Strabane Academy

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Mrs C. Ryan- Head of Department
Miss K. Kelly

Aim of department

For all pupils to explore music through listening, composing and performing music. Our music department aims to engage all pupils in music by developing1) A knowledge and appreciation of music from many different genres by listening and studying a range of periods of music, composers and styles.2) An enthusiasm for the creative process of composing music by learning about rhythm, melody and harmony.3) A confidence in performing, using classroom percussion and keyboards. Our music department aims to be a welcoming and nurturing environment for all pupils to be able to explore their musical interests and talents in a supportive atmosphere.

Timetable allocation

Key Stage 3 Key Stage 4 Key Stage 5
2 periods per week 5 periods per week 8 periods (at HCC)

 Key Stage 3 Curriculum

Key Themes

Year 8 Term 1 Instruments of the Orchestra and the Elements of Music
Term 2 Rhythm, Pulse & Pattern
Term 3 Pitch
Year 9 Term 1 Rhythm, Time Signatures & Ostinato
Term 2 Pitch, Melody & Form and Keyboards
Term 3 World Music
Year 10 Term 1 Pitch, Rhythm & Keyboards
Term 2 Scales, Chords & Harmony
Term 3 The Blues and Descriptive Music

 Key Stage 4 Curriculum

Year 11 & Year 12

Exam Board: CCEA


Listening, Composing and Performing
GCSE Music all assessed at the end of Year 12

Unit Title Assessment Weighting Availability
Performing External examination assessed by a visiting examiner. 35% Summer
Composing Controlled assessment. 30% Summer
Listening External written examination. 35%


Key Stage 5 Curriculum

Year 13

Exam Board: CCEA


Composing, Performing and Responding to Music

Unit Title Assessment Weighting Availability
Performing Externally assessed by visiting examiner. 32.5% (13% of A Level) Summer
Composing Internally assessed, externally moderated. 32.5% (13% of A Level) Summer
Responding to Music Two external written examinations. 35% (14% of A Level) Summer

Year 14

Exam Board: CCEA


Composing, Performing and Responding to Music

Unit Title Assessment Weighting Availability
Performing Externally assessed by visiting examiner 19.5% Summer
Composing Internally assessed, externally moderated. 19.5% Summer
Responding to Music Two external written examinations. 21% Summer


There are many opportunities for making music at Strabane Academy. The music department runs weekly choir and orchestra rehearsals as well as various other bands and ensembles. Pupils in these groups have the chance to perform at a range of events during the year including

  • Prize Night
  • Carol Service
  • Carol singing in Foyleside, and at Strabane Day Care & Melmount Manor
  • Open night
  • Primary school choir competition

Instrumental and vocal lessons are offered by tutors from the EA music service and through private tutors. Currently we offer lessons from the following tutors

  • Chris Wright (Woodwind and Brass)

  • Maureen McGranaghan (Upper Strings)

  • Naoimh Simpson (Cello)

  • Ronan McKee (Percussion)

  • Marcella Wright (Voice) 

The music department also works alongside other departments to put on annual productions or talent competitions. This has allowed pupils to showcase their talents in singing, playing instruments and acting among other things. In recent years, these have been

  • 2018 – Cinderella
  • 2017 – Search for a Star
  • 2016 – Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat

Pupils sitting GCSE and A Level music have the chance to travel to Londonderry or Belfast to hear the Ulster Orchestra perform, and in the past the school has had opportunities for links with groups such as the Ulster University choir.

Department Successes

GCSE music boasts a 100% A*-C pass rate in 2016 & 2017 and 90% in 2018, results that are sitting well above the NI average.
A number of pupils that sat GCSE music in recent years have gone on to study A level music, or have gone to further education colleges to study music, music technology or performing arts.

Voice examination results 2019

Edwina McAuley (year 14) – Grade 8 Merit

Lauren Crawford (year 14) – Grade 8 Pass

Hannah McAuley (year 9) – Grade 3 Merit

Eve Preston (year 9) – Grade 3 Merit

Rachel Crawford (year9) – Grade 3 Pass

Careers Links

A qualification in music can open up a world of potential career paths. The skills learned in music are highly desirable to employers, showing confidence, an ability to work hard and apply oneself, strong teamwork and many others.
A selection of possible career paths within the music industry include

  • Music Performance (solo, orchestral, band, DJ)
  • Composer
  • Music Production (producer, manager, sound engineer)
  • Music Business (retail, copyright, advertising, manager)
  • Music Publishing (editor, journalist, publisher)
  • Musical Theatre (Musical director, arranger, pit musician)
  • Music Education (Teacher, professor, librarian)
  • Healthcare (music therapist, voice therapist