Leaving Certificate Music

Year after year, music is statistically the "easiest" leaving cert student with a whopping 95% of higher level students getting an honour. However it must be remembered that this statistic probably reflects the fact that most students who choose to do higher level music have been playing music for a long time and so have a higher chance of doing well.

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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



17 Topics for Music

17 Past papers for Music

Music Discussions

Resources for Ordinary Music