GCSE Music


Three different components to study – Composing, Performing and Appraising.

Pupils will have a written exam for the appraising section.

Pupils will have to submit 2 compositions and 2 performances each.

All three components are based on 4 areas of study:

  • AOS 1 – Instrumental Music 1700-1820
  • AOS 2 – Vocal Music
  • AOS 3 – Music for Stage and Screen
  • AOS 4 - Fusions

Performing - 30% of overall qualification – 60 marks.

Pupils have to submit 4 minutes worth of performance.

  • At least 1 minute has to be a solo performance.
  • At least 1 minute has to be an ensemble performance.

Pupils can play any instrument or voice for their performance.

By the end of Y11, pupils should be at Grade 4 standard.

Regular performances happen throughout Y9-11 in front of audiences and to the class.

Pupils are expected to choose a enrichment activity that relates to music.

Composing - 30% of overall qualification – 60 marks.

Pupils have to submit at least 3 minutes worth of composition.

  • At least 1 minute has to be based on a brief set by the exam board.
  • At least 1 minute has to be a free composition set by the student.

Pupils are expected to write their compositions on a computer software called Sibelius.

Composition assessments take place regularly throughout the year.

Listening/Appraising - 40% of overall qualification – 80 marks

The paper is made out of two sections.

Section A

  • Six questions relating to six of the eight set works.
  • One short melody/rhythm completion exercise.
  • One question on a unfamiliar piece.

Section B

One essay question that compares one set work and an unfamiliar piece.

The eight set works are:

AOS 1 – Instrumental Music 1700-1820 J S Bach: 3rd Movement from Brandenburg Concerto no.5 in D Major
L van Beethoven: 1st Movement from Piano Sonata no. 8 in C minor ‘Pathétique’
AOS 2 – Vocal Music H Purcell: Music for a While
Queen: Killer Queen
AOS 3 – Music for Stage and Screen S Schwartz: Defying Gravity
J Williams: Main title (Star Wars)
AOS 4 – Fusions Afro Celt Sound System: Release
Esperanza Spalding: Samba Em Preludio

Careers from GCSE Music

  • Composer
  • Songwriter
  • DJ
  • Session Musician
  • Orchestral Performer
  • Recording Artist
  • Choral Singer
  • Producer
  • Sound Engineer
  • Music Teacher
  • Conductor
  • Music Historia
  • Instrument Maker
  • Music Therapist
  • Music Critic

And lots more!!

October 2021


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