GCSE Music

Written Examination 35%
Practical Assessment: Performing 30%
Practical Assessment: Composing 30%

Is this the right subject for me?

If you enjoy:
• Playing an instrument or singing and currently take private lessons
• Composing and structuring your own music
• Creating music using computers
• Listening to different types of music including; Classical, Baroque, Romantic and Modern Music for Film, Television and Theatre, Fusion and World Music Modern Pop and Rock

What will I Learn?

You will learn:
• To perform extended pieces of music on your own in front of an audience.
• To perform as a member of an ensemble with your own independent solo part.
• To listen to and analyse different kinds of music, including baroque, classical, musical theatre, film, pop, folk and world music.
• To compare and contrast similar musical excerpts.
• To compose your own music and potentially use computer software to notate it.

What do I need to know, or be able to do, before taking the course?

Most students who get a good grade in music GCSE already take private music lessons in an instrument, or singing, which forms the foundation of their abilities to compose, perform and appraise. Edexcel consider Grade 4 to be the ‘standard’ expectation of students who will get a GCSE grade of 5 or higher in Year 11.

Whilst we will teach you about composition and assist you with performance, there is a clear expectation that you will be doing these activities privately every week to improve your own understanding of the techniques involved. The best grades come from students for whom music is a part of their life beyond the school walls and this may be in the form of lessons, bands, orchestras or even electronic music production and rapping.

The course is broken into three sections. Performing (you need to perform a solo piece and an ensemble piece of around three minutes each), Composing (two good compositions, one set by the exam board, one created by yourself, both showcasing your understanding of music and devices) and an exam (half of it testing your general musical knowledge and the other half comparing and contrasting two pieces). There are eight ‘set works’ which are pieces of music that by the end of the course you should know intimately.

Edexcel Specification for GCSE Music can be found by searching ‘Edexcel GCSE Music Spec 2016’ which contains full details and the mark schemes involved.

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