Educating concerned, informed, adaptable
members of the world community

Music Dept Staff:
  • Elizabeth Quigley (Head of Dept)
  • Margaret McCay
  • Kevin Healy


Thornhill College has a long tradition of producing young musicians who continue their music studies at universities and music colleges both north and south of Ireland and in the UK. Our school offers Music at Key Stage 3, GCSE and A-Level.


Extra curricular activities have always played an important part in the life of music in the school. These activities include:

  • participation in local, national, and international choral festivalf;
  • Junior Choir rehearsals and perfomances;
  • piano recitals;
  • spring concerts;
  • Year 8 Choir rehearsals and performances;
  • Irish traditional music tuition;
  • Christmas carol services;
  • Staff Choir rehearsals and performances;
  • Senior Choir rehearsals and performances;
  • School Orchestra  rehearsals and performances;
  • woodwind ensembles
  • Chamber Choir  rehearsals and performances;
  • string ensembles;
  • recorder ensembles;
  • musicals/drama.

Instrument Tuition

As well as three full time music teachers the Music Department also has various instrumental teachers who between them cover all brass, woodwind, string, traditional, recorder instruments and voice.

Lessons take place once per week at Thornhill College during school hours. Annual fees are payable to WELB according to the number of students in your child's tutor group.


The facilities in our school are first class. As well as three well-equipped classrooms there are five ensemble rooms each with a practice piano. The music dept has two grand pianos. All of our classrooms are equipped with internet access and we have a hi-tech recording suite.

 The Musical Life of the School

Our various choirs, instrumental ensembles and individual performers provide the music for all school functions (e.g. religious services, concerts and the annual Prize-Giving Ceremony), as well as competing in national and international competitions and local Feiseanna.

The School Choirs

We are proud of our rich musical history at Thornhill College which has been graced over the years by our school choirs. We have two main school choirs, for junior and senior pupils.

Our Senior Choir has achieved a fantastic reputation due to major successes in both national and international competitions.

The School Orchestras

The School Orchestras include brass, woodwind, strings, piano, harp and percussion.

They rehearse and perform regularly each year both in the school and at outside events. The orchestras provide a fabulous opportunity for musicians to play together and all instrumentalists are encouraged to join.

Musical Ensembles

We have a number of smaller musical ensembles, including a string quartet and a recorder group. All rehearse and perform regularly.

The Derry Feis

Each year we prepare pupils for individual and group performances at the Derry Feis, with great success.

The School Musical

Every two years Thornhill College stages a major musical production.
Recent shows have included,

"The Sound of Music"
"West Side Story".

Other Events

The Music Department provides music for the many liturgical services during the year, including an annual Christmas Carol Concert to which parents are invited. There are also recitals and musical evenings held each year which have now become a mainstay of our musical calendar.


KS3 Music

Each pupil in Years 8, 9 and 10 is timetabled for Music lessons every week. Our philosophy is that all pupils are potentially musical and we wish to foster the musical abilities of all whilst also nurturing a lifelong appreciation of music. All our pupils have experiences in both making and responding to music.

At Key Stage 3 our pupils are encouraged to develop their musicianship and self-confidence through a wide range of individual and group music-making activities.

All pupils are given opportunities to develop their composing, performing and listening skills. They are also encouraged to express, through the music they compose and perform, their ideas and feelings about themselves and the world around them.
We expose our pupils to a wide variety of music and encourage them to listen to unfamiliar music with open and enquiring minds.

GCSE Music

This course incorporates the fundamental musical activities of

  • composing,
  • performing and listening
  • appraising

The three elements are taught in a holistic manner through three areas of study which encompass Music for Celebration, Musical Arrangements and Musical Traditions in Ireland;

GCSE Assessment

Assessment includes:

  • Composing and Appraising
    A coursework portfolio of two compositions plus notes
    Worth 40% of the total assessment
  • Performing and Appraising
    Assessment of solo and ensemble performances
    Worth 35% of the total assessment
  • Listening and Appraising
    One aural test of about 1 hour duration
    Worth 25% of the total assessment

A-level Music

Music is a popular course of study at A-level. It can involve a study of a variety of styles including classical, folk, jazz, traditional, pop etc.

There are two study routes:

Route 1 :

  • one piece of composition
  • one performance or technology-related task
  • one aural test plus
  • one written paper


  • composition and analytical commentary
  • one performance or technology task
  • one aural test
  • one written paper

Route 2 :

  • one performance task
  • one composition or technology-related task
  • one aural test plus
  • one written paper


  • solo performance and viva voce
  • one composition or technology task
  • one aural test
  • one written paper


     200Affilitation School The Lyric Theatre

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