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Music

Course Overview

Music GCSE is a creative subject that is challenging and rewarding. It will build your performing and creative skills and deepen your understanding of a range of music.


Continuing study in music helps develop thinking skills which are beneficial to all other subjects. Of course it is a sensible for choice for those who want to take music further, but it is also a great choice for those looking for a fully rounded education that can lead to a successful career in whichever path they choose.

Music students work on all aspects of musicianship in year 9 and 10, including recorded and live performances as soloists and in groups and creative composition projects. They extend their theoretical understanding of music through listening and analyzing different styles of music and extending their knowledge of notations and musical terms and concepts, including melody, harmony, rhythm, texture, instrumentation and techniques, structure, dynamics etc.

In year 11 some students will go on to take the Edexcel GCSE Music, which is an academically challenging course as well as practical, allowing students to demonstrate their high level performing and composing skills in coursework projects.

Some pupils will prefer to take the Rockschool Music Practitioner qualification, which is more practical and vocational and valued as equivalent to a GCSE.

It is also possible for the most able students to gain both qualifications by taking Rockschool in year 10 and Edexcel in year 11.

Music GCSE (Edexcel)

Performing (30%)

You perform music throughout the course and are supported in building practical skills. Towards the end of the course two final performances are assessed - one solo and one ensemble (group) performance. Performances can be of any type / style of music and you are given the chance to try out performing in a variety of styles and groups.

Composing (30%)

You compose your own music throughout the course. You have the opportunity to explore a variety of different styles including your own choices, and do lots of different composing tasks to build your skills. As well as traditional instruments and electronic keyboards pupils compose using Apple Macs with professional sequencing and recording software (Logic Pro). Towards the end of the course you produce two final compositions in contrasting styles.

Listening/Appraising (40%)

You have the opportunity to listen to, discover, explore and analyse pieces of music in styles from the following categories:

  • Popular music in context
  • Classical music until 1900
  • Music of the 20th Century
  • World music

This leads to a final exam which is a 1.5 hour Listening Test where you answer questions based on twelve pieces of music – the “Set Works” – that are studied throughout the course. There are eight questions based on short musical extracts from the set works which are played on CD in the exam, and one final question in which you write about a specific piece in more detail from memory.

Music Practitioner (Rockschool Level 2 Certificate)

In the Music Practitioner qualification pupils choose to specialize in either Performing or Composing. Each option has a core unit and two other units chosen from a range.

Level 2 Certificate in Performance:

Core Compulsory Unit Live Music Performance Assignment Externally assessed 40%

Unit Options A

(Choose one)

  • Music Rehearsal Skills
  • Instrumental Study
  • Organising a Music Event
  • Recorded Music Performance
Internally assessed (coursework) 40%

Unit Options B

(Choose one)

  • Contextualising Music
  • Music Style Development
  • Listening to Music
Internally assessed (coursework) 20%

 

Level 2 Certificate in Composition:

Core Compulsory Unit Composing Music (Solo) Assignment Externally assessed 40%

Unit Options A

(Choose one)

  • Composing Music (Style)
  • Composing Music (Collaboration)
  • Practical Harmony Application
  • Recorded Music Performance
  • Arranging Music
Internally assessed (coursework) 40%

Unit Options B

(Choose one)

  • Contextualising Music
  • Music Style Development
  • Listening to Music
  • Composing Lyrics
Internally assessed (coursework) 20%

 

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