Spink Comhaltas


Exams and Support

In Spink Comhaltas, we encourage our musicians to consider sitting the SCT music examinations.  We provide preparation for these exams, and since our musicians first started sitting these exams in 2014, we have prepared in excess of 100 candidates for the exams.  Our members have achieved excellent grades in these exams, including a number who have won the Mícheál Ó hEidhin Gold Medal at Grade 8 for achieving outstanding results.

The SCT (Scrúdu Ceol Tíre) programme is a graded series of exams in traditional Irish music, designed to take you as a musician from basic proficiency in tune-playing through to a comprehensive mastery of the tradition. Along the way you’ll learn about music theory, improve your ear and research the history of musical styles and players.

Devised by Department of Education Music Inspector Mícheál Ó hEidhin, the exam system has been offered annually in locations throughout Ireland since 1999, growing by 2011 to encompass close to 4000 candidates examined in 50 centres throughout Ireland. Spink’s candidates typically sit the exam in Portlaoise.

Applicants, who come from all age categories, are assigned a time slot with an experienced examiner who assesses the student in the areas of Performance, Aural Skills, Literacy and Discussion & Repertoire. Our SCT applicants are entered by Spink branch, and we review the candidate with one of our music teachers who have the best sense of which level to enter. Passing the exam entitles the student to a certificate of proficiency and the right to progress to the next level of evaluation.

The SCT programme includes 12 levels of competence, divided into three cycles:

  1. Elementary (3 Levels)
  2. Grades 1 to 8
  3. Advanced Performance Certificate

At the early Elementary levels, candidates play just two tunes and complete some basic music theory exercises.
At the later grade levels, these advanced musicians are expected to play selections from a broad range of tune types, including appropriate ornamentation and other embellishments.
Candidates at Grade 6-8 level also submit a Research Project on a topic from the SCT syllabus.