We wrote and published the Leaving Cert Music textbook, ‘Notes’, in 2008. Majella Higgins, a private music teacher, noticed that many students were doing music as an extra subject outside of school and needed help with the main components of the Leaving Cert music exam. Anna-Marie’s music students in school were tired of getting and losing handouts. Our textbook, ‘Notes for Leaving Cert Music’ was the result of our conversations and combined efforts.
We presented our analysis of the set works in eight separate chapters in the book. We also knew that students had difficulty in finding specific themes aurally, so we made short audio clips from the works on two accompanying CDs. We compiled chapters on Irish music and general aural requirements, with the listening material on a third CD. Finally, we explained the way we teach melody-writing and harmony for the Leaving Cert exam and supplied exercises in a separate workbook. We also provided material for students who were preparing for the technology option in the performing exam.
Since this first output, we have expanded our catalogue, to deal with requests from teachers. We added listening and revision workbooks, with CDs, for Courses A and B as well as a core workbook for the other sections of the course, with CD. Teachers asked us for separate melody and harmony workbooks and these appeared in 2014. We even produced a workbook and CD for Transition Year music students. This was a foundation for senior cycle music students.
In 2011, we set up Midland Examining Board. Our aim was to give teachers more options for the Mock Junior and Leaving Cert exams. Our Unique Selling Point here is that we customise questions according to teachers’ individual requests. We also provide exam papers ‘as Gaeilge’ for the Junior and Leaving Cert exams.
Apart from our writing and publishing work, we have been happy to oblige students and teachers with specific courses in technology (particularly the backing track option), composing and general revision. Our most recent focus has been on theory, aural and instrumental support books as well as Junior Cycle material.