In GCSE Music, pupils will have the opportunity to perform and compose music, as well as learning to appreciate and engage with different styles of music from a variety of cultures. It involves expanding and honing skills learned at KS3, as well as developing a critical and creative engagement with music. Pupils will not only gain practical skills as a musician but a solid understanding of the components of music.
There are three main strands of assessment at GCSE Music: performance, composition and a written exam.
Performance makes up 30% of the qualification and consists of a 4-6 minute performance performed and recorded at school. This is then moderated externally. You must perform a minimum of two pieces, one ensemble performance and one solo.
Composition also makes up 30% of the qualification. You will do two compositions, the combined time of these compositions must be between 3-6 minutes. One composition is based on a brief of your choosing from the four briefs set by the exam board, and the other is a free composition in a style and genre of your choosing.
The final 40% comes from a 1 hour 15 minute exam. A valuable musical skill developed at GCSE is the ability to listen to music and understand how it is made. You will study two set works, Since You’ve Been Gone by Rainbow and Mozart’s Eine Kleine Nachtmusik, Movement 3.
There are four main areas of study: Musical Forms and Devices, Music for Ensemble, Film Music and Popular Music. The exam will include 8 questions, two of which are on the aforementioned set works, and six of which are on unfamiliar extracts.