GCSE Music

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What is the qualification?
One full GCSE awarded at grades 9 – 1.

What will students be doing on the course?  How will it be structured?
This qualification is divided into 3 components based on the three skills of performing, composing and appraising.

Component 1: Performing
Worth 30% of the qualification. A minimum of two pieces, one a solo performance and the other an ensemble performance are required with a total duration of 4-6 minutes.

Component 2: Composing
Worth 30% of the qualification. Two compositions are required, one of which is in response to a brief set by the examination board with a combined duration of 3-6 minutes

Component 3: Appraising
Worth 40% of the qualification. This component is assessed via a 1 hour 15 minutes listening examination where eight questions are set on extracts of music relating to four areas studied throughout the duration of the course.

This qualification enables students to develop knowledge and understanding of music through four interrelated areas of study.

Area of study 1: Musical Forms and Devices
The music of the Baroque, Classical and Romantic eras provides the context for a study of binary, ternary, minuet and trio, rondo, variation and strophic forms. Students are encouraged to engage with a variety of music from the prescribed area, through a range of performing, composing and appraising activities.

Area of study 2: Music for Ensemble
Music for ensemble forms the basis for a study of texture and sonority. Through the study of diverse musical styles composed for ensemble, such as jazz and blues, musical theatre and chamber music, students will consider how music is composed for small groups of instruments and voices.

Area of study 3: Film Music
Through this area of study students are encouraged to consider how music for film is related, developed and performed, and the impact this has on the audience. Students have the opportunity to compose and perform film music and are encouraged to use musical technology to create mood and atmosphere through engaging with the story of the film.

Area of study 4: Popular Music
Through popular music students are encouraged to explore the musical idioms associated with a variety of genres of popular music. Students will have the opportunity to perform popular music and are encouraged to use music technology, understanding the impact this has on the way music is developed and performed.

Year 10 Autumn Term
Component 1: Performing (solo)

Year 10 Spring Term
Component 1: Performing (ensemble)

Year 10 Summer Term
Component 2: Composition one

Year 11 Autumn Term
Unit 1: Performance (solo)
Unit 2:Composition two

Year 11 Spring Term
Component 1: Performance (ensemble)

Year 11 Summer Term
Component 3: Appraising Examination

What skills do students need to develop to be successful at this course?
In order to be successful on this course students need to be working at a level 4+ practically by the end of Year 9. Ideally, students would be most suited to this course if they can play an instrument or can sing, as performing makes up 30% of the final grade. If students play in an instrumental or sing in a vocal group in an extracurricular club or outside of school, this will also aid the progress they make on this course.

Students will need to be hard working and show dedication to the course, as a number of lunch times will be needed to complete coursework during school hours.

What could this qualification be used for?
This course provides opportunity to progress onto other music related courses such as A Level Music, a degree and a career in the music profession.