Junior Cert Music

Shahed – Higher Level

I walked into this exam feeling like I had walking into most of my other exams; nervous, but confident. We had 5 minutes to read through the full paper at the start, and, after flicking through it quickly, I was instantly put at ease. The exam was divided into three sections. Section I (Listening) had questions 1-5, Section II (Composing) had questions 6-9 and Section III had question 10.

The first six question were all listening. The first two were about Set Songs and Set Works. These were both very straightforward, almost predictable. The next question was all about Irish Music. The final part of it was a written question about collectors of Irish music and harpers, both of whom had been involved in the Belfast Harp Festival. The only part that threw me off was that the harper had to have been involved with the Festival, as I don’t recall there had been a Festival harper in my book, but I managed. The next question was Dictation, when a short piece is played on the piano and you have to write it out. This is probably the hardest and most dreaded question in any music exam, but I felt like it wasn’t too difficult this time. (Practice makes perfect!) The next question was Choice Songs and Works, bringing Section I to an end. This, again, was quite easy. They even played the Harry Potter theme for one part of it!

There were a choice of questions in Section II. You could either do questions 6-8 or just question 9, which was Free Composition. Here, you were given a choice between three verses and you picked one and wrote for voice(s) with accompanying instrument(s) or wrote for instrument(s) which would illustrate the mood of the verse. Question 6 was a Triads question.This is where you study a short piece and answer questions on it. Question 7 was melody writing. Again, there was a wide choice here, but I chose to compose a phrase set to a given opening. Question 8 was all about Chord Progressions. There was also a wide choice here, but I chose to do the Backing Chords question (adding suitable chords to a piece of music).

The third and final section/question was all about your General Study. You could take any genre, artist or group and research and write about it/them. I chose to write about The Beatles. In general, I’m very pleased with how this exam went. Best of luck to anyone doing exams this afternoon or tomorrow, you’re almost free!

Please note: blog posts reflect the opinion of the author and not necessarily the opinion of the Irish Second-Level Students’ Union. Blogs are updated daily by 6.30 pm on scheduled examination dates.


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