Music Department

Aims and Objectives

The aims and objectives of the Junior and Leaving Certificate music syllabuses are to promote and develop the musical talents of our students. The courses are so designed that each student is obliged to perform a short recital on their chosen instrument or voice - four pieces for Junior Certificate and up to six pieces for Leaving Certificate. This is balanced by a study of set works and songs, and a knowledge of harmony, composition and Irish music. Leaving Certificate students also have the option to study music technology as part of the curriculum.  

Music is taught as a subject in all forms in the College. Students in Primary and First Form study music for two periods each week where they learn basic rudiments, rhythm, tonic solfa, and songs. In Second Form music may be taken as a choice subject for Junior Certificate, with three class periods each week.

Transition Year students can take music as a choice subject where they join a TY choir or TY music ensemble. They study recording techniques, which involves a visit to a recording studio, and this year's students are making, and learning to play the bodhran - a traditional Irish percussion instrument. It is also a vital year to lay down a strong foundation for those students intending to take music as a Leaving Certificate subject, and this is done through the study of carefully chosen set works, essays and projects on composers.

Leaving Certificate music results have been excellent over the past few years, with six out of ten music students achieving an A grade in 2008...a result that is way above the national average, and all our students to date have taken the Higher Level Paper. Music technology is taught in the College, and, if this option is chosen as a Performing subject, it accounts for 25% of the overall mark.Facilities in the computer room are excellent, with each student having access to their own computer. Music is therefore a great Leaving Certificate choice for those with musical ability in St. Columba's College.

Musical Performance

Performance is an integral part of music making, both for enjoyment, and academic success. There are many opportunities for performance in the College with informal soirees and larger concerts held at regular intervals throughout the term. Our annual Music Prize Concert is adjudicated by an extern examiner, and the standard is rising each year. Music Scholarships are on offer following an open audition in October. The College orchestra attracts instrumentalists from all forms, and rehearsals are held weekly. Our Battle of the Bands is held annually and always proves to be a great success.


The choir have been very active this term Michaelmas 2016. A concert was held in October to commemorate Reverend Bertram Walsh. This comprised of an organ and voice recital by OC Colm Cary and Soprano Angela Hicks. The choir also took part with some memorable anthems. The choir also took part in the Remembrance Service on RTE Television on Sunday November 13th 2016. Choir trips are always important for the spirit of the choir, and they will travel to Amsterdam in December 2016 where they will give three concerts in lovely venues such as the Stichting Oosterkerk adn Saint Nicolaas Basilica.

Mr. Tristan Clarke conducts the choir Sine Nomine, who take part in Matins and Evensong services during the year, and also take part in concerts and other events.

There are a number of concerts and performing opportunities for music students in the College, including a Christmas Concert, a Staff/Pupil Concert, a Music Prize Concert and our annual Gala Concert which is usually held in May.

We aim to stage a musical every couple of years, and past musicals have included Grease, My Fair Lady, Fiddler on the Roof, and most recently Guys and Dolls in November 2015.

Current Music Peripatetic Staff:

Susan Taylor – Piano

Kathy Snowe – Piano

Anna Brady  - Piano and Voice

Mairead Buicke – Voice

Edel Shannon  - Voice

Darren Hatch – Clarinet and Saxophone

Bernadette Robinson – Violin

Alan Grundy  - Guitar

Tina Lawlor – Guitar

Frailan Moran – Percussion

Michelle O’Reilly – Flute

Emer Saunders - Oboe

In short, we hope to instil in our pupils a life-long love of music, and to foster and develop their talents to the best of their ability. 

Geraldine Malone Brady: MA (hons) (Music) LRAM, ARCM Head of Department
Tristan Clarke: BA Mod (hons) French and Music, Primary and First Form Music teacher