start at the school.

There are currently over one hundred and twenty pupils taking individual music lessons on instruments such as piano, violin, viola, cello, guitar, flute, clarinet, saxophone, drums, tin whistle, Irish flute, Irish traditional fiddle and accordion.

The Music Department enters pupils for Associated Board and Rock School examinations and pupils are encouraged to progress their performance skills formally through the above examining boards.

Music technology and DJ lessons are also available.

Educational Opportunities:

Each year the Music Department enter into The Hollywood Festival.
Pupils attend various talks and performances at Queen’s University.
In 2014 four hundred and fifty pupils performed to a sold out Ulster Hall.

Extra-Curricular Music at St Mary's:

In the Music Department there are many performing groups. These include:
  • The Junior Singers - around 40 members that meet two lunchtimes per week 1pm. Years 8-10
  • The Orchestra - around 20 members that meet on a Tuesday and Thursday morning 8.15am. Years 8-14
  • The Rock Bands - around 4 groups meet at various lunchtimes 1pm. Years 11-14
  • The Recorder Group - around 30 members meet Tuesday lunchtime
  • The Woodwind Ensemble - around 7 members meet Friday lunchtime 1pm. Years 11-14
  • The Traditional Group - around 15 members meet Wednesday lunchtime 1pm. Years 8-14
  • The String Group - around 8 members meet one mornings and a lunchtime 1pm. Years 8-14
  • The DJ Club – around 25 members meet one lunchtime 1pm. Years 8-14

All of the above groups participate in The Spring Concert which takes place annually. In 2014 this concert took place in The Ulster Hall and we hope to do this again in the near future. Various groups are involved in events throughout the year; Carol Services, Open Nights and Prize Nights.