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Music falls under the banner of Creative and Expressive Arts. It helps students to develop the music skills of Listening, Composing, Performing, Improvising and Appraising.

Music is taught to all Key Stage 3 students and is available for GCSE, AS & A Level Music.

Research increasingly shows that music can not only help students to develop ‘LIFE SKILLS’ such as self discipline, team work, self esteem and self expression; it can also assist with intellectual development.

Researchers at the University of Wisconsin and the University of California found that children who received keyboard instruction scored 34% higher in tests designed to measure spatial-temporal reasoning – a skill that’s critical for learning subjects like Mathematics, Engineering and Science.


Mr. A. Kincaid

Mrs. J. Grattan


The Northern Ireland curriculum for music states that young people should develop their musical potential by having opportunities 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 as a tool for exploring and experimenting with different approaches to 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 an awareness of the range of employment opportunities in the music and music-related industries.


All students in Key Stage 3 receive music lessons in school. It is an opportunity to develop many of the key music skills required to study music at a higher level, but also provides numerous opportunities to develop many other life skills as well.

At Key Stage 3 there is an emphasis on the skills of Listening, Composing, Performing, Improvising and Appraising.


  • Understanding rhythm
  • Understanding pitch
  • Performing the Kerry Polka
  • Composing the Kilkeel Polka


  • What makes a good song? (part 1)
  • Music for special occasions
  • Chords
  • What makes a good song? (part 2)


  • Careers in music
  • Chords into jazz
  • Film music techniques
  • Film music composition


GCSE Music

Music subject description at GCSE level.


AS / A Level Music - Performing Arts

Music subject description at AS / A Level.


At KHS we have a wide range of extra curricular activities and the Music Department is a large contributor to this. Extra Musical activities happen everyday after school and allow students to develop their skills in a fun and enjoyable way.


Instrumental Tuition is a very important part of life within the Music Department. Every pupil in school has the opportunity to avail of the expertise available from the talented instrumentalists who attend school each week. Most of these tutors are provided by the SELB Music Service but other private tutors also provide an invaluable service. Lessons are available in the following areas:


SELB Music Service (Violin / Viola)

Students are taught by Mrs McGrath. We currently have a large number of students being taught violin and viola from beginners through to those studying for high ABRSM examination grades.


SELB Music Service (Cello / Double Bass)

Students are taught by Mrs. Mathers. We currently have three students being taught both the Cello and Double Bass.


SELB Music Service (Trumpet / Trombone / French Horn / Tuba)

Mr. Benson teaches a large number of students every week.These range from beginners to those studying for higher grade examinations.


SELB Music Service (Flute / Clarinet / Oboe / Bassoon / Alto Saxophone / Tenor Saxophone)

Mrs. McCourt teaches a large number of students on a variety of different Woodwind instruments. These range from beginners to those studying for higher grade examinations.

Students who receive tuition from the SELB Music Tutors also have the opportunity to attend Orchestras and Ensembles from students from all over the Southern Education and Library Board.

Some of our students also make use of the Advanced Tuition Scheme in Newry.


A large number of our students also take singing lesson in school. Emma-Jane McKnight is a locally based professional voice and piano teacher who provides individual singing classes for the Music Department. She is also a past pupil of KHS, studying both GCSE and A Level Music before going on to the University of Ulster to study Music to degree level. Students work towards exams in Music Theatre and/or Rock School, both of which develop performance skills and develop vocal abilities. Emma-Jane performed on the Kilkeel High School stage in our school musical as a student and has gone on to perform in many musicals throughout the province. Her most recent performance was as a lead in the ‘Glee Singers’ (Newcastle) production of THE DROWSY CHAPERONE.



Drum-kit lessons have been added to the list of musical tuition available in KHS this year and are proving to be very popular. Stefan Downey is a full time, locally based professional drum tutor who provides individual drum kit classes for the Music Department. Stefan attended St Mark’s School, Warrenpoint where he studied GCSE Music. His A Level Music course was taught in conjunction with Newry High School. Stefan then went on to study Music to degree level before setting up his own Music tuition business. Students learn the basics in music theory as well as techniques in drumming before embarking on Rock School examinations to develop their performance skills and gain useful qualifications in Music (Rock School is operated through Trinity College, London).



Piano lessons are available in KHS and are taught by a number of local full time Piano tutors. Each of these tutors has a proven track record in assisting pupils in piano examinations.