The Course

Pupils who study music at GCSE have the opportunity to expand on their practical skills by participation in performing and composing tasks. To compliment this, pupils broaden their knowledge of different styles of music in the listening element of the course.

Course Structure

The course has three key areas:

Performing/Perfformio (Internally Assessed Coursework) – 35%

The examination involves pupils performing two pieces of music in a 4-6 minute recital which takes place in the second year of study. Each pupil must play one ensemble piece as a member of a group with the remaining performances being either a solo piece or further group performance. Pupils must also prepare a programme note based on one of the pieces that they perform in the examination. Pupils will be prepared for this element of the course through class based performing lessons and regular tuition from peripatetic staff.

Composing/Cyfansoddi (Internally Assessed Coursework) – 35%

Pupils must compose two pieces of music lasting in total between 3-6 minutes. The department has the facilities for pupils to record and computer generate the compositions developing new ICT skills in our students. Pupils must then write an evaluation of one of their compositions in controlled assessment conditions.

Listening/Gwrando – 30% (Listening Examination Paper)

Pupils extend their musical knowledge through the analysis of four areas of study;

1] Musical Forms and Devices

2] Music for Ensemble

3] Film Music

4] Popular Music

Skills in musical theory, the analysis of both prepared and unprepared extracts, recognition of key features and evaluative skills are then tested in a listening examination at the end of the course.

How much practical work is there? Lots – but there is also written work. You will also be expected to rehearse in your own time and take part in performances with various ensembles and groups. Pupils will have the opportunity to participate in existing school groups and also set up their own ensembles. They will also have the chance to compose their own music and realise their compositions in live performances.

Other Information

Higher education institutions are becoming increasingly competitive, this is also true of the job market. Potential employers and courses are not just looking at grades but also seek out those who stand out from the crowd. The diverse nature of music study instils highly desirable skills such as self-management, team work, IT skills, problem solving and communication. Many employers choose music graduates because they have experienced many of the skills which define employability.