Music Department


Our aims are to provide a worthwhile, satisfying and complete course of study that broadens experience,develops imagination, fosters creativity and promotes personal and social development. In particular, it encourages pupils to:
  • extend the skills, knowledge and understanding they need to communicate through music and to take part in music-making;
  • engage and extend their appreciation of the diverse and dynamic heritage of music, thereby promoting their spiritual and cultural development.
  • develop particular strengths and interests, thereby encouraging lifelong learning and providing access to music-related and other careers; and
  • recognise the interdependence of musical skills, knowledge and understanding as well as the links between the activities of performing, composing and appraising.


  • Joan Keaveney (Head of Department-joint /Orchestra Director)
  • Fionnuala Deane (Head of Department-joint)
  • Emma-Jayne Kelly (Primary/Secondary Links/Choir Director)
  • Gary Moran-Woodwind tutor 
  • Nigel Crossan-Woodwind tutor 
  • Maureen Mc Grenaghan-String tutor 
  • Naoimh Simpson-String tutor 
  • Michael Mc Ginty-String tutor 
  • David Mc Garrigle-Brass tutor 
  • Michael Kielty-Percussion tutor
  • Lucia Mc Ginnis-Harp tutor/Music Therapist
  • Siobhan Molloy-Irish Traditional tutor


At KS3, Students will be able to;
  • Improvise, compose and perform music in a range of styles
  • Explore and combine the elements of music-pitch, rhythm, dynamics, timbre, texture, to create structure and style when improvising and composing.
  • Perform individually and in groups, and discuss and decide on points of interpretation in the music
  • Use existing and emerging music technology resources when composing and performing
  • Listen to and appraise their own music and that of others
  • Listen to a wide range of music from different styles and genres and respond critically to what they hear
  • Explore how the skills they learn through music-making are relevant to their present and future lives;
  • Develop awareness of the range of employment opportunities in the music and music-related industries


The GCSE course gives students opportunities to:
  • develop their knowledge, understanding and appreciation of a range of different kinds of music;
  • take part in music-making and communicate through music;
  • develop their creativity;
  • make informed judgements about musical quality;
  • develop a lifelong interest in music; and
  • learn about music-related careers.
In GCSE Music, students must complete one compulsory area of study: Repeated Patterns in Music. They must also complete two optional areas of study from a choice of three. The optional areas of study are:
  • Musical Traditions in Ireland;
  • Incidental Music; and
  • Vocal Music.
The areas of study cover a wide range of musical styles and genres from around 1650 to the present day. The set pieces are chosen as typical examples from this period. Students are assessed on their ability to:
  • compose and appraise;
  • perform and appraise; and
  • listen and appraise.

Post 16

A-Level Music (New Specification) aims to encourage students to:
  • engage actively in studying music;
  • develop and extend the knowledge, understanding and skills needed to communicate effectively as musicians;
  • develop particular strengths and interests, thereby encouraging lifelong learning and providing access to music-related and other careers; and
  • recognise the interdependence of musical knowledge,  understanding and skills and make links between the integrated activities of performing, composing and appraising.
  • develop as effective, independent learners and as critical and reflective thinkers with enquiring minds;
  • develop skills in literacy
  • reflect critically and make personal judgements on their own music and the music of others;
  • engage with, and extend appreciation of, the diverse heritage of music to promote personal, social, intellectual and cultural development; and
  • develop awareness of music technologies and their use in creating and presenting music.
The Compulsory Areas of Study include;
  • Music for Orchestra, 1700-1900
  • Sacred Vocal Music (Anthems)
  • Secular Vocal Music (Musicals)

Examination Performance

Another successful year in the music department with our pupils achieving outstanding results in GCSE, AS and A2. Well done to all involved! GCSE-100%-A-C AS-100%-A-E A2-92%-A-E

Extra Curricular

ORCHESTRA Our school orchestra was formed in 2002. We now have over 60 members ranging from yrs 8-14. They rehearse weekly and perform at many school events such as Prize Giving, Open Day,  Carol Services, and in the local community such as at the Foyle Hospice, local shopping centres etc.
  • Some of the many events which they have performed at include;
    • The school orchestra performed at the official opening of the HUB (Outer-West Neighbourhood Renewal Partnership) attended by the Minister for the Arts and Culture.
    • Our school orchestra have performed at the city’s annual Jazz Festival.
    • They have participated in the Music City Event by performing on stage in Waterloo Place, Derry.
    • Members of the orchestra represented the school by performing at the opening ceremony of the Fleadh.
    • Many of our members were involved in workshops provided by the National Youth Orchestra.
    • Our orchestra have collaborated with an organisation called Shine. A series of workshops were held where members of the Ulster Orchestra and our pupils worked closely with children with spina- bifida. This led to a collaborative performance in St. Mary’s College
    • The orchestra have featured on an RTE music programme.
    • Our Harpists have been involved in workshops and performances given by a professional Harp orchestra.
    • St. Mary’s College orchestra and Good Shepherd Primary school orchestra gave a very successful collaborative performance at our annual Carol Service.
    • A large number of our instrumentalists were successful in the various Board exams; The Associate Board, Trinity London and the Royal Irish Academy.
    • The orchestra is going from strength to strength and we look forward to an exciting year to come!
School Choir Derry has a reputation for being the “City ofSong” and St Mary’s College choir is following in this long standing choral tradition. In the past couple of years a large junior choir, senior choir and a chamber choir has been established.  The choir has a very active role in the community singing at: the local hospice, music festivals, religious services and community events. They cover a vast repertoire of music from: classical, sacred, Irish traditional, jazz and modern contemporary and pop. The choir meets at lunchtime and coming up to competition meet before and after school on a daily basis. Over the past couple of years we have won the post-primary choral competition’s at the Derry Feis, making local history. St Mary’s choir has been finalists twice and regional finalists twice in the televised: All Island Choir of the Year Competition. Here are some key events that the choir has performed at:
  • Winners of the Post-Primary Choral section at 'The City of Derry International Choral Competition' 3 years in a row. This year the choir were awarded the special 'Matchett's Music Award' for the best overall choir at the City's Choral Competition.
  • Winners of the Bishop's Shield for Best overall school at the Derry Feis.
  • Winners of the Bangor International Choral Competition 2 years in a row.
  • Regional finalists and runners up at the Radio Ulster Choir of the year Competition.
  • National Choir of the Day winners at the BBC Choir of the Year Competition in City Halls, Glasgow.
  • The choir featured in a BBC documentary: "The Piano Pilgrimage" with Jazz pianist, Jamie Cullum.
  • Performed and supported Grammy award jazz pianist, Jamie Cullum on stage in the Millennium Forum; headlining the City of Derry Jazz festival.
  • Performed with the Ulster Orchestra at the Shine concert in St Mary's College.
  • Performed in the City Hall in Cork at the International Cork Choral Festival.
  • Attended an intensive choral workshop in London.
  • They have provided music for the Opening mass in September and performed at Prize giving and our annual Carol Service.
  • The choir sang for the President of Ireland, Mary Mc Aleese, along with Foyle College as part of the Conversations across the Walls project.
  • The choir sang for the official opening of the Culture Hub in Derry.
  • Performed in the City Hotel for 'The Friends of St Patrick'.
  • Performed in the City Hotel for Action Cancer.
  • Performed with Lisneal College for The Honourable Irish Society.
  • Performed with The Avon Old Farms Riddlers Choir, USA.
  • The choir perform annually in the Foyle Hospice at Christmas and St Patrick's Day.
  • The choir singing at the Conversations across the Walls event
  • The three choirs had outstanding success at the Derry Feis with a historic clean sweep, winning all competitions, a total of 7 cups.
  • Our Junior choir sang for The Duchess of Abercorn, John O Dowd and the Foyle Learning Conference
  • Both the junior and senior choir performed at our recent Fashion Show
  • The Members from our senior choir were privileged to attend a vocal music under the direction of the acclaimed conductor and tenor, Dominic Peckham in the City Hall, Belfast. Dominic is regarded as one of theUK’s finest ambassadors of choral music, both in performance and through his critically acclaimed educational work. The girls also collaborated with local Belfast schools to perform a work at the Northern Ireland Cinemagic Awards. Guests such as Saoirse Ronan, Jedward and Jayne Wisener were in attendance.
  • 15 Girls from our senior choir were successfully selected to join the Ulster Youth Choir.
  • The senior choir performed with WELB youth orchestra in ChristChurch
  • Both junior and senior choir performed at St Mary’s College Carol Service
  • The senior choir performed in Edenballymore Lodge
  • The choir performed in the opulent TitanicBuildingfor the Northern Ireland Quality Awards.