Arts (Music and Drama)

All classes receive weekly music appreciation classes which cover such topics as singing and notation. In addition, the school has a qualified music teacher who provides individual lessons in piano and voice training. Throughout the year, under the tuition of our specialist music and performance teachers, each class (including Pre-School) prepares for a performance of their own musical play at the school’s annual Junior and Senior concerts.

PreSchool Music (Term 2) 

PreSchool Music class is a fun introduction for our littlest musicians to get started exploring the world of music. Students will start using mini-percussion instruments to get acquainted with rhythm and sound. Students will also start learning how to match pitch and follow melody by singing along to their favorite songs! We will begin to experiment with facial expressions and musicality, adding movement to sound.  

Junior Drama Junior Infants – J2 (Term 2)

The Junior Drama class is designed for Junior Infants through J2. In this class the Junior students will learn performance skills like public speaking, acting, stagecraft, and working as a team to make a production come to life. The Junior Drama class will rehearse and produce a ‘Rockboro on Broadway’ themed event during Term 2, which will feature a musical which adapts the story line from the movie Sing! This will be a musical about a broadway theatre owner who hosts a Talent Show to save his theatre from shutting down, and all the wacky things that happen during the show’s production! It will be a very energetic and fun musical which will have something special for each student so that everyone gets to participate. The J5/J6 students will be the back stage crew for this production which will give them insight into how a musical is staged.

Senior Drama J2/J3-J6 (Terms 1) 

The Senior Drama class is a necessity for students to learn the basics of stage performance as well as stage craft. Each year a musical is edited and arranged specifically for the students in classes J2*/J3-J6. The musical usually has a winter/holiday theme takes  place in early December. Students develop many skills through Drama – public speaking, vocals, dance, working as a team, and also learn about back stage etiquette and how to run a production behind the curtain (stage crew). (*J2 Students will be involved in Senior Drama if Stage Space and safety requirements allow, after confirmation of class sizes). In Term 2, the J5/J6 classes will continue with Drama class as the acting stage crew where they will learn about set design, backstage assistance, prop development, as well as lighting and sound in support of the Junior Drama production which takes place in the spring. Our Senior Drama production for 2020 will be ‘The Nightmare Before Christmas’ by Tim Burton & Danny Elfman, edited and arranged by Mrs. Standley. This will be a fabulously wacky and fun show, combining Halloween spookiness with Christmas cheer and will make for a very easy way to stay safe during these times as the students can wear their masks on stage which will reflect their characters! 

J1/J2 Music Education – 30 minute weekly class (Terms 1/2/3)

J1/J2 Music Education will cover various topics including: 

Introduction to Percussion – Rhythmic Patterns, Percussion Instruments, Body & Vocal Percussion. Students are introduced to basic rhythmic patterns and percussion instruments. We explore the concepts of acoustic percussion, body percussion and vocal percussion and the notation used to compose percussive musical lines. Students are encouraged to compose their own percussive work utilizing the various aspects of percussion throughout the unit and then perform one of their own compositions as a final project for this unit. 

Melody & Rhythm in Song – Students explore what a song melody is and learn the difference between harmony and melody. Ear-training development is explored through call & response games. Students learn songs and begin to discuss musical context – what is the song about – is it happy or sad – how do we know? Students learn the concepts of major and minor keys, and how these are utilized by composers to write songs that make us feel happy or sad. They begin to think about the song lyrics and how they attribute to our understanding of music as a language. 

Earth Day Project 2020 –Music Making to help heal the world. Students come together to focus on writing a song for Earth Day (22nd April 2020). We explore the power that music has throughout the world as way to bring people together. Music can bridge language barriers, make distance a non-issue, and has the power to unite people all over the world to come together for good. Each student is encouraged to use what they have learned in class to come up with their own rhythm and melody (utilizing the concepts of Major or Minor). This is accompanied by the students completing a work of art that brings their musical idea to life in a vivid image that captures the feeling they are trying to express within their song. This is a fun and energizing project, showing the students that music is a powerful and beautifully unifying thing. 

Silly Song Time – Musical Games and Activities are utilized to get students excited about making music together. We play games with rhythm, singing and dance at the core to get students moving and having fun with music!

J3/J4 Music Education (Terms 1/2/3)

Review of Percussion Instruments & Rhythmic Patterns– Students are re-introduced to percussion instruments, vocal and body percussion, and to basic rhythm patterns. 

Basic Music Theory – Students begin to learn how to read music! This unit includes learning all note values, some note names, and the definition and usage of beginner’s level music theory terminology. 

World Music Unit – In this exciting portion of Music Education, students begin to learn about different musical practices from various parts of the world – Mexico/Spain/Africa/South America/the United States/Ireland/Australia. Students learn about musical instruments (and make them!), cultural attributes, and explore the context of world music. This unit culminates in a project where students build their own world instruments from a selected country using materials they can find at home! Students present their instruments as well as a written explanation of the music and country they’ve been assigned in front of the class.

Jazz & Blues Music Unit – Students learn about the Jazz greats – from Ella Fitgerald to Count Basie, students will explore the vibrant Jazz scene of the 1920’s and 30’s, examining the context of Jazz harmony, musicianship, and culture. This unit finishes with a student research project featuring a famous Jazz musician which is presented in class by each student.

J5 & J6 Music Education (Terms 1/2/3)

The Building Blocks of Music – Understanding the role of Music in our lives: Films, Television, Commercials, and Entertainment. This unit uncovers the role music plays in our everyday life and the way composers utilize music to manipulate our emotions. Students delve into the eight essential building blocks of music which all composers utilize for every musical work ever written (in all genres) to understand how music is so influential on us. 

Song-Writing Unit – Students learn the inner-workings of song-writing. Lyricism, Song Structure, & Musical Notation are all explored and taken apart piece by piece. Students learn to write their own song lyrics and how to structure them into an actual song. Melody and Harmony exploration will help students to put their words to actual music, culminating in a final project Song Showcase for those students wishing to share their work.

Music Theory – In this unit students are introduced to all aspects of music theory. Musical Notation such as rhythm and note-reading, identifying musical structure, and composingrhythmic patterns and melodies. All Rockboro students will leave primary school with the ability to read basic music notation, preparing them to partake in music classes in secondary school should they wish to do so.

Understanding Musical Genres – An overview of Popular Music History spanning from 1930’s Jazz to the Digitalized 2020. Students continue on from the 1920’s/1930’s Jazz Music unit completed in J3/J4 Music Education and expand into an overview and exploration of modern music from 1940’s Country/Bluegrass & Blues to 1950’s Rock & Roll. We explore the hits of 1960’s MoTown, to 1970’s Disco, Funk & Soul, jumping into R&B, Hip-Hop, and synthesized New-wave Dance-pop of the 1980’s which was also a very big time for modern Rock & Roll Bands. The 1990’s gave us Rap of all sorts, Techno, Pop, Grunge and Punk Rock. The 2000’s have given way to a massive surge in the use of technology to make music and we explore the transition of acoustic and electronic instruments to drum pads and computer synthesized musical composition. Students are given the opportunity to play with electronic drums, keyboards, and iPad Garage Band to understand the full scope of the modernization of music making and composition. This unit culminates in a large project where each student is given a genre and artist to do a presentation on for the class. 


Rockin’ Reindeer Children’s Choir (Term 1) & Rockboro Singers Children’s Choir(Terms 2/3) 

The Rockin’ Reindeer are now a well-known junior chorus around the Cork area. The choir consists of students from J1 to J6 Classes and they have sung in the Cork Opera House to sold out audiences, at the annual Christmas Wishes Concert in aid of Make-A-Wish each year for the past six years, at the Cork Airport(being featured on the website), at Brown Thomas (featured in an online advert), in Douglas Shopping Centre, in Mahon Point Shopping Center, and every year at the Rockboro Christmas Fair. The choir were founded to spread Holiday Cheer and raise money for the charity Make-A-Wish Ireland, which helps grant wishes to children with life-threatening conditions. Every year the choir takes multiple ‘gigs’ and enjoys learning a variety of holiday-themed tunes which they perform with gusto. The Rockin’ Reindeer is something that both the students and their audiences look forward to every year and they have granted many wishes with the thousands of euro in funds they have helped to raiseeach year! I believe the Rockin’ Reindeer have helped get more than 10 wishes granted over the last 6 years, which means that they have helped raise, along with the help of my adult choirs, more than €20,000 for Make-A-Wish Ireland!

The Rockboro Singers were started because the students participating in the Rockin’ Reindeer did not want the singing to stop! So, we decided to keep that singing going and we have competed in the Feis Maitiu Children’s Choir Competition each spring, winning Second Place last year! The students love singing uplifting pop tunes and enjoy learning new music in order to participate in the competition each spring.