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Leaving Cert English Paper 1 Essays On Music

The teacher from Dublin’s Institute of Education said it was “lively and imaginative” and rewarded candidates for close study of the language.

Simultaneously, it invited them to reach beyond their prepared material into creative expression and exploration, consistent with the paper’s general theme of Journeys,” he said.

In a year that marked the centenary of 1916 and the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death, he said the paper was expected to have some historical character and “these expectations were creatively managed by making Journeys, not only historical, but also geographical, intellectual and aeronautical, the general theme.”

Mr Lusby said there was a colourful range of genres in the selection of the texts presented for analysis, which included an extract from Irish writer Sara Baume’s debut novel, a speech by Barack Obama on space exploration, and an extract from a book on Shakespeare’s universal appeal, which established interesting links with the Shakespeare plays set for Paper 2.

“That is a welcome development which goes a little towards integrating the two English papers,” he said.

He described the questions set on these texts as both “more stimulating and more-ranging than in recent years.  In particular, the questions on style drew fairly on a candidate’s knowledge of aspects of genre.”

Mr Lusby was also impressed with Question B, which he described as “more imaginative than in recent years, and also more helpfully detailed in the descriptions of the tasks” , which included a speech announcing the results of a poster competition, a pitch for a film-making competition, and a blog criticising the amounts of public money spent on space travel.

And there was no surprise in the compositions section, with the expected range offered: “Each task was well thought-out, carefully expressed and stimulating,” he said.

Leaving Certificate English Ordinary Level  candidates started the exams with a “friendly, accessible paper that most will have enjoyed tackling, said teacher Jim Lusby of Dublin’s Institute of Education.

He said Paper 1 offered an 'interesting choice' this year, confining the texts offered for comprehension to a single genre of writing, the diary. 

“Since the diary is personal and can take many forms, such as the blog and the video, the genre has particular relevance to contemporary students,“ he said.

Topics covered in the set tasks included travel, history, writing and personal experience, making it a wide-ranging, but accessible examination, said Mr Lusby.

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50% of the marks are awarded by April, which means Music is a little less to worry about when it comes to exam time. 

Music Course Content

  • Composing  
  • Listening   
  • Performance  

The Exam

Listening Paper  (25%)

In June of 6th year, a 90 minute long test where you are tested on four set works, Irish music and general listening skills.

Composition Paper   (25%)
In June of 6th year, a 90 minute long test where you are tested on Melody writing and harmony

Performance   (25%)

In June of 6th year, a test where you perform as a soloist or as part of a group or both.
Higher Level: 3 pieces on one instrument and one unprepared test OR 2 pieces on each of two instruments and one unprepared test
Ordinary Level: 2 pieces on one instrument and one unprepared test.

Electives 25% - Higher level only
You must choose one of the above parts to study for this extra credit.  Most people (97%) go for the Performance elective.

Listening Elective: You must work on a music project over the course of 5th and 6th year and submit some work to the State Examinations Commission and sit an extra written paper in June.

Composition Elective: You must undertake a large scale composition to be submitted to the Examinations Commission in your final year.

Performance Elective: This involves a more substantial performance during the examination period in April of 6th year.

Future Careers with Leaving Certificate Music

This subject is not an essential requirement for any courses in the CAO system. Future careers can include Artist, Musician, Actor, performer. 

Download the leaving cert Music Syllabus

Download the leaving cert Music Chief examiner's report (2012) 

Download the leaving cert Music Guidelines for Teachers



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