The Cara Awards are a new initiative introduced by the Royal Irish Academy of Music in 2013, and St Angela’s Academy of Music has been taking part in the programme since its inception. Aimed at very young students (usually Senior Infants and First Class), the Awards are designed to develop musical understanding at the pre-instrumental stage, with a strong emphasis on engaging with music in a group setting. The repertoire is diverse and fun and makes for a great start to a young child’s musical journey.
St Angela’s provides two levels of education with the Cara Awards, delivered by Ms Ciara Mealy. Cara 1 is for complete beginners and involves one group class of 35 minutes each week. Aspects covered include clapping, singing, movement and note naming. Cara 2 is intended for students to build upon what they learned in Cara 1 and the 20 minute weekly group class goes in conjunction with a separate 15 minute instrumental lesson. Instrumental lessons are offered in piano, violin, cello and recorder.
At the end of the school year, students of the Cara Awards participate in a simple assessment, where they prepare both group and solo pieces and present their knowledge of musical elements such as rhythm and melody.
The Cara Awards provide an excellent foundation for musical learning and are a fantastic opportunity to encourage a love of music-making from a very young age.