Aims of the course
The music GCSE course extends the basic skills that you have learned in Key Stage 3; performing, composing and appraising. If you play an instrument, sing, write your own music or simply enjoy listening to a variety of musical styles then you have special skills which we can develop.
Music is a big part of all our lives, and it can be a powerful focus or creativity, expression and building self-confidence. These transferable skills make GCSE music a wise and valuable choice for any musically minded pupil.
What will I study? – Course Outline
The three components of GCSE music are:
- Performing (35%) – Controlled Assessment
- Composing (35%) – Controlled Assessment
- Appraising (30%) – External Assessment
You will explore these units in relation to 4 main areas of study. These are: Musical Forms and Devices, Music for Ensemble, Film Music and Popular Music.
How will I learn? What skills will I acquire?
You will be actively engaged in the process of music study in order to develop as effective and independent learners and as critical and reflective thinkers with enquiring minds.
You will be given opportunity to develop your own musical interests and skills including the ability to make music individually and in groups. Performances and compositions can be in any style, using any combination of instruments or voices.
You will be encouraged to evaluate your own and others’ music; as well as learning to understand and appreciate a range of different kinds of music.
In addition to the development of your musical skills, this qualification gives candidates opportunities to develop broader life-skills and attributes including critical and creative thinking, aesthetic sensitivity and emotional and cultural development.
How will I be assessed?
For the performance component you will be required to play or sing a solo piece and perform as part of a group. The performance exam takes place in March of Year 11, by which time you should be performing at a minimum standard of Grade 3.
The composition component requires you to write two pieces of music, with a combined length of between 3-6 minutes. This will be marked by your teacher and sent away for external moderation in April of Year 11. This can be thought of as a coursework element and you will be encouraged to make use of a variety of musical software to create your own music.
The final component to be undertaken is appraisal. This takes the form of a 1½ hour listening/ written exam in May of Year 11. It involves listening to extracts of music from the different areas of study and answering a variety of question types such as multiple choice, comparison and extended writing, based on the music you hear.
Progression following this course. What’s next?
Following a GCSE in music, you may wish to study AS or A level music. These courses are ideal for those wishing to work in performance, composing or the performing arts.
At universities, the options are even wider. Courses on offer include music composition, music production, music theatre, musicology, jazz, media, music performance, digital and audio technology and teaching to name but a few.
Future career opportunities
Music is a very broad field; it encompasses the whole music industry as well as actual music making. There are lots of choices for a career in music, such as; orchestral performer, session player, pop artist, backing singer, teaching, music therapy, sound engineering, composing for TV, music lawyer, recording or marketing.
Music is a valuable addition to any CV. A qualification in music shows that you have a wide range of transferrable skills including team work, self-discipline, creativity and commitment.