Sunday 20 August 2017

Exam hits the right key in 'assessing students' skill level'

LC Music

Fiona O’Sullivan (17) and Ceire Nolan (17) from Our Lady’s College, Greenhills, Drogheda, after their music exam. Picture: Ciara Wilkinson
Fiona O’Sullivan (17) and Ceire Nolan (17) from Our Lady’s College, Greenhills, Drogheda, after their music exam. Picture: Ciara Wilkinson

There was no excuse for melancholy among Leaving Certificate Music students as they left exam halls yesterday, as all composition questions were in a major key, according to teacher Siofra Cox.

She said the papers at both higher and ordinary level were "very clear and straightforward" and the exams constituted "a just and balanced assessment of students' knowledge and skill".

In the listening exam, the main question featured excerpts from the A and C sections of Irish composer Gerald Barry's 'Piano Quartet No.1' and she said students should have found it "manageable".

Ms Cox, a subject representative for the Association of Secondary Teachers Ireland, said higher level students would have been "reasonably challenged" by some sections of questions 2 and 4, where they were required to compare excerpts of music with music which was not played in the exam, testing their familiarity and aural memory of the overall works.

She said higher level students' melodic and rhythmic dictation skills were also put to the test in relation to the vocal line of Queen's 'Bohemian Rhapsody' in question 2.

But, according to Ms Cox, of Convent of Mercy, Roscommon town, there were no surprises in the Irish music question, with what should have been "very approachable topics for the well-prepared student".

Candidates were also treated to excerpts from the symphonic suite 'Scheherazade' by the romantic Russian composer Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, as the previously unheard piece, with a focus on descriptions of musical features of what she described as "a popular piece of programme music".

She said students should have had no problem with the composition papers.

Irish Independent

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