Music has forever been an important part of life in Tuam, especially in the schools. Back in the days of boarding in Jarlath’s, student bands were among the most popular extracurricular activities for students away from home, with an often experience being a band practice in the dorms ringing out across the grounds to be heard by the Senior team training below. In St. Pats a musical tradition was equally important, with some of Tuam’s most famous sons in the shape of the ever popular Saw Doctors going to secondary in the old Christian Brother School.
A huge place for musical expression is to be found in the school Opera of course, with many students only discovering their musical talents through participation. The annual Ceoilchorim held in the school to celebrate Seachtain na Gaeilge is another place for musical students to develop their talents, with groups of traditional musicians, student rock bands, Irish dancers and even the occasional beat boxer taking part. In taking part in school-run gigs such as this (as well as in activities such as the Beginning of Year Mass, Choral Service and Graduation Mass), students forge friendships and develop their talents, which then manifest themselves even further in the large number of young bands and musicians which develop in Jarlath’s who go on to independently forge their paths elsewhere.
Music is also available as a school subject on both the Junior and Leaving Cert cycles. Taught by Ms Connie Burke, students in junior cycle will learn the basics of musical theory, study both course-set and class-chosen songs, learn how to play an instrument and write simple melodies of their own. The Leaving Cert course is an expansion of this. 50% of marks go towards a practical performance; the remainder is broken down into a mixture of set works, Irish music study, musical composition, listening tests and accompanying chords to set melodies.
All in all, music is an important part of life in the College and ample opportunities are given to musical students to exercise their talents.