Students follow the Edexcel course.

Why study Music?

If you already play an instrument or sing, you will find that the work you do for GCSE will help you gain more enjoyment from your music-making. GCSE Music is a good subject to have passed when applying for Higher Education in any subject as you have demonstrated that you are creative, analytical and practical. For those students thinking of going on to AS Music this course provides an essential foundation, particularly as it encourages close analysis of scores as well as composition.

How will you study?

Students prepare for the performance options in conjunction with instrumental/singing teachers. Students are also expected to study independently, practising for the performing papers and preparing work for the written elements.

Course Requirements

It is preferable for students to have studied some music theory, aiming towards Grade 5 standard.

Students also need to play an instrument or sing and by the time of the performance examination in Year 11 they will need to be working at about Grade 5 standard.

What the course entails

Students taking GCSE Music will follow a course comprising three main areas:

Year 10

Historical background and the use of musical terminology are covered before students go on to more detailed listening of set works within each area of study. Students complete theoretical and compositional tasks connected to these areas and expand on their ideas. Students are able to use Sibelius and Cubase musical software packages to aid their presentation of these compositions. Students work on solo and ensemble performances with their instrumental teachers throughout the year in preparation for assessment in Year 11. They perform a solo piece at the end of Year 10 as the mock examination in this part of the course. Students are encouraged to take part in extra-curricular musical activities to enhance their musicianship as well as for their enjoyment.

Year 11

Students continue to analyse the set works within each area of study as well as to explore related musical extracts. They answer examination-type questions in preparation for the listening test. Students continue to work on their compositions. Their solo and ensemble performances are assessed during the year.


Students’ solo and ensemble performances are assessed in Year 11. The compositions are assessed on completion. Both the composition and performance coursework are internally assessed and moderated by an examiner. The listening test is externally assessed.

What else should I know?

There is a large amount of theoretical work at the beginning of Year 10, preparing students for both the close analysis of the set works and giving them the foundation for composing successfully. Students must be prepared to work hard to understand this work in order to enjoy the rest of the course. All students would benefit very much from having individual instrumental/singing lessons in or out of school. The recommended standard of performance at GCSE is Grade Five on any instrument/voice. Students/parents may like to discuss this with Mrs Poppleton, Mrs Timperley or Mrs McGuiness at the Parents’ Evening.

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