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3 Draft Leaving Certificate specifications consultations

3 Draft Leaving Certificate specifications consultations

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Expectations for students

Expectations for students is an umbrella term that links learning outcomes with annotated examples of student work in the subject or short course specification. When teachers, students or parents looking at the online specification scroll through the learning outcomes, a link will sometimes be available to examples of work associated with a specific learning outcome or with a group of learning outcomes. The examples of student work will have been selected to illustrate expectations and will have been annotated by teachers. The examples will include work that is   

  • Exceptional
  • Above expectations
  • In line with expectations.

The purpose of the examples of student work is to show the extent to which the learning outcomes are being realised in actual cases. 


Learning outcomes


Learning outcomes are statements that describe what knowledge, understanding, skills and values students should be able to demonstrate having studied music in junior cycle. The learning outcomes set out in the following tables apply to all students. As set out here they represent outcomes for students at the end of their three years of study. The specification stresses that the learning outcomes are for three years and therefore the learning outcomes focused on at a point in time will not have been ‘completed’ but will continue to support the students’ learning in music up to the end of junior cycle. 

To support the exploration of the learning outcomes by teachers, parents and students, a glossary of the action verbs used in the specification is included in Appendix A. The outcomes are numbered within each strand. The numbering is intended to support teacher planning in the first instance and does not imply any hierarchy of importance across the outcomes themselves, nor does it suggest an order to which the learning outcomes should be developed in class. Junior cycle music is offered at a common level. The examples of student work linked to learning outcomes will offer commentary and insights that support differentiation and inclusive classroom practices. 

Students learn about Students should be able to
1 Creating and exploring
  1. 1.1

    compose and perform or play back short musical phrases and support these phrases by creating rhythmic/melodic/harmonic ostinati to accompany them

  2. 1.2

    create and present a short piece, using instruments and/or other sounds in response to a stimulus

  3. 1.3

    design a harmonic or rhythmic accompaniment, record this accompaniment and improvise over this recording

  4. 1.4

    indicate chords that are suitable to provide harmonic support to a single melody line

Students learn about Students should be able to
2 Participating and music-making
  1. 1.5

    read, interpret and play from symbolic representations of sounds

  2. 1.6

    listen to and transcribe rhythmic phrases of up to four bars and melodic phrases of up to two bars

  3. 1.7

    perform music at sight through playing, singing or clapping melodic and rhythmic phrases 

  4. 1.8

    rehearse and perform pieces of music that use common structural devices and textures

  5. 1.9

    demonstrate an understanding of a range of metres and pulses through the use of body percussion or other means of movement

Students learn about Students should be able to
3 Appraising and responding
  1. 1.10

    discuss the characteristics and defining features of contrasting styles of music represented in the local school or community 

  2. 1.11

    illustrate the structure of a piece of music through a physical or visual representation

  3. 1.12

    indicate where chord changes occur in extracts from a selection of songs

  4. 1.13

    compare different interpretations or arrangements of a piece of Irish traditional or folk music, paying attention to musical elements and other influences

  5. 1.14

    compare pieces of music that are similar in period and style by different composers from different countries

Students learn about Students should be able to
1 Creating and exploring
  1. 2.1

    experiment and improvise with making different types of sounds on a sound source and notate a brief piece that incorporates the sounds by devising symbolic representations for these sounds

  2. 2.2

    create a musical statement (such as a rap or an advertising jingle) about a topical issue or current event and share with others the statement's purpose and development

  3. 2.3

    adapt excerpts/motifs/themes from an existing piece of music by changing its feel, style, or underlying harmony

Students learn about Students should be able to
2 Participating and music-making
  1. 2.4

    rehearse and present a song or brief instrumental piece; identify and discuss the performance skills and techniques that were necessary to interpret the music effectively

  2. 2.5

    prepare and rehearse a musical work for an ensemble focusing on co-operation and listening for balance and intonation; refine the interpretation by considering elements such as clarity, fluency, musical effect and style

  3. 2.6

    design a rhythmic or melodic ostinato and add layers of sound over the pattern as it repeats, varying the texture to create a mood piece to accompany a film clip or sequence of images 

  4. 2.7

    create and present some musical ideas using instruments and/or found sounds to illustrate moods or feelings expressed in a poem, story or newspaper article

Students learn about Students should be able to
3 Appraising and responding
  1. 2.8

    analyse the chordal structure of excerpts from a range of songs and compile a list of songs with similar chord structures and progressions

  2. 2.9

    distinguish between the sonorities, ranges and timbres of selections of instruments and voices; identify how these sounds are produced and propose their strengths and limitations in performance

  3. 2.10

    develop a set of criteria for evaluating a live or recorded performance; use these criteria to complete an in-depth review of a performance

  4. 2.11

    evaluate the impact that technology is having in how we access music; propose ways that their music and that of their fellow students can be shared to reach a global audience

Students learn about Students should be able to
1 Creating and exploring
  1. 3.1

    collaborate with fellow students and peers to produce a playlist and a set of recordings to accompany a local historical event or community celebration

  2. 3.2

    examine and interpret the impact of music on the depiction of characters, their relationships and their emotions, as explored in instrumental music of different genres

  3. 3.3

    make a study of a particular contemporary or historical musical style; analyse its structures and use of musical devices, and describe the influence of other styles on it

Students learn about Students should be able to
2 Participating and music-making
  1. 3.4

    compose and perform an original jingle or brief piece of music for use in a new advertisement for a product, and record the composition

  2. 3.5

    devise and perform examples of incidental music that could be used in a variety of contexts or environments 

Students learn about Students should be able to
3 Appraising and responding
  1. 3.6

    associate/match music excerpts to a variety of texts (words, film, language) and justify the reasons as to why this piece of music was chosen to match the text

  2. 3.7

    compare compositions by two or more Irish composers or songwriters; use listening, background reading, and scores (where appropriate) to explain and describe differences and similarities in the compositions

  3. 3.8

    select a particular advertisement and analyse the role music plays in supporting the message and promoting the product

  4. 3.9

    investigate the influence of processing effects (e.g. distortion, reverb, compression) on the recording process; select some recordings and evaluate the use and effectiveness of such effects within them

  5. 3.10

    discuss the principles of music property rights and explain how this can impact on the sharing and publishing of  music 

  6. 3.11

    explore the time allocated to Irish artists and performers on a variety of local or national Irish media and present these findings to their class

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