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 /Orchestra Director)
  • 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 


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 Music course that we offer follows the CCEA specification and is suitable for everybody who enjoys music: listening to music, composing, playing an instrument or using music technology. It encourages students to develop their musical potential by focusing on the three fundamental activities of;
  • performing,
  • composing and
  •  listening
Students explore contrasting music from a range of contexts, for example classical, pop, film and traditional Irish music. This deepens their appreciation of the diverse heritage of music. It also promotes their personal, social, intellectual and cultural development. Through the performance element of the course, students develop the skills they need to communicate effectively as musicians. This increases their self-confidence and enhances their presentation, communication and evaluation skills. The opportunity to write their own music lets them be creative. Progression pathways include further study, for example through the Btec Level 3 Subsidiary Diploma in Music (Performance) and a career in performance, composing, teaching, music production, sound engineering, or instrument making and repair. Related career areas include arts management and music journalism.

Post 16

  As a department we currently offer the BTEC Level 3 Subsidiary Diploma in Music (Performing) which covers the key knowledge and practical skills required in the appropriate vocational sector. This Subsidiary Diploma offers great flexibility and a choice of emphasis through the optional units. The BTEC Level 3 Subsidiary Diploma is equivalent to one GCE A Level and offers an engaging programme for those who are clear about the area of employment that they wish to enter. The course consists of one mandatory unit plus at least one specialist unit plus optional units. Assessment and grading All units are internally assessed. There are no written examinations in this course. All assessment for this BTEC qualification is criterion referenced, based on the achievement of specified learning outcomes. Each unit within the qualification has specified assessment and grading criteria which are used for grading purposes. A summative unit grade can be awarded at pass, merit or distinction.  

Examination Performance

Another successful year in the music department with our pupils achieving outstanding results in GCSE and in the Btec Level 3 Subsidiary Diploma in Music (Performing). Well done to all involved! GCSE-100%-A-C BTEC Subsidiary Diploma-100%-A-C  

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.