School Plan for Music

Piercestown National School
Whole School Plan: Music
(including Three Year School Improvement Plan)


1 Introduction
This plan was developed by the teaching staff of Piercestown NS following in-service courses on the subject. Initial work was done on a School Planning Day on 8/12/2004 and the plan was finalised at a similar day on 8/12/2005. The plan was reviewed in early 2013. This review was co-ordinated by postholder Mandy Quirke and was discussed by the whole staff at a meeting on 11th March 2013. It was approved by postholders on 5/6/13 and by the whole staff on 10/6/2013.

It was discussed at a BOM meeting on 25/4/2013 and the Board approved the adoption of a Three Year School Improvement Plan for Music as part of the School Self-Evaluation (SSE) Process.

“It fills me with an awareness of the wonder of life, with a feeling of the incredible marvel of being a human being.” (Pablo Casals on Music)

We developed this plan for the curricular area of music to conform to the principles outlined in the Primary Curriculum. We endorse the aims and objectives of the primary curriculum for music and hope to achieve those aims through the implementation of this plan. Other aims, specific to our school, include:

  • that pupils will have as wide a musical experience as possible
  • that pupils will experience the fun and joy of music
  • that pupils will develop talents and techniques appropriate to their age and ability

    Fifth and Sixth Class pupils took part in the Hallelujah Concert in CityWest on Friday, 6th December 2013. A most enjoyable concert concluded with "Free Nelson Mandela", a tribute to the South African leader who passed away the previous night.

    Fifth and Sixth Class pupils took part in the Hallelujah Concert in CityWest on Friday, 6th December 2013. A most enjoyable concert concluded with “Free Nelson Mandela”, a tribute to the South African leader who passed away the previous night.


Performing Listening & Responding Composing
Jun & Sen Infants Curriculum p19-23Guideline p 98 Curriculum p20-21Guideline 63-64 Curriculum p24-25Guidelines p116-118, 23-24
First & Second Class Curriculum p35-38Guideline p 98 Curriculum p33-34Guideline p 63-69 Curriculum p39-40Guidelines p116-118, 23-24
Third & Fourth Class Curriculum p52-57Guideline p 98 Curriculum p50-51Guideline p 63-69 Curriculum p58-59Guidelines p116-118, 23-24
Fifth & Sixth Class Curriculum p71-76Guideline p 98 Curriculum p68-70Guideline p 63-69 Curriculum p77-78Guidelines p116-118, 23-24

At the start of each year the teachers will familiarise themselves with the objectives for their class and ensure their individual short and long term planning incorporates these objectives. Teachers will report on the learning of their students in the monthly Cuntas Oibre.


BOOKS/TEXTS Other Resources
Junior Infs High Low Dolly Pepper Classical Experience CDUpbeat CD
Senior Infs Music Box You TubeSinging Sherlock

Various CDs

Alive-O Songs

Ruaille Buaille

D’Aon Ghuth

Rang 1 New Music BoxNew Music Box B

Upbeat Music

New Music Box CDUpbeat CD

The Right Note 1st CD

Christmas Carols

Rang 2 Music BoxThe Right Note

Upbeat Music

(Teacher Copies only)

Alive-O CDD’Aon Ghuth
Rang 3 The Right Note (Teacher only) 100 Popular classicsAlive-O

Rabhlaí Rabhlaí

D’Aon Ghuth

New Music Box 3 (CD)

Ar Scoil CD

Children’s Classical Dreams

Rang 4 The Right NoteClassical Music

New Music Box 4

The Classic ExperienceClassic Experience 2

An tAmhránaí Óg

Scoilnet – Music in the Classroom (songs and rhymes from around the world) (guide to orchestra)


Rang 5 Singing Sherlock 1 Recorders
Rang 6 The Right NoteRecorder Rules Pop Show (John Pitts, recorder)Alive-O songs (recorder)


Aileen Foran (SN) The New Recorder Tutor(by Stephen Goodyear)

The School Recorder Book 1

Mandy Quirke (SN) Hymns Old and NewVeritas Hymnal


Traditional Irish Music CDs
Eamonn Barrett (Prin) Singing Sherlock 1Singing Sherlock 2 Wide selection of classical music on CD
School Resources(currently in PE Hall) Percussion BoxChime Bars



4A THREE YEAR PLAN FOR MUSIC (School Self-Evaluation)
FINDINGS: An analysis of Cuntaisí Oibre and interview with teachers indicated that Composing was the strand in Music which required most attention. A survey of our pupils in 2nd-5th Class in May 2013 showed that 63% of pupils felt they were good at composing and that 73% said they enjoyed composing music.

The following areas are prioritised for 2013-2016:

YEAR ONE 2013/14: Composing
YEAR TWO 2014/15: Performing
TEAR THREE 2015/16: Listening and responding


  • that pupils will compose more music
  • that pupils will perform their own compositions
  • that pupils will respond to their own and others’ compositions
  • that the percentage of pupils saying they are good as music will rise from 63% to 90% by June 2016
  • that the percentage of pupils reporting that they enjoy composing music will rise from 73% to 90% by June 2013

Evidence: timetables, teacher’s planning notes, cuntaisí oibre, performances, teacher interviews, pupil surveys

Action Plan: Year One-2013/14 Action by … When …
That the following Elements of Music will be central to the work of teachers and pupils in composing, performing and responding to music:Pulse/Rhythm: underlying throb or beat

Duration: long or short

Tempo: speed, fast, slow

Pitch: high, low, melody

Dynamics: loud, soft

Structure: repetition, pattern, contrast, organisation

Timbre: tone colour, quality of sound

Texture: layers of sound, solo, several instruments

Style: combination of all the elements

Class Teachers
Professional Development:One Croke Park hour per term to be devoted to composing in the classroom setting. Eamonn Barrett Sept 2013Jan 2014

April 2014

In-Class support to be provided as requested by teachers. Eamonn BarrettMandy Quirke Term 1Term 2

Term 3

Planning:Teachers will plan for six weeks per term composing in their Long and short term plans. Class Teachers Long Term Plans in Sept 2013.Short term every fortnight

Cuntas Míosiúil every month

Teaching:Each class will do one module (approximately six weeks) composing during each term. Class Teachers Sept 2013 – June 2014
Performing:Each class will perform their pieces in a variety of settings:

  • in their own class
  • for other classes
  • for other audiences (parents, assembly, church)
Class Teachers Sept 2013-June 2014
All school events will, where possible, contain a piece of music composed by some pupils Class TeachersPost-holder Mandy Quirke

Eamonn Barrett

Fr O’Reilly

throughout the school year
Responding to music:all pupils will respond to their own and others’ compositions using, as much as possible, the language of the elements of music Class TeachersEB at assembly

The elements of music enable the three strands to be linked together. Teachers in all classes will focus on the following elements of music and will teach them holistically in the context of performing, listening and responding, and composing.

Pulse/Rhythm: underlying throb or beat
Duration: long or short
Tempo: speed, fast, slow
Pitch: high, low, melody
Dynamics: loud, soft
Structure: repetition, pattern, contrast, organisation
Timbre: tone colour, quality of sound
Texture: layers of sound, solo, several instruments
Style: combination of all the elements


Pupils will learn Recorder from Fourth Class upwards.
Pupils will perform with Percussion Instruments in all classes.
Pupils in Fifth and Sixth Class will perform on tuned percussion instruments.
Pupils will perform songs in all classes.
Pupils may be recorded as they perform using a digital recorder or Flip Video.

What we can do with a song:

Sing and Enjoy
Chant or whisper
Sing with an inner voice
Sing in canon (rounds)
Partner song
Add ostinato
Add a drone
Play percussion to accompany song

“And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music.” (Nietzsche)

SONGS(suggested on In-service day) Classes for which these songs may be suitable
First you make your fingers click All Classes
Eucalytpus All classes
Nanuma 3rd-6th
Water come to me eye 2nd-6th
Rocky Mountain All classes
Lil Liza Jane 2nd-6th
An Faoileáin 1st-6th class
Partner SongsFrere Jacques & Three Blind Mice

This Old Man & Michael Finnegan

Go Tell & Whole World in his Hands

London Bridge & Pease Pudding

Drunken Sailor & O Sinner Man

All classes



Has it a steady beat?
Are there short notes, long notes, or a mixture?
Is it fast or slow?
Are there any repeated sections?
Name any instrument or family of instruments which you can hear?
Is the music happy or sad?
Give this piece of music a suitable name.

Each teacher will put together a list of music for each class. They may then be burned onto a CD. Suitable music from the internet for listening and responding will be sourced by the teachers.

Listening to background music at different times, e.g. after break, during art lessons, etc, is strongly encouraged.

Principal will organise an annual series of Music Appreciation Classes in the hall using our school sound system.

“Lend your ears to music, open your eyes to painting, and … STOP THINKING! Just ask yourself whether the work has enabled you to ‘walk about’ into a hitherto unknown world. If the answer is ‘yes’, what more do you want?” (Wassily Kandinsky, 1910)


Each teacher will teach the composing strand.
The following will be useful during composing lessons:

  • body percussion
  • vocal sounds
  • tabletop percussion
  • untuned percussion instruments
  • tuned percussion instruments (bells, chimes, boom whackers)


  • Songs from Alive O
  • Amhráin as Gaeilge
  • Dance music and PE
  • Drama
  • Creative writing in English
  • SESE: seasonal and weather songs
  • Music as a stimulus to Art
  • Oral Language: talking about music
  • ICT: composing using suitable software
  • Maths: counting beats

10 Are the NEEDS of ALL PUPILS being catered for? How?

  1. Emphasis on participation and enjoyment rather than reaching a very high standard. Work will be pitched at a standard to involve all.
  2. “Sing-a-longs” are useful for active participation
  3. Emphasis on activity and enjoyment
  4. Choosing suitable materials
  5. Activities and approaches will be selected by each teacher to ensure that boys and girls will be treated fairly.


Body percussion
Local folklore and traditions
History: 1798, Patrick Sarsfield


Parents are encouraged to attend school Masses, Services, Carol Services, etc.
Resources such as our own parents Wexford Co Council Arts Dept., Peter Kearney, Gordon Douglas may be availed of once teachers are satisfied that they complement and are consistent with the Primary Curriculum.

What draws listeners to music, to any music, is what cannot be paraphrased: the stuff that sets
your voice a humming
your toes a tapping
your mind’s ear ringing
your ear’s mind reeling
(Richard Taruskin)


Vocabulary: as per curriculum
Infants: d m s
Rang 1: two line stave
Rang 2 upwards five line stave
Children learning recorder will read music from the stave

One hour per week (45 mins for infants classes). Teachers are strongly encouraged to divide this into two periods of 30 minutes or three periods of 20 minutes per week. Integration with other subjects will allow extra time for music. Teachers will bear the following in mind when working out their timetables:

  • choir practice for Communion and Confirmation
  • congregational singing for school services in September, Christmas and June
  • recorder lessons for pupils
  • musical appreciation lessons conducted in hall by principal
  • the practice of children singing a song or playing an instrument at different times is strongly recommended

Occasional recorder practice is the only music homework which will be given.

Levels of participation
Levels of enjoyment
Teacher observation of pupil performance
Pupils may occasionally assess each other
Teacher listens
Assessment procedures outlined in NCCA book

Group work/Rounds/Getting different tables to perform
Whole class singing and playing
Active learning with emphasis on “hands on” and participation
Occasionally writing about music
Listening to music

“When people hear good music, it makes them homesick for something they never had, and never will have.” (Edgar Watson Howe)

A list of resources will be compiled by the principal/postholder and regularly updated. This will be included in the School Plan for Music (see 4 above).


Mandy Quirke: postholder with responsibility for Curricular area of Music
Mandy Quirke: postholder with responsibility for School Masses and Services
Aileen Foran: Postholder with responsibility for Choir and Recorder for 4th-6th class
Eamonn Barrett: will compile a Music Appreciation CD for any teacher who requires it
Dolores Byrne: professional library in staffroom
Mandy Quirke: available to help with anything to do with singing or percussion
Mary Barrett, Mandy Quirke, Aileen Foran: available to teach recorder to any class upon request.

This plan was implemented by the teachers with effect from 2005/06.
Implementation of the plan will be monitored by the school principal, in conjunction with postholders and class teachers.

The plan will be reviewed regularly as part of the SSE process. These reviews will be undertaken annually for the duration of the Three Year School Improvement Plan. Each review will be co-ordinated by the school principal and will involve principal, postholders, teachers, pupils, parents and school advisers and inspectors. The success of the plan will be assessed using the following criteria:

Assessment tools outlined in Primary Curriculum documents
Pupil feedback
Inspector’s Reports and recommendations
Professional judgement of teachers
Pupil enjoyment
Student Focus Group
Pupil survey

This plan has been ratified by the Board of Management and a copy is provided to each teacher and to Piercestown Parents Committee. Copies for parents are available in the school office upon request.

Piercestown NS
8th December 2005
10th June 2013

Fr John O’Reilly, Eamonn Barrett, Mandy Quirke
Chairperson. Principal. Postholder.

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