SCT is a music education and assessment system developed by Comhaltas.


Frequently Asked Questions


What is SCT?


SCT is a music education and assessment system developed by Comhaltas.

SCT takes the form of a 12-stage examination system beginning with Elementary 1 and concluding with Advanced Performance Certificate. Candidates are assessed individually by a trained examiner on a broad range of musical skill categories as follows: Performance, Aural, Literacy, Musical Discussion / Research Skills


SCT 12-Step Grade Structure


What is the purpose of SCT?

Since 1999, SCT has a become a key resource for teachers, providing a structured pathway of learning which takes students of traditional Irish music from their first year of learning right through to an advanced level of proficiency. The SCT system aims to supplement the existing Comhaltas Fleadh competition system, by offering a learning assessment model which caters for the broadest range of student ability. Students are assessed individually using a standardised set of musical criteria, rather than competing against other candidates as is the case with traditional competition models. Thus, SCT can provide valuable recognition and feedback for all students, while importantly promoting music education beyond a narrow range of performance tune learning.


Who should enter for SCT?

SCT is open to students of all ages, including adults. Students of all ability and skill levels will find a suitable exam level from the 12 examinations on offer, and teachers should as far as possible encourage all of their student bases to participate in this individualized learning and assessment system. As a guide, Elementary 1 grade is pitched at students in their 1st or 2nd year of learning, with each subsequent grade representing an additional year of music learning. Thus, Grade 1 is generally taken by students in the 4th year of learning. Students must be minimum age 14 prior to entering for Grade 6 examination.


What can SCT offer to students?

SCT brings structure, motivation and important feedback to students as they undertake the journey of learning traditional Irish music. SCT also recognises that while many students may not become highly skilled solo performers, it is nonetheless important that both student and teacher receive validation and encouragement for valuable musical skills learned which can initiate a lifetime of musical engagement and enjoyment.


How can SCT complement the work of teachers?

SCT offers teachers a comprehensive and progressive syllabus, structured to bring students from the earliest stages of learning to an advanced level of playing and musical understanding. The syllabus has been utilised by thousands of students in Ireland since its inception in 1999, and a growing number of students in the United States since 2011. To date over 50,000 examinations have taken place in Ireland.


How much does it cost?

Examination fees in Ireland range from €25 to €90, depending on the exam. The duration of Elementary 1 examination is 10 minutes, while Grade 8 extends to 40 minutes duration.  


Where are SCT Exam Centres located in Ireland?

SCT examinations are currently held annually in 50 exam centres throughout Ireland.


How can I enquire further about SCT examinations?

Oisín Mac Diarmada, Director of SCT:

Jim McAllister, SCT Administrator:

Click here for the SCT website

Click here for our SCT Facebook Page