Students who enjoy music and wish to consider taking it on as a GCSE subject will find the following information helpful.

Is this the right subject for me?

  • If you enjoy performing music and are learning an instrument, having singing lessons or enjoy creating music on computers or in a recording studio, then this is a good subject to choose.
  • If you want to broaden your knowledge of all types of music, including classical, popular and world, then this exciting and challenging course will give you an appreciation of the diversity of musical styles that exist today.

What will I learn?

  • You will learn how to improve your performing and listening skills and, through your work in composing, gain an insight into how music is constructed from initial ideas through to the finished product.
  • You will also learn how to analyse music in a variety of styles and discover the social and historical context in which music has been composed.

How will I be assessed?

Performance – 30% – two coursework recordings; one solo, one ensemble.

Composition – 30% – two coursework compositions; one to a brief, one free choice.

Listening and Appraising – 40% – exam paper at the end of the course.

Time scales (when will each element be taken?):

Performance – recording opportunities throughout Year 11.

Composition – controlled assessment time during lessons, one during the Autumn term and one during the Spring term.

Listening and Analysing – the final exam will be taken at the end of year 11 in the summer term.

Will I be ready to take the course?

You will already have gained many of the basic skills needed for this course in your music lessons over the last three years at secondary school.

  • You have been introduced to creating music of your own in class and this is developed on the GCSE course as you choose the type of music you would like to write. For example, this could be a popular song and a dance track, a classical piece or some world music. There is a wide choice and it can be tailored to your own musical interests and strengths.
  • You have already listened to a variety of music in class and these skills are developed as you study set pieces from Classical, 20th century, popular and world music Areas of Study.

The GCSE course encourages you to perform music of your own choosing and in any style, as a soloist and also in a group.

To take this course, you must be able to offer just one instrument or voice.


What can I do after I’ve completed the course?

If you enjoyed the GCSE Music course, then you might well consider pursuing this subject further by taking it at A level.

  • Your listening skills will enhance the aural perception needed in language examinations.
  • Your performing skills will give you confidence in playing or presenting to an audience. As well as music, this is useful if you intend to pursue, for example, drama or law.
  • In addition, you might wish to study Music Technology at A level, broadening your musical horizons to include music production and/or music engineering.