Optional Subject

GCSE Music

GCSE Music Video

Why Study Music?

If you already play an instrument or sing, you can develop your skills and get a GCSE out of it!

If you already enjoy writing your own music or songs, you can use this ability and experience towards your GCSE.

If you are a creative person who wants to learn to make music, this course will give you that chance.

If you love listening to music, and can spot all the details, sing every riff and “air-drum” every beat you have already developed some of the abilities you need. OK, so you can’t mime playing it in the exam, but if you can already think that rhythm or sing that tune in your head, you have some skills!

Course Content & Development of Expertise

You will improve your skills in performing and composing different styles of Music. You will listen to a wide variety of Music and learn more about how and why it was written and/or performed. 

You will receive instrumental lessons to aid you on your instrument. Please see Mr Atkinson about this, before choosing Music as an option. If you don’t already have instrumental (or singing) lessons, you may struggle to pass this course.

In order to do well on this course, basic keyboard skills are also important, particularly to help with composition.  The keyboard work we have done in class is enough, but students who have keyboard lessons in addition to their main instrument tend to do best in the composition aspect of the course.

Most students opting for Music at GCSE will already play an instrument and be having individual lessons. You should be willing to contribute to the musical life of the school in terms of the activities we have on offer. It is expected that you will spend time at home practicing your instrument and using the Music Department facilities at break time, lunchtime and after school, particularly for composition. We have a varied programme of musical experiences provided within and beyond the school environment.

Studying Music, at any level, develops the following skills: 

  • Self-Confidence: through self-improvement as well as performance
  • Problem Solving: fixing errors when practicing and finding your own solutions
  • Creativity: writing music and coming up with own ideas
  • Self-Discipline: being able to practise alone and set your own deadlines
  • Teamwork: performing with others, being a reliable and dependable classmate

Career Pathways

Due to the varied skills (listed above) we learn as musicians, people who have studied music are very employable.  A survey by the Guardian in 2013 found that music graduates were employed in areas (beyond music) such as publishing, editing, media production, broadcasting, and marketing, many worked in management roles and they were many employed in finance/banking, legal and consultancy fields.

Qualification Information

Optional Subject

Qualification: GCSE Music

Awarding Body: EDUQAS

Entry Tiers: One Tier


Assessment Structure

Teacher Assessment 30% of grade
Candidates are required to perform throughout the course and will two recordings for final assessment; this is a combination of SOLO and/or ENSEMBLE performances.

This can be in any style and on any instrument (including DJ skills, rapping, singing, band and orchestral instruments). Grade 3 music is the standard level and can score full marks if played perfectly.

Teacher Assessment 30% of grade
A ‘free choice’ composition. Candidates should explore instrumental combinations and capabilities, within the chosen style or genre.

A ‘set brief’ composition, where the exam board dictate a style in which to compose, from a choice of four each year. There is still plenty of freedom to be very creative!

Examination Paper 40% of grade
A written exam paper (lasting approximately 1 hour 15 minutes) assessing knowledge and understanding of music. There will be 8 questions, 2 for each of the Areas of Study:

1. Musical Forms and Devices (including a Set Work*)
2. Music for Ensemble
3. Music for Film
4. Popular Music (including a Set Work*)

* = a set work is a piece of music which everybody has to learn about

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