Music is part of the curriculum at Castleknock College. It is offered at junior and senior levels. Compositional, performance and aural skills are developed extensively throughout the courses.
With the introduction of the new Junior Cycle Music, pupils at Castleknock College are taught through practical work in which they are encouraged to be creative, either as an individual or within a group. While literacy in music is still at the core of their study, it is enriched and consolidated through experiential learning. With areas of study that include both African Drumming and Samba Music, a wide and dynamic experience is intended. Students will also be introduced to Music Technology with state-of-the-art facilities that include a piano-keyboard lab, computer lab and recording studio. Students will compose using sequencing software, learning about recording production techniques, in line with an increased focus on this area, as required by the new course.
At Senior Level, students will be engaged in a varied, but focused study of set works from important composers of Western Art Music. They will also listen to and appraise both Irish Music and popular genres, including songs from musicals. Students are encouraged to be performers, both individually and with their classmates, with the creation of music and sound being paramount to their understanding of key concepts and the development of aural skills. The senior students of the college are often happiest when they are singing! They refine their composition skills throughout the two year cycle, until they are competent and confident musicians with a strong set of resources. Finally, they are encouraged to revisit music technology skills already established in their Transition Year.
Students who study music at Castleknock College can benefit from the huge amount of opportunities available to them. Beyond the classroom, students can have weekly lessons, be part of many bands, orchestras and choirs.
Recently, Music students have enjoyed successes in large musical productions and national competitions. They have taken part in productions of Little Shop of Horrors, Les Misérables, Jesus Christ Superstar and Westside Story. In more recent years, they have continued with sell-out runs of Miss Saigon, The Addams Family, Beauty and the Beast. For We Will Rock You they even moved from the Concert Hall to the bigger venue of the college’s new gym, with the scale and production values becoming bigger, every year. The Students also put in wonderful work to compete and win a number of competitions. Having taken home prizes at Bord Gáis Energy Theatre Awards, they have also won first prize at Feis Ceoil, Arklow and Derry Music Festivals. Additionally, they went on to perform at The National Concert Hall, winning first prize in the Walton’s Music for Schools Competition, competing against schools from all over the country.
The Music Department runs many ensembles through the week:
- The College Choir
- Soul Band
- The First Year Band
- Junior Concert Band
- Concert Orchestra
- Percussion Ensemble
- Guitar Ensemble
- 1st Year Vocal Ensemble
Students get the chance to perform at
- Weekly lunchtime concerts
- Annual College Production (both cast and band)
- Annual Solo Showcase Concert
- Annual Summer Prizegiving Ceremony
- Christmas Carol Service
- Performances at local primary schools and hospitals
- Family Masses and celebratory events
The ensembles listed are intended to cater for all levels and experience, from beginner to advanced.
There is the opportunity to learn a wide range of instruments at the school with outstanding teachers. Students can choose from Brass, Woodwind, Piano, Guitar, Percussion and Strings. Some instruments offer paired lessons, which bring the cost down considerably.
Students who study music at Castleknock College:
- Are dedicated and work hard in preparation for both solo and ensemble performances.
- Concentrate on and interpret music as a language of expression.
- Develop self-discipline and motivation through learning an instrument
- Become confident performing in public
- Engage in analytical understanding of curriculum pieces in classroom music
- Learn to be creative thinkers through composition and improvisation.
- Aid their intellectual development, enhancing literacy and mathematical skills as well as memory performance.
- Benefit from higher levels of social cohesion and emotional understanding of themselves and those around them, especially during their teenage years
Our Music Tutors for 2021-2022:
Brendan Doyle L.T.C.L, B.A.(Mus) – Woodwind
After completing his classical music degree in his native Waterford, Brendan has since become a stalwart of the Dublin music scene.
Versatility being his forte, he is equally at home in theatre, symphony concerts or jazz ensembles. He features regularly as both soloist and ensemble player with groups/artists as diverse as the National Symphony Orchestra, RTE Concert Orchestra and the BBC Concert Orchestra. He is a founder member of The Irish Youth Jazz Orchestra, The Irish Youth Wind Ensemble and The Irish Jazz Orchestra. He is currently Musical Director of the Dublin City Jazz Orchestra. He has played with several Irish and International jazz luminaries including Louis Stewart, Noel Kelehan, Kenny Wheeler, Chucho Valdes, Kurt Elling and most recently John Scofield.
He is also much in demand in the commercial scene having worked with noted artists such as Jack Jones, Shirley Bassey, Colm Wilkinson, Kenny Rogers, Camille O’Sullivan, and Rebecca Storm. He has recorded several jazz albums both as a leader and group member and recently has been involved in a number of crossover/ethnic recording projects. He has worked in professional theatre since his early teens and has toured the UK, Europe and North America with productions as diverse as West Side Story, The Threepenny Opera (Gate Theatre), Barnum and Riverdance the Show. His teaching credits include work as instrumental teacher in WIT,Cork School of Music (CIT), DIT and as external examiner to the Royal Irish Academy of Music. He currently works as a freelance player and educator.
Damien McEvoy M.A. – Guitar & Bass
He began teaching guitar and bass in Castleknock in 2003 to 2007. In 2007 his band Nations of Fire recorded in Chicago with Steve Albini (Nirvana, Pixies, PJ Harvey, Page and Plant). His next band, Rooftop Anthem, was more pop/radio friendly and released the iTunes number 1 “Taxi Cab” in 2013, which was produced by Billy Farrell (The Corrs, Brian Kennedy). Rooftop Anthem broke up and Damien returned to college.
In 2013 he started his BA in Music Technology in Maynooth University, spending 1 year living in China and in 2017 he began an MA in Creative Music Technologies, also in Maynooth.
It was at this time he begin tutoring and lecturing Music Technology and Media Studies in Maynooth and pursuing a PhD.
Damien is still actively performing with his band Slug were I play bass, guitar, program drums and mix, master and produce. He is also involved in many other production and performance roles, with different clients and collaborators.
Will Palmer – Brass BA(Mus), PPRNCM (Chamber)
William studied at Royal Northern College of Music, after which he went straight into the full-time role of Principal Trumpet in the Orquestra do Algarve. He founded and is artistic director of The Dublin Brass Ensemble, which has been described by the Irish Times as “a breath of fresh air”. Their album ‘Brass Warriors’ can often be heard on RTE Lyric FM and is available for purchase on Amazon.
Will has performed with every full-time professional orchestra in Ireland, including the Ulster Orchestra, the RTE National Symphony Orchestra and the RTE Concert Orchestra, with whom he is regularly asked to play principal trumpet. He has also played principal trumpet with the Irish Film Orchestra, the Wexford Opera Festival Orchestra, Camerata Ireland, the Irish Chamber Orchestra and numerous other groups and ensembles covering a wide range of genres and styles. He has performed live and recorded extensively for radio, television, films and with pop groups, and is also in the process of recording his debut solo album which features new solo trumpet works with the RTE Concert Orchestra.
Varazdat (Varo) Khachatryan – Piano
Varazdat (Varo) studied at Yerevan State Conservatory and graduated with distinction in piano and choral conducting. He went on to obtain MMus degrees in both areas, as well as an Aspirantura (Advanced Postgraduate Degree) in piano performance from Yerevan State Conservatory, followed by PgDip (Postgraduate Diploma) and MMus degrees in piano performance as well as an MMus in piano accompaniment from Birmingham Conservatory. He was awarded a Fiosraigh full scholarship from the TUDublin Conservatory of Music and Drama, where he is currently pursuing a PhD degree.
Varo has performed extensively as a soloist in his home country and abroad, with recent recital performances in Ireland, the United Kingdom, France, the Netherlands, his native Armenia, Russia, Lebanon, Syria and the Czech Republic. His solo performances have received high praise from audiences and music critics alike, and he has won numerous prestigious awards, including first prize in the Peter Donohoe piano competition and the Delia Hall Accompanist Prize. He also regularly performs as an accompanist and chamber musician.
Ian McTigue – Drum Kit & Percussion
Touring drummers are accustomed to playing in old venues, but few can claim to have twirled their sticks in a 5,000 year old establishment. Yet Ian McTigue has done just that, the drummer took to a stage at the Giza Pyramids in Cairo, Egypt, in his role as percussionist for Riverdance, the globe-trotting Irish dance phenomena while in town to share a headline gig with legendary diva Mariah Carey. The Irish drummer has performed with Riverdance in the iconic surroundings of New York’s Radio City Music Hall & The Lincoln Centre, Pantages Theatre LA, Mexico City’s Auditorio Nacional, Atwood Concert hall Anchorage Alaska, Atlantis the palm Dubai, Astana Kazakhstan and Áras an Uachtaráin for president Higgins.
Soon after, he joined the Women of Ireland show with tours to Orchard Hall in Tokyo, Teatro Municipal De Las Condes, Santiago Chile, Zurich Switzerland & all over Germany. Ian has worked with many other artists – Camille O’Sullivan, Moya Brennan, Ronan Keating, Carlos Nunez, Donal Lunny, Frankie Gavin, Don Baker, Mike McGoldrick, Zoe Conway, Máirtín O’Connor, Liam O’Flynn & Robin James Hurt. Ian is a certified Grade 8 drumkit teacher qualified through London’s international music and performance art’s RSL with distinction. He also specialises in the traditional Irish Bodhrán Drum & tutors @ St Vincent’s Castleknock College and the Drum Room in Dunshaughlin Co Meath. He endorses Allegra Drums. www.ianmctigue.com
Suzanne Savage – Voice & Strings
Having graduated from Queen’s University of Music in Belfast, Suzanne’s career highlights include appearing at SXSW, supporting Van Morrison (at his personal invitation), singing as backing vocalist and violinist with Paul Brady, Eleanor McEvoy and Jimmy Cobb, performing as a soloist with The Florence Symphony Orchestra, RTE Orchestra, Riverdance and touring with the critically acclaimed choir New Dublin Voices, to name but a select few. Recently, she featured as a soloist on televised RTÉ tribute to Leanard Cohen.
She is also currently teaching violin and voice at Walton’s New School of Music and Castle Park Primary in Dalkey. She is musical director to Oblate Gospel Choir and Dublin-based chamber choir “The Lost Keys”. In her critically-acclaimed solo music, Suzanne is heavily influenced by jazz and Irish songwriters and informed by her experience as a performer of funk, heavy rock, drum and bass, contemporary classical music and everything in between.