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Ceol Phádraig

Music at St Patrick’s College Drumcondra, 1875-2016


Edited By John Buckley and John O'Flynn

Since its foundation in 1875, the activities of St Patrick’s College Drumcondra and its graduates have been closely woven into the educational and cultural fabric of Irish society. This volume charts how music and music education have fulfilled a major role throughout the history of the Dublin-based establishment that began as a teacher training college and later evolved into a college of education and liberal arts. Graduates of St Patrick’s College have taught hundreds of thousands, if not millions of pupils across the country, have made significant contributions to various facets of professional and amateur music activity, and have had an invaluable influence on the wellbeing of individuals, the development of communities and the advancement of the nation as a whole.

The book records and interprets key musical developments, appraises the work of major contributors, and captures the activities of students, staff and visiting musicians at St Patrick’s College up to its incorporation into Dublin City University in 2016. It represents a major scholarly work that details the progress of music at a university college in Ireland, and it is envisaged that its varied chapters and themes will evoke further memories and discussions among graduates of the College and others.

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Chapter Three: Music in Education and Humanities (Patricia Flynn / John O’Flynn)


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Chapter Three: Music in Education and Humanities

Patricia Flynn and John O’Flynn


When St Patrick’s College first opened in Drumcondra in 1875 for the preparation of male teachers for Catholic primary schools, music was not included in its mandatory syllabus, although vocal and instrumental music were options taken up by many students following the appointment of Peter Goodman in 1883. Music became a compulsory subject for all students of the College in 1902.1 While much has changed since then, including the introduction of degree courses in both education and humanities, the subject of music in one form or another has remained an essential requirement in teacher education programmes. The various types of courses that included music in their title however evolved and diversified over time within the College.

What was formalized in 1902 as essentially a singing programme based on the Curwen method gradually developed throughout the twentieth century to the point where three discrete categories of music courses were evident, each belonging to its own academic area and/or set of practices. The first category of music course at St Patrick’s College and the one with the longest history at the institution became known as curriculum music. This was the term used to refer to the training of students in practical approaches to music teaching and learning in the classroom. Curriculum music always had links to broader pedagogical studies and was later informed by academic studies in...

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